Staying active and fit during the winter months can be a challenge. As a physical education teacher, I always enjoyed opportunities to tap into themed activities that made fitness fun. Below are some holiday themed fitness station ideas that challenge student fitness levels and teamwork.
1. Build a Snow Fort
Equipment: Cones, empty boxes or pool noodles (the boxes can make larger forts)
Skills: Balance, Teamwork, Creativity
How it Works: Students will collect one box or pool noodle at a time and carry it across the bridge (balance beam) over the frozen river (a mat) to the construction site. The students will then use the building material to create a snow fort made of the boxes and cones. When the task is completed, the teacher can take photos of the students with their fort (optional) and then students will clean up the equipment for the next group.
2. Sleigh Pull
Equipment: Old blankets
Skills: Teamwork, Muscular strength (legs and arms)
How it Works: Students will work in groups of 3-5. One person will get to ride on the sleigh (blanket), while the other students pull the sleigh across the floor to the other side of the gym. When the students make it across the gym, they will switch the rider and continue the activity back to the other side of the gym. The student who is riding must lay on belly with arms keeping his/her head off the floor. When every student has had a ride, then each student can get a second turn.
3. Over the River
Equipment: Tug of war ropes/heavy duty rope, carpet squares, cones
Skill: Muscular strength (core and arms)
How it Works: To get over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, students will need to pull their way across the raging river (gym floor). Using one or more rope stretched across the floor students will sit on a carpet square (their boat) and pull from one side to the other using a hand over hand pull. The rope can be anchored to one wall or two students can pull toward each other to move across the floor. More than one student can pull at a time provided that there is some space between each child. If students need assistance, they can use their feet to help move across the floor. Remind students that the carpet squares should be carpet side down (they slide much easier). For safety reasons, no student should stand on the carpet squares.
4. Ice Skating
Equipment: Paper plates or felt squares
Skills: Balance, Muscular strength (legs), Coordination
How it Works: Each student will get two paper plates or felt squares (skates) and lay them on the floor. They will place their feet on the skates and attempt to slide their feet across the gym floor (frozen pond). The teacher can provide challenges for each trip across the pond while skating (i.e. – spins, going backward, speed skating, etc.) to make the trip across the ice more fun.
5. Snowball Target Practice
Equipment: Yarn balls, bowling pins and/or stuffed animals
Skills: Throwing at a stationary target, teamwork
How it Works: To set up, place the targets on one end of the playing area. The target heights can be varied to add a challenge for the students by using mats, buckets, boxes, etc. Use a variety of targets to make the activity more interesting (stuffed animals, bowling pins, etc.). On the other end of the space, place several different containers (i.e. – buckets) with 40+ yarn balls (snowballs) that the students will use to throw at the targets. Each student may pick up only one yarn ball at a time to throw at the targets. In the center of the space, the teacher will place a line of cones that no player may cross when throwing the snowballs (this line can be moved closer to or further away from the targets based on student skill levels). When the activity begins, the objective of the activity is to score as many points in one round working together as a team to knock down the targets. After each round, the students will count the number of targets that were hit.
To add a math component, certain targets can be designated with different values (i.e. – stuffed animals are worth 3 points each). When the targets are knocked down the students will count up the point values for the targets that were knocked down.
These holiday themed fitness station ideas are fun ways to work on movement skills, teamwork, and improve fitness. You are more than welcome to modify them to meet the needs of your students. If you have a great station idea, please feel free to share it in the comments! Happy Holidays!!