Get Movin’ & Mix it up: Primary and Elementary Group Activities

Remember, children are not built to sit and attend for lengthy periods of time!


A list of the “old fashion” brain breaks.  🙂

Cross the River:
Place flashcards on the floor in a winding manner. Each card represents a stepping-stone in a river. As the students go across the river, they must…(many different ways you can utilize this):

  • label the picture, shape, color, number, letter, word
  • set on stones that go together (step on the toothbrush and then the toothpaste…)
  • teacher states a function, feature or categories and the students must step on a stone that makes sense

Other variations: two students race across at the same time completing a task (each from opposite ends), or one at a time while playing on teams.

mr wolf

Fetch, Solve and Say:
Make two teams and have them sit at opposite ends of the classroom. Stage two tables, each with a basket full of flashcards, objects and puzzle pieces. Choose two children to stand at the tables.   Student 1 will pull out a card or object and Student 2 will need to find the matching object or answer in his/her basket.

Grouping game:
Each student is given a picture or written category card. Next, the children group in pairs according to the card they were given. Finally, the students earn points by describing HOW they go together.

Hot Potato Animal Charades:
Have a series of animal flashcards ready in an envelope. Sit in a circle on the floor. While playing music pass around a potato (or a ball, anything will work). When the music stops, in secret, show the child holding the potato a flashcard of an animal. The child acts out the animal while the rest of the class tries to guess and identify the animal.

This game is good for practicing and learning emotions and sounds. I usually have my students sit in a circle.  Pick a student to start and whisper an emotion or a sound to act out. The next student then copies that sound or emotion and adds one to it, as does the next. It becomes a hilarious gave of fun!

attention to task

Matching games:
There are so many different matching games I play: Letter Matching Game: (Match the capital letter to the minuscule letter.) Letter and Word Matching: (Match the first letter of a word to the picture.) Animal and Baby Matching Game: (Match the mother animal to its baby.) Animal Tops and Bottoms Matching Game: (Match the tops and bottoms of animals.) Footprints Matching Game: (Match the footprint of an animal to its owner.) Animal Home Matching Game: (Match where the animal lives, barn, forest, jungle etc…) Employment Matching Game: (Match the job or gear to its employee.) The list of possible matching games goes on and on. When the children make a match, we all yell “It’s a match!!”

Musical Animals:
Cut out and laminate numerous animal shapes, larger enough to stand on. Play some music, and randomly stop. When the music stops have the children find an animal to step on. Go around the class and ask the children what animal they are stepping on and what sound that animal makes. You can play this game in the same way as you do musical chairs and remove one animal each round, eliminating one child per round. I have also played this game where instead of a picture of an animal, I use only the silhouette of the animal; it makes it a bit more challenging for the older kids.

Musical hugs:
This game is very similar to musical chairs, except everybody wins. Play some music and have the children dance around. When the music stops, the children find one friend to hug (explain the hugs must be gentle, nice hugs). You can make different rules, such as; when the music stops the children must find someone new to hug each time.

Simon says:
This is an old game, but always a good one. I use this game to review body parts (e.g. “Simon says touch your knees”). You can change ‘Simon’ to your name to avoid confusion, or have the children each have a turn at being ‘Simon’ and change it to their names. When you give directions without saying “Simon says” then the children are not to do it, they are only to follow your directions if Simon says to do so. I play this game with objects in the classroom too. (I tell the children to touch the door, to lie on the floor etc…)

group game

Telephone Game:
This is an old game, but there are many versions I like to play with my children, and they really love it. The easiest variation of this game is to have all your children sit in a circle and whisper a word to the student sitting next to you, who in turn whispers it to the next child. The last person to receive the message says it out loud and it is usually completely backward to what it was to begin with. Another version of this game is to have the class separated into two or more teams. Have the students sit front to back in chairs in 2 rows (everyone should be facing the board at the front, which needs to be a board they can draw on.) Whisper a word, or show the last child in each row a picture and have them, in turn, whisper it to the person in front of them the last child to receive the message then draws it on the board. The child who draws the correct object on the board wins a point for his/her team. I like to show each team a different picture so that they aren’t able to copy each other or cheat by listening in.

There Is/There Are:
To practice ‘there is’ and ‘there are’, give your children a list of questions. For the younger students, it is better to keep the questions limited to about the classroom. The questions could be:
How many windows are there in the classroom (or school)?
How many doors are there in the school?
How many teachers are there in the school?
How many classes are there in the school?
How many students are there in the class?
How many chairs are there in the classroom?

Time bomb:
For this game, you need a timer (such as an egg timer or an alarm clock.) Set the timer and pass it to a student, ask him/her a question, once answered, have the child pass the timer to the next student, in turn does the same. The student left holding the timer when it goes off loses a life, or is out for the game.

Have a supply of flashcards made (question or picture on one side, numbers or letters on the other), ‘Tornado cards’ (flashcards with numbers or letters on one side and a tornado picture on the other). Split the group into teams of two. Have the pile of cards at the front, picture (or question) facing down. Have a student come to the front and choose a card. If the card has a picture or question on the card, the child then tells you what the picture is of, or answers the question. If the child answers correctly, then he/she draws a line to draw a house, if the child picks a tornado card, then they blows down their opposing team’s house. The first team to complete their house wins.

What’s Missing? :
Have a series of flashcards (depicting just about anything you are reviewing) made and stick them on the board. Give the children a few moments to memorize what is on the board, turn the board around or cover it, and remove one of them. Ask the students “what’s missing?” if you are playing in teams you can play that the first student to guess what is missing wins a point for his/her team. There are many different ways I like to display the items, I have used a big fruit bowl and filled it with fruit, or, a closet filled with clothes… the options are unlimited.


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