Working together to help children learn and grow in a complex world
Apr. 28, 2020
Fun and games build fitness and family bonds
By Jill Jones, PE Teacher and Athletic Director
Family fitness games are a lot more than just fun and games. I hope that by playing games together as a family, it will emphasize the importance of physical fitness, activity, and family fun together.
In our Facebook Live Video, we played four games, but this document shows additional games to play with your family. Social media is also loaded with games that you can play with your family.
My Facebook Live video was filmed from my parents’ home in Virginia (with my two daughters, my niece, and my nephews). We all quarantined for 14 days prior to being together to help my mom support/take care of my dad who has Parkinson’s disease. Many of you may not be able to be close to, or in contact with, extended family members during this tough time, so all games can be played with fewer people. Please follow all social distancing rules to ensure the safety of your family.
Obstacle Course/Scavenger Hunt
Search around your house, garage, basement, and closet for things that will make the best obstacle course. Let your family members help set up the course. Each member will take turns going through the obstacle course and time each member. Have a family winner, or just have each child try to beat their time each time they complete the course.
Paper/Sock/Tennis Ball Knockout
This game can be played similar to basketball knockout (if you don’t have a hoop at home). You will need a blanket or a rope, balls, and a trash can or bucket. Make a square or circle around the trash can/bucket with the rope or blanket. (This is considered to be the forbidden area - you can’t shoot from inside the circle or box.) Designate a free throw line, from which the first shot is taken. The game can be played as every person for themselves and keep track of points (and it’s played with a timer), or it can be played with two balls as “knockout.” We will demonstrate the “knockout” version in the video. In both versions of the game, the first shot is the only shot taken from behind the free throw line. After the first shot, shots can be taken from anywhere outside of the rope square/circle or blanket (forbidden zone).
When playing the knockout version, there are only two balls. The first player shoots the ball into the bucket from behind the free throw line and as soon as he/she shoots, the next person can also shoot from behind the free throw line. If the first person makes it, they give the ball to the next person in line. If they miss, they get their rebound and try to make a shot outside of the forbidden zone before the person behind them makes their shot. If the person behind you makes it before you, then you are “out.”
To play by yourself, set a timer for 3 minutes and see how many baskets you can make in that time period. Try to beat your best score.
This game can be played with as many people as you’d like, or as few as two. Today, we are going to use a wooden paddle that we found around the house and a young child's bouncy ball, but you can play it as a kicking/soccer type game too.
There is a “pitcher” who is standing at a cone or at a marked spot like a pitcher's mound, and a “home plate” also marked by a cone or spot. You take turns letting each person bat/hit or kick from home plate. Once they hit/kick the ball to the field, they begin running back and forth between the bases (home plate and the pitchers mound). The runner counts their bases but stops when all members of the outfield have touched the ball and gotten it back to one of the cones and the pitcher touches it. They yell “stop” and the play stops. The pitcher hits/kicks next, the batter/kicker goes out to the field and one of the fielders pitches. Each player keeps track of their “runs”. Play any number of innings that you’d like.
This game can be played with as few as two people or an unlimited number of participants. Place plastic soda bottles, water bottles, plastic cups, blocks of wood, or anything with a little “weight” in the bottom. When signaled to start, players can roll or kick the ball and try to knock down pins. Once the pin(s) are knocked over, the player (or their partner) runs and picks up the pin and brings it back to the start line. The game is over when someone has knocked down all of the pins. A variation can be played by re-setting the pin back up after knocking it down and keeping track of how many are knocked down during a time period (or the first to 10 wins).
Not shown on Facebook Live, but fun games to play:
Make a net (with regular things from around your house - a rope, a roll of tape, tied together old ties, etc). Play a game with points, or see how many volleys you can hit alone or with a partner, or with the entire family. If you don’t have rackets or paddles, use small flat frying pans, a large but light book, a plastic plate….be creative. If you can’t find a “real” ball around the house, blow up a rubber glove, use an inflated Ziploc bag, or make a sock ball.
Roll the hoola hoop like a wheel. Have one person on one side and another person on the other side. See how many times the teammates can toss a ball back and forth through the rolling hula-hoop before it stops rolling and falls down. Keep track and try to beat your record every time.
Always a fan favorite! Similar to the obstacle course but without obstacles. Relay races are some of our students’ favorites for warm up. Create a “start” line and an end line. It helps to have participants go from start and run down and back - so that all relay race participants can be in the same location. Relay race ideas:
Frog hops, bear crawls, crab walk, jumping on one foot, soldier walk, sprinting, running backwards, karaoke, high knees, booty kicks, etc.
Each player starts with a spoon and a bowl of cotton balls. Using a spoon, players must move all cotton balls from the full to the empty bowl - one at a time. Variations - have players carry a spoon in mouth, or make it a relay race and carry the cotton ball down and back to the next player.
Everyone loves to play tag. Types of tag games include (but are not limited to:)
Blob Tag - when the person who is “it” tags someone, they join hands and chase the others together until the entire family (blob) is chasing the last person.
Old School TV Tag - one person is “it” and tries to tag all players. If players are about to be tagged, they can shout the name of a TV show to be safe. Each TV show can only be used once in the game.
Freeze Tag - one player is it. When a player is tagged, he/she must remain frozen until they are tagged by someone who is not it. When all players are frozen, a new “it” is chosen.
Tunnel Tag - One player is “it”. When a player is tagged, they must stay frozen with their legs spread apart. To get unfrozen, a non-it must crawl through the frozen person’s legs. Game is over when everyone is frozen.
Band-Aid Tag - One player is “it”. When a player is tagged, they put a hand over the spot where tagged. When tagged a second time, they put their other hand on the second spot tagged. When tagged a third time, they are IT!
Elbow Tag- Everyone except two players link arms (and are like “bases”). One of these 2 is “it” and is chasing the other one. The one being chased can link elbows on one side of a linked “pair” as a base. The person on the other side of the pair must break off and now becomes the chased...and is chased but may link elbows to be “safe” which frees up the other side of the pair to break off.
Popcorn (or cheetos, cereal, chips, etc) pushups
Put a small bowl of popcorn on the floor. Lower yourself down (doing a push up) and stick your tongue out to get a piece(s) of popcorn. Whoever empties their bowl first wins.
For this game, you will need a ball that bounces and a wall (preferably without any windows). Take turns throwing the ball against the wall and catching the rebound. If the catch is bobbled or if it touches a “catcher” and they miss it, they must run and touch the wall before another player throws the ball against the wall and “beats” the person to the wall. If the thrown ball beats the person who bobbled the ball, that person is “out”. If the person beats the thrown ball, they continue to play.
Power Up - Sock Ball Soccer
Use any type of ball and a trash can, a hamper, or a box. Lay the trash can/hamper on its side so that the opening faces the kicker. Make three lines at different distances. First line (taped on the floor or marked in some way) is 6 feet from the trash can, the second line is 6 feet further back, and the last is even further back. The kicker must do some type of exercise (10 jumping jacks or 5 squats, or whatever). After doing that exercise, the player gets the opportunity to kick all three sock balls into the hamper (and keeps track of how many they make). The player retrieves the three sock balls and moves back to the second mark and does the same activity (10 jumping jacks, 5 squats, or whatever) and kicks the balls again. Follow this for every mark on the floor and keep track of how many goals made in 3 minutes, or 5 minutes or how many minutes you desire.
Many of these ideas came from Twitter - #HPEatHome and #physed.
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