Luck of the Draw: Endless Card Activities Suit’able for All Ages

Deck of Cards for Fitness Card ActivitiesAre you tight on space? Do you need a task to keep students moving while waiting to play? Need an idea for classroom teachers to give students “Fit Breaks?” Try Fitness Card Activities!

To use fitness card activities  in your class all you need is a standard deck of cards and 4 different exercises that meet your goal and space requirement.  And music, of course, because everyone loves music!

This is a very simple activity, that if done correctly can hit both muscular endurance and also cardiovascular endurance, depending on the types of exercises you choose for each suit in the deck of cards.  I teach high school students and in 15 minutes they are able to complete the entire deck.   Typically half of the class performs this activity and the remainder of the class is on spin bikes.  We also utilize this workout as a way to keep students waiting in line moving.   Our goal is to keep all of our students active, so we use the deck of cards as a way to accomplish this goal.

How it works:

  • Designate one exercise for each of the four suits in the deck and print it out on a piece of paper.
    • Examples: Diamonds = Dolphin Planks, Spades = Crunches, Hearts = Lunge Jumps, and Clubs = Mountain Climbers
      Diamonds Dolphin PlanksSpades CrunchesHearsts Lunge JumpsClubs - Mt. Climbers
  • Shuffle the deck and have students flip over 1 card at a time
  • Students complete the number of reps provided on the card
  • Numbered cards are the number on the card
    • Face cards (Jacks, Queens, and Kings) are 10 reps and the Ace is 11
    • Examples: 7 of Diamonds = 7 Dolphin Planks, 2 of Spades = 2 Crunches, King of Hearts = 10 Lunge Jumps
  • Change up the excercises every couple of weeks. Keep the old cards so you can resuse them in the future.

I also recommend that PE teachers introduce this simple workout to classroom teachers.  My wife is a 3rd grade teacher and I have shown her how to do the deck of cards workout with her students.  Classroom teachers can easily have the deck of cards on their desks and when they notice their class is in need of a quick “fit break” to rejuvenate their minds, they can flip 4 or 5 cards and have their class moving instantly.  Knowing first hand all of the work that classroom teachers have on their plates, I encourage you to print off the exercise/suit cards so the teacher does not have to take the time to do this part.  You should also keep in my mind the amount of space in a classroom and what items students have at their desks that could be used.  

Example: Hearts = chair squats, Diamonds = ski jumps, Spades = rocket jumps, and Clubs = seal jacks. 

Using cards is a simple way to get a large number of students active in any space you have available and it is very inexpensive.  As for the exercises, the sky is the limit on what you can have students do for each suit and I encourage you to let students help in deciding, because they will have a feeling of empowerment and are more likely to complete the task!  ENJOY!


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