Time per task: 10-20 minutes

The second of the five ways to wellbeing is ‘Be active’. What does this mean?

The New Economics Foundation says: 

Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and one that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

Setting the scene

These games that can be done as a group, or individually, in the playground or at home. The games can be standalone reflective exercises or short bursts of activity as energisers, session breaks, or rewards. 

To begin, invite the children to sit quietly with their eyes closed; still and talk. Encourage them to think carefully about how each part of their body feels: start with physical sensations in the head and face and slowly move through the body. Then think carefully about the emotions they can feel. This does not require a discussion.

When you spend time playing the games below, help refocus the children on the physical sensations in their bodies and then how they feel emotionally. What has changed? 

  • How did they feel during the activity?
  • If they felt nervous, what helped them overcome that?
  • Why were they excited or happy etc?
  • How do they feel now? 

Blobtree diagram © Pip Wilson and Ian Long www.blobtree.com

Game 1 - Balancing act

This can be played individually.

  • Mark out a line with a skipping rope or some string
  • Along one side, place various items at different distances away from the line. These could be a cushion, pen, book, coat - items that belong to the pupil taking part
  • The pupil taking part needs to stand on the line and balance by standing on one leg, putting their arms in the air at right angles. Explain they are against the clock! 
  • Explain that they need to jump along the line holding the pose, then pick up each item and move it to the other side – making sure their feet do not leave the line
  • Be careful – if they lose their balance or drop anything, they must go back to the start.

Take it in turns with others in your class (remember to replace the items along the line with items that belong to the pupil taking part) and see who can do it the quickest.

Following this activity, ask your pupils:

  • What else are they balancing in life?
  • What people around them may be balancing?
  • What are the difficulties they encounter and how do they keep balance?

You could record this discussion on a series of flip-chart pages to put up as a display to remind your pupils of ways they can keep a good balance and maintain good emotional health and well-being.

Game 2 - Shapeshifting

  • Choose one person to be the leader
  • Get your class to stand up in front of their computer screens. If pupils have limited mobility, they can stay seated
  • The leader shapeshifts into a move that everyone in the class has to copy, like a star jump, putting your hands on your head, running on the spot or a dance move
  • Try to come up with as many different ones as you can!

Blob Tree Reflection

The Blob image above gives examples of ways pupils can be active in other ways, without necessarily being physically active or using digital technology.

Which Blob images show how you like to be active? 

Which Blob images show how you would like to be active more?

Game 3 - Dancing moves

Teacher to lead this the first time.

  • Make sure everyone in your class has enough room around them to keep enough distance. Start playing some music
  • Take two sideways steps to the right and tap the toes of your left foot on the ground in time with the music. Then do the same to the left.
  • Now add some arm moves! As you step each way, wave your arms side to side above your head!
  • Finally, after your two steps in each direction, do a special dance move. Try a star jump, dabbing, flossing or swivelling your hips like you have a hula hoop – be imaginative!
  • After 10 shapeshifts, a new leader starts shapeshifting.

This game can be done in short bursts and suitable as a mid-session break or energiser. If you make it a part of your routine, you can also work with your students to put together a shared playlist. 

Differentiation for SEND

These activities can be adapted to work for pupils with limited mobility. Other activities can be adapted to work for pupils with sensory or spatial awareness needs

For example, the Balancing act can be set up to reflect your pupils’ mobility needs. If they can’t physically move around the class, put items on a desk that they need to balance on top of each other, or ask them to balance items on their hand or knee

For the Shapeshifting game, choose only moves your pupils can achieve.

Partner school linking activity - Be active challenge

In groups, design an activity for your partner school that will help them be active. Make sure your instructions are clear - maybe you need to take some photos to show what you mean?

Complete the challenge set by your partner school. Send photos and comments to your partner school about what you enjoyed about their challenge.

Global examples

Explore some of the physical activities carried out by different schools in India during Fit India School Week in February 2020.   

Which activities would you like to try in your school? What would a fitness logo look like for your school, town or country?