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Examples of Indoor Physical Activities for School Children

Amy M. Schlessman, PT, DPT, DHS

February 24, 2015

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Question

Can you give a couple ideas of activities for indoors? 

Answer

How many of you remember playing musical chairs?  I have an example of everyone wins musical chairs.  You have the chairs set; the students walk around.  They can tiptoe around.  They can sidestep around, march around, jump around, and when the music stops, they sit in a chair.  Then do not take a chair away.  Everyone wins!  Once the children master that, depending on age groups, you can do name recognition with musical chairs.  On a specific chair or chairs, maybe the child puts their first or last name.  When the music stops, they have to find the chair with their first or last name.  For older grades, you can incorporate matching into this.  An example would be placing one state capital city on each chair and the student is given an index card with a state on it.  They are walking around and when the music stops, they have to match the state on their card to the capital city on the chair and then sit down.  There are many versions that you can do with this that are great for any subject for any age.  These could be colors, letter recognition, number recognition, states and capitals.  You could put the answers to math problems.  You could have them find their street number on the chair.  If you do not think that chairs would work in your classroom, you can always use different mats for the floor.  In thinking about when the music stops, maybe they do not just sit in the chair.  They can squat next to the chair.  They can kneel in front of the chair.  They could put three fingers on the chair.  This will help work on different spatial concepts.  You might do this at the beginning of the day, mid-morning, or mid-afternoon break, as well as indoor recess.  Letting the children select the music can also be a way to increase interest.

Exercise books is another example where you have pictures of the students doing exercises or there are exercise videos for example.  What kid does not love to see themselves in action?  When we are thinking about that, exercise books and videos are things that can be used in both large and small spaces.   Ways to do this are to take a picture of each child in the class performing one exercise and then compile them into a class exercise book, and you can perform these at the beginning of the day, mid-morning or mid-afternoon break.  It can also be used at recess.  This can be done in a one-on-one setting or with a few children you are working with.  You could send this home as well.  You would have to get parent permission for photo release however.  An example I have with the books are stations that I have set up down the hallway, where a classroom or a few children per classroom during a break can do the exercises that are highlighted in each book.  This is another fun way to incorporate exercise.  These books and videos work great for both low and high tech.  You can take the pictures, print them out, laminate them, or you can project them on a white board in the class as well.  

 


amy m schlessman

Amy M. Schlessman, PT, DPT, DHS

Amy is an Assistant Professor in the Physical Therapy Program and a Center of Teaching Excellence Faculty Liaison at the University of Findlay. She is the Website Co-Chair and Zoom Committee Chair for the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy. Amy has been practicing as a school-based PT for over 18 years, focusing on health promotion and physical activity embedded into academics and interprofessional collaboration, while closely working with educators, administrators, therapists, and parents. Her research on pediatric health promotion was published in Pediatric Physical Therapy. Amy also published, “Recycle Bin Boogie: Move and Learn with Recyclables,” a physical activity book combining academic concepts with common household recyclables. She has presented regionally and nationally on a variety of topics related to health promotion, active learning, school-based therapy, and special education. 


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