Five Engaging Culture-Building Activities

Physical Education is a great place to get students moving, cooperating, and building communication skills. In this blog, we’ll explore 5 easy-to-learn activities that are great for building relationships and tuning the classroom culture. Exercises like ‘Jump the Spinner,’ where students learn while having fun with fitness, and ‘The Magic Number Team Activity,’ are a great way to foster inclusivity. Take a look at the 5 activities below for some ideas on how to make physical education an unforgettable experience for students! 

1. Jump the Spinner

This activity is a great way to energize your class right out of the locker room. Help students to know it is okay to make mistakes and fitness is fun. Integrity is the key to classroom culture, so students get a chance to show integrity as the string or ball touches them. Some possible fitness activities after touching the rope or ball include 15 jumping jacks, 3 burpees, 8 push-ups, running one lap around the gym, 10 jump lunges, 12 sit-ups, etc.

2. The Magic Number Team Activity

Directions: Participants begin moving around the room until a “magic number” is called. This magic number indicates how many students must gather together to make a team. Once the number is called, students must raise their hands until they are in a team with the correct number of people. If a student is left out and all of the groups are full, then groups are encouraged to welcome in the extra student(s). Facilitate to create welcoming groups who work together to help everyone be part of a team. You can create your own activities for each number or use the examples listed below.

Possible Activities for each magic number called:

2 – Share something you enjoy doing in physical education class.

5 – Line up in alphabetical order by middle name. The first person in line is the leader and everyone else follows the leader in the correct order as he/she travels around the room. (Make it more fun:  encourage a variety of creative movement skills from the leader with everyone else copying the leader, yell new leader and the first person goes to the end of the line so everyone gets a chance to lead for a short time.)

3 – Identify as many muscles as you can. As a group, work to count how many you could identify. Which team can identify the most?

8 – Play ‘Duck-Duck-Goose’ with your team! Ready, set, play!

7 – Brainstorm and do any activity that raises your heart rate and that you could all do together for 1 minute.  You have 1 minute and 39 seconds to decide and be ready to perform your activity.

4 – Share a favorite thing about our school and explain why. Make sure everyone has an opportunity to share.

6 – Decide what movie all of you have seen. Discuss whether you liked it or not and why.

1 – Work to give some type of appropriate physical greeting to everyone in the room (i.e. handshake, high-five, fist bump, your own greeting) You have only 73 seconds. Go!

Debrief Questions:

What did you like about the Magic Number Team Game?

List some key qualities your classmates showed that helped make this activity fun and successful. (i.e. integrity, compassion, kindness, creativity, cooperation, or even smiling:)

3. Noodle Popper Activity:

Activity #1: Students get a noodle piece and practice popping.

Activity #2: Students work to complete a double catch with a partner. Once the double catch is achieved, finish with a high-five or fist bump and a positive comment before moving to a new partner. Can you achieve a double catch with everyone in the class?

4. Move If You…

Students stand on a spot in a circle with one person starting in the center. The center person says “Move if you…”, and says something they like to do (example: “Move if you like to play basketball”). If it applies to a student on a spot, that student must move to a new spot. They may not move to a spot right next to them. The person who does not find a spot is the new center person who says “Move if you…”


1. What did you learn from this activity?

2. How can our similarities and differences help or hinder our ability to be a “team” in this class?

5. Partner to Partner 

Directions: Students are asked to find a new partner for every activity (students can only go with the same person once). Activities last only one to three minutes and then students are asked to quickly find a new partner. No student may refuse to go with another student. An explanation of the expectations for this activity (kindness, respect, direction following, making positive comments to partners, hustling between activities, staying on task, cooperation, working to develop and improve physical skills) should be done prior to beginning and also during the activities with lots of positive praise. This is a great activity to start the year because students will learn the rules for the class and get to know all their classmates much better. Adding music while students are working makes the activities even more fun.

List of Possible Activities:

  • Walk And Share With Partner
  • High Five Push-ups
  • Partner Jump Lunges
  • Jumping Contest – Standing Long Jump, Running Long Jump, Creative Jump, Triple Jump
  • Sit-Ups With Partner Handing Off A Ball
  • Jump Rope (1 rope per group – 10 jumps each, then both jump at the same time)
  • Hacky Sack
  • Nerf Football Catch
  • Foam Frisbee Catch
  • Soccer Passing
  • Soccer Follow the Leader
  • Volleyball Bumping/Passing
  • Badminton Hitting
  • Basketball Passing
  • Basketball Shooting
  • Scooter Partner Push
  • Throwing Contest – Throw a small foam ball to the wall (aim for a target on the wall)
  • Follow the Leader – non-locomotor (like a mirror), also locomotor (be creative)

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