TIP SHEET: MOVEMENT ACTIVITIES-Horizons For Homeless Children


The Cool Breeze Blows-Opening Game/Get to Know You Activity

  1. Set Up-Chairs are arranged in a circle with one chair for each child. If you don’t have enough chairs, other options include magic carpets, pieces of construction paper or x’s taped on spots on the floor.
  2. How to Play-The PAL stands in the middle of the circle and starts by saying, “The cool breeze blows for anyone who..” and then completes the sentence by saying something that some of the children may have in common. For example, the PAL might say, “The cool breeze blows for anyone who likes ice cream” or “The cool breeze blows for anyone who is wearing the color red”, etc.  Anyone seated in the circle for which the statement rings true simply has to get up and find a different seat in the circle (switching seats with other classmates with whom they have something in common).
  3. Alternative play-The person in the middle can switch by that person also trying to get a seat. The last child left now becomes the person in the middle who says, “the cool breeze blows” statement.
  4. Outs-If only one child gets up, leaving them unable to switch seats with a classmate, they can simply take a bow and sit back down in their original seats. All children can elect to stay seated, if they want, even if “the cool breeze blows for them”.  If a child is the last person standing, as in the alternate play, they do not have to be the one in the middle if they do not feel comfortable.  They can choose someone else to be in the middle for them.

Shake, Shake, Shake-Opening Game

  1. Set Up-Have the children stand in a circle. If your space is too small for a circle, you can still do this activity with children standing randomly around the room.
  2. How to Play-Children are each asked which part of their bodies they would like to shake and wake. If a child suggests hands, the whole group shakes their hands while chanting, “Shake , shake…shake,  shake…shake, shake..and STOP!”  If the next child suggests shoulders, the whole group shakes their shoulders using the same chant.  The game continues until each child has had a chance to suggest a type of “shake.”  After each turn, we thank the child for their great suggestion.
  3. Outs-If a child does not want to suggest a shake, they can just say “pass”.

Good Morning Snakes (Yoga Move)-Opening Game, Closing Game or Calming Activity

  1. Set Up-Children lie on their bellies in a circle on ground.
  2. How to Play-With their faces down, the teacher guides them through a fantasy that they are quiet, sleepy snakes slithering alone in a field. The PAL and children chant, “slithering, slithering, slithering, hisssss.”  When the snakes hiss, using their arms for leverage, they lift their heads and shoulders off the floor while trying to keep their lower bellies on the floor.  Once they have risen, everyone says, “Good Morning Snakes!”
  3. Alternative Play-To use as closing or calming activity at the end, everyone can say “Good Night, snakes” or “Sleepy time, snakes”

People to People-Active Game

  1. Set Up-Have the children get partners. You may want to assign partners to avoid any hurt feelings to get the game started.  Remind the children their partners will change often throughout the game.
  2. How to Play-The PAL tells the children that they are going to be playing a game to help them remember what things are called on their body. Then show them and say, “If I said finger to shoulder, each person will put their own finger on their buddies shoulder”  Then demonstrate with a volunteer.  Next show and say, “I will then do another part of the body such as hip to hip which you will do along with finger to shoulder”.  Finally say and show, “If I say people to people, you must find a new partner and sit down with them”.  Do a practice round first before beginning the game.  Make sure to wait till all children have found a buddy before beginning another round.  A great way to end any game of People to People is the last round to be “hand to back, other hand to back, now give your buddy a hug!”
  3. Alternative Play-You can add in to have the children tell their partner something about themselves, like their favorite game, when they sit down with a new partner.
  4. Outs-If any child does not feel comfortable playing, have them help the PAL to come up with body parts to use.

Freeze Dance-Active Play

  1. Set Up-Have the children stand around the room with space between them. Have a CD of some upbeat children’s tunes in a CD player cued up to start.
  2. How to Play-The PAL will tell the children they are going to dance to the music. They can dance or move their bodies however they like. They should make sure not to hit or touch any other child or thing in the room.  They will only dance when music is playing, once it stops they need to freeze.  Once the music begins again, they can dance again.
  3. Outs-If a child does not want to dance they can help with the CD player.