December 2014


Children can get an amazing amount of exercise simply by standing and marching in place.  Here are some different ways you can march.  Can your students add to the list?

Power march by swinging arms up and down as you lift your knees high.
March slow and then march fast.
March in a circle and then turn around and march in a circle in the opposite direction.
March like a toy soldier with stiff arms and legs.
Lift opposite sides of your body as you march.  For example, left knee and right arm in the air.  Lift right knee as you extend your left arm in the air.
March high and then march down low.
March, march, pause.  March left foot, right foot, and then pause for two beats with your left knee in the air.
March on tippy toes.
Make circles with your arms as you march.
Open and close arms like an elevator door as you march.
Swish arms back and forth like windshield wipers as you march.
Kick and march.  Lift right knee and then kick right leg.  Lift left knee and kick left leg.



Get oxygen going to the brain by doing jumping jacks, windmills, squats, waist bends, scissor kicks, and other exercises.

Jog in place in place or pretend to jump rope.


Explain that some letters are tall.  They start at the top dotted line.  Some letters start at the middle dotted line.  Some letters have a tail.  They go below the line.  Sing the “Alphabet Song” stretching up in the air for tall letters, putting hands on waist for short letters, and touching the ground for letters with a tail.  For example:

A -hands on waist
B - hands in air
G - touch ground

Use letter aerobics for spelling out words on the word wall, spelling words, or vocabulary words.

Hint!  You can also clap in the air for tall letters, clap in front of you for short letters, and clap down near the floor for letters with a tail.


Have children stand and pretend to dribble a basketball.  Spell out words as you dribble, and then shoot the ball in the hoop as you say the word.  For example:
T (bounce), H (bounce), E (bounce) ~  “the”  (throw the ball in the hoop)

Take a batter’s position.  Pretend to take a swing as you say the letters; then hit a home run as you say the word.  For example:
R (swing), E (swing), A (swing), D (swing) ~ “read”  (swing around)

Let children suggest other sports where they could practice spelling words.  For example, swimming, soccer, tennis, fishing…it’s endless!


Say the alphabet backwards from Z to A.  Count backwards from 20, 50, or 100. 
Can you say the days of the week backwards or the months backwards?


Hand dancing can be done as children sit on the floor or in a chair.  Put on some lively music and then have children follow along as you make the following hand motions to the beat of the music:

Monkey-         Put fists out in front and pretend to climb a vine.
Pony-              Pretend to hold your reins and bounce up and down.
Swim-              Move arms as if swimming.
Hitch Hike-     Stick up thumbs and move them back and forth in front of body.
Twist-             Bend elbows and twist body at waist.
Funky Chicken -  Make arms like wings and flap up and down.
Batman-          Make V’s with fingers and sweep in front of your eyes.

•Let children make up their own hand dances for classmates to imitate.

Hint!  Do each motion for 20-30 seconds.


Play a broadway tune, country music, rock and roll or anything that YOU like that has a strong, steady beat.  Begin making the following motions and the children will naturally follow along.

Slap thighs four times
Clap hands four times
Shuffle right palm over left palm four times
Shuffle left palm over right palm four times
Thump right fist on left fist four times
Thump left fist on right fist four times
Reach up and pretend to grab something with your right hand.
Put it in your left palm
Smash it with your right hand.
Open your left palm and pretend to blow something from left to right.
Continue this pattern until children are focused and ready to begin the next activity.

Hint!  I always ask the children, “What are you grabbing?”  Sometimes they say love, happiness, a kiss, a smile, a rainbow, a snowflake…etc.!  Imaginations are a wonderful thing!


Have children do this activity on each other’s backs:

Cross cross,                            (Make an “x” on back.)
Applesauce,                            (Wiggle fingers down back.)
Spiders crawling up your back. (Crawl fingers up back.)
Warm breeze.                          (Gently blow on neck.)
Gentle squeeze.                       (Hug from behind.)
Now you’ve got the                (Tickle fingers down back.)


Children will need a partner for this activity.  One partner does the movements below on their friend’s back and then they reverse positions.

The itsy bitsy spider
Went up the water spout.       (Wiggle fingertips from waist up to shoulders.)
Down came the rain and
Washed the spider out.           (Move fingers down like rain.)
Out came the sun and
Dried up all the rain.               (Open palms and make circular motions on the back.)
And the itsy bitsy spider
Went up the spout again.        (Wiggle fingertips up the back.)


Have children stand next to their partner and extend their inside arms around their partner’s waist.  Each child will use her outside arm to sing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and cooperate with their partner to make the motions.  It’s not as easy as it sounds!


Let children lay on their tummies and read, write, draw, or play games.


When you need a break, let children get up and tell jokes or riddles.

Hint!  Keep a book of jokes and riddles on your desk.


First, have the children take several deep, slow breaths.  Ask them to place their hands on their diaphragm so they can feel their lungs expanding and contracting.  Ask them to inhale through their noses and exhale through their mouths on a slow count of eight.  For example:  Inhale 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 ~ and exhale 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

•Have them close their eyes and imagine they are a balloon filling up with air.  Exhale and let all the air out. 

•Pretend to be a bag of sand and let all the sand run out.

•Challenge children to close their eyes and imagine they are floating on a cloud as they inhale and exhale.


Help children release stress by tightening and relaxing different body parts. 

Squeeze your hands tight as you can.  Tighter.  Tighter.  Now relax.
Squeeze your toes tight as you can.  Tighter.  Tighter.  Now relax.
Squeeze your arms…
Legs…  Shoulders… Mouths… etc.

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