Physical Education Warm Up Games for Kids (PE Warm Up Games)
I remember when I first started teaching and coaching kids. I would observe the head coach or teacher leading the session and assist them with whatever they needed.
Every so often depending how much that person wanted to help with my coaching development I would be asked to prepare a warm up.
Since then I have created, adapted, changed and straight out ‘stole’ hundreds of warm up games!
One of the biggest mistake I made however was not having a record of all these warm ups from the start.
Games…..Without the Warm Ups
The thing is, without having fantastic, effective session related warm ups at your disposal you’re really setting yourself up to fail right from the start.
You’ll almost certainly lose your classes attention right from the beginning and not only that but the chances of your stress levels rising because your kids are sensing you haven’t got a clue what you’re doing is highly likely.
Let’s be honest without changing and growing your skills and games, your lessons and personal development will suffer.
Having a portfolio of warm up games will mean;
- You’ll save more time by cutting planning time down
- You’ll be able to engage your group from the get go by knowing what their favourite warm games are
- You’ll prepare your groups mental state as well as their physical state
- You’ll always be ready for the unexpected
To be the best coach or teacher you have to actively look to change and live outside your comfort zone. That sometimes means creating, developing and delivering new warms ups, lessons, coaching strategies and overall philosophies.
Yeah, you might have that one warm up game in your locker, but the chances are you had it for years.
Time to clean out that locker!
With all the extra responsibilities when it comes to working with children and teenagers you could be forgiven, for forgetting or even not bothering to update your portfolio of lessons – and with that, your warm up games as well.
Balance all that with family and other things that take up your time and it almost seems impossible to stay up to date.
Ideally you would want something that allows you to quick reference before each session and a lot of that comes down to good organisation skills.
With that said, have no fear! I have a few warm up games for you right on this very page.
Warm Up Games & Activities for Children
I was told back when I first started coaching, that all warm up games, should have something to with the sport you are coaching.
It all depends on the environment you’re working in.
Now, doing warm up games that are closely related to what you’re going to be teaching is great – but sometimes you might have a slightly different goal in mind.
Many times I have walked into a school just after lunch time, and it’s taken me a good 5-10 minutes to get the kids settled. Remember they might be quiet but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have their attention!
So sometimes my warm up games will have nothing what-so-ever to do with the sport we are doing.
We are constantly told from an early age’s right up through adult life that we must warm up to avoid injury.
Now I have been working with kids for some time, and I am yet to come across a child under the age of ten that pulls up with a hamstring injury because they didn’t warm up.
Just because the likelihood of them getting injured is very low, doesn’t mean we should miss warm ups out altogether.
Not only can warm ups prepare the body for physical activity (for children, teenagers AND adults), but it also prepares the mind – something which is not talked about a lot.
You see, If I am struggling to get a classes attention, then I might start the session of by doing a game that I know they all love – regardless of whether it relates to the sport I am teaching. I know by doing a game they all love, I’ll have them more engaged than if I was to try and teach them something new.
So with that said, I am going to give you 3 warm up games that I know will have your group engaged and having fun.
Warm Up Game #1
Individual Dodge Ball
A normal game of dodge ball involves splitting the court in two and throwing a ball at an opponent the other side – with a little bit of standing around.
This version of dodge ball requires everyone to be alert at all times, and allows all players to use every inch of the designated activity area.
There are 3 balls in play (Must be soft balls). Every player plays for him or herself.
To dribble with the ball, players must crouch down and use their hands to move the ball.
To get another player out you must hit the ball with an open hand towards another player.
If the ball hits the other player between the knee and the foot, that player is out.
Last player standing, is winner.
Points to remember:
- When dribbling with the ball if the ball touches the foot of the dribbler – they are also out.
- Balls are not allowed to be picked up – if this happens the player is automatically out
- Balls must be hit with an open hand – not a fist.
- You can run or dribble as fast as you like with the ball – just make sure it doesn’t touch your own foot!
- You can do individual OR boys vs girls / red v blues v yellows v greens etc
This game is one of my favorites – I even use it with adults.
Warm Up Game #2
Another ‘old-skool’ game – Can’t beat a bit of ‘old-skool’ ayy?
There are two variations for Bull Dog – single bulldog and team bull dog.
Play area is split into three parts – two safe zones and an unsafe zone.
Once player stands in the middle(the bull-dog) – everyone else stands in the safe zone.
When the player in the middle shouts “BULLDOG!” everyone must make their way from one safe zone to the other.
If the ‘Bull-dog’ tags someone as the run across to the other safe zone, that person also becomes a bull-dog.
The last player standing is the winner.
Points to Remember:
- Like any games being played outside always check the surface is okay to use
- When players get caught they can become a standalone Bull-Dog OR…
- …They can link arms with the original Bull-Dog.
The beauty about these games is not only can they be used as warm up games, but they can also be used as end of session games as well.
Some unforeseen circumstances may mean you have very little to work with, so you could use these three games to do a whole session.
Warm Up Game #3
Stuck in The Mud
Stuck-in-the-mud has been round for years – well before I came along, but there’s one reason why it is still used to this day – because it works. Kids love this game – it’s fun, engaging and competitive.
Pick 1, 2 or 3 people (depending on class size) to be Mud Monsters (taggers). Give them bibs.
When you shout GO! They run round and tag as many people as possible.
When someone is tagged the must stand on the spot with their legs closed – but their arms out to the side.
To be tagged another player must run underneath the arms of the person who’s stuck in the mud.
NOTE: If you’ve played this game before chances are you were told to run under the legs of the person stuck in the mud. I would not recommend doing that with your class for various different reasons that could raise all sorts of problems from child protection to injury prevention. Stick with the example above and should be all gravy!
After 1 or 2 minutes, change the Mud Monsters.
Points to Remember:
- This game works on player’s ability to evade their opponent – useful for invasion games.
- Be careful of collisions!
PE Warm Up Games Don’t Always Have to be Session Related
I think it’s important to stress what I said right at the start – You’re PE warm up games (or any other coaching / teaching environment) do not always have to be directly related to the technique / skill you’re trying to teach.
As a coach or teacher being able to adapt and think on your feet is one of the most important skills you’ll develop. You’ll not only be able to engage your group in a fun, safe, learning environment but you’ll keep your sanity a little bit longer too!
Yes, the games I went through above are simple and relatively known as they’ve been around for decades. But there’s a very good reason for that – they straight out work!
With all the pressure that comes with teaching and coaching sometimes, we forget to keep things simple.
So with that said…..
Go to your next session, keep things simple and be a hero in the eyes of your kids.
At the end of the day that’s what we’re here for isn’t it?