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In The Classroom - Fun With Exercise

Lesson Plan for Teachers


This large group activity will help children explore the movements of their bodies. They begin by participating in stretching exercises using creative imagery (individual muscle groups), then children participate in movement games that encourage large motor movements promoting coordination. Some games require individuals moving alone, others in context with their classmate's movements, and others in cooperative unison with each other. Some include rhythmic or musical cues.

  • ILLINOIS STATE GOALS: 19, 20, 21
  • CHILD ASSESSMENT PROFILE MILESTONES: 67, 70, 75, 76 (you may choose to incorporate others)


Students will:

  • demonstrate physical competency in creative movement.
  • demonstrate individual responsibility during group physical activities.
  • demonstrate ability to cooperate with others during group physical activities.
  • engage in active play using gross motor skills.
  • participate in developmental activities related to physical fitness.


SOCIAL INTERPERSONAL SKILLS: #7 Conflict negotiation
LANGUAGE: #14 Expresses self through language
MATH: #25 Time, #27 Measurement
MOTOR SKILLS: #34 Gross motor skills


LANGUAGE: Listening & Understanding
SOCIAL & EMOTIONAL: Self Concept, Self Control, Cooperation
APPROACHES TO LEARNING: Reasoning & Problem Solving, Initiative & Curiosity, Engagement & Persistence


  • Open space
  • Jump ropes
  • Scarves or other material
  • Parachute and stuffed animal
  • Musical selections
  • Padded mat


Plan this activity in three parts. Begin with stretching and warm up exercises, follow into aerobic activities with individual movement games, and continue with cooperative group games. Have the games peak with high-energy activities and gradually slow the pace toward the end, cooling down with some more stretches.

Stretching/Warm up Activities:

  • Begin sitting cross-legged with straight backs doing deep breathing exercises.
  • Form a "flying V" sitting position, soles of the feet touching, and raise and lower knees to "fly like a butterfly."
  • (Sitting) Stretch legs forward, flat on the floor in a letter "V." Crawl fingers forward like caterpillars to stretch towards center, left and right.
  • On all fours, arch back up like a cat, then down with head leaned back, like a dog howling at th moon.
  • Sit-ups with "alarm clock"; children "sleep" in prone position, wake-up when you make an "alarm" sound.
  • (Standing) Do "Washing Machines":
    - Twisting at waist back and forth (the wash cycle).
    - Progressive arm circles, small to big (image of dryer).

Individual Locomotor Movement/Aerobic Activities:

  • Pantomime bicycle riding-use images of going riding to school or and other special destinations.
  • Running, skipping and galloping (with and without material banners) to music:
    - Fast vs. slow movements
    - High vs. low movements
    - Smooth vs. choppy movements
  • Using the padded mat as a "magic carpet", have one child stand in the center of the mat. With an adult at either end of the mat, drag the "magic carpet" across the floor slowly, allowing the child to practice balancing.

Group locomotor movement games:

  • Teacher moves jump rope in zigzag patterns as 3-4 children try to catch it with their feet. (Children practice awareness of movement in relation t each other.)
  • Parachute Games: Children practice movements of parachute in unison using counts.
    -Two children can change places under the parachute as the group lifts it.
    Place a stuffed animal in the center of the parachute. Children can toss it
    in the air, with synchronized arm movements, and catch it again.

End with Cool Down/Stretching Activities

Teacher-to-Teacher Tip:

Do counts in different languages. Do counts in sets (4 sets of 2, 5 sets of 3, etc.). You can make banners from fabric odds and ends that are cheaply available at fabric stores. Attach them to clothespins at one end, for the children to hold. As often as possible include the children in the decision making with the dramatic play elements of the movement games.

Teacher Discussion Board for Lesson 5

How did it go? Add and review ideas, comments, variations and feedback for this lesson.