Tuesday, February 9, 2021


You can give standards a brain break with these activities. Purposeful practice for automaticity (repetition) is a key to skill mastery, so these playful exercises will have children practicing skills as they move and have fun.

ABC Kick Box
Directions: Children stand and make fists with their hands. Explain that you will punch across with your right hand and say a letter. Then punch across with their left hand and make the sound.

A – Punch with right hand.
/a/ - Punch with left hand.
B through Z.

Adaptations: Say a word that starts with each letter instead of the sound.

*Make manual signs for letters as you punch across.


Karate Chop Counting
Directions: Demonstrate how to face forward with a stiff right palm on your left shoulder. Chop that right hand down toward your right side. Take a stiff left palm and place it on your right shoulder. Now chop that left hand down toward your left side. Count from 1 to 100 as you chop.

Adaptations: Count by 10’s, 5’s, 2’s, and so forth as you chop.

*Say the ABC’s as you chop.

Air Writing
Directions: Children stand and extend their index finger in the air. Explain that you will do “invisible” writing in the air with their magic finger. Have children make numerals, shapes, letters, or write words in the air with their "magic" finger.

Adaptations: Try “foot writing” where they make letters, shapes, and numerals with their foot.

*Invite children to suggest other body parts they can use to practice writing sight words or spelling words. For example, they can write with their elbow, knee, nose, and so forth.

Step and Read
Materials: class poems and big books
Directions: Children stand and walk in place as they read each word in a sentence. When they come to the end of a line they “jump” down to the next line.

Adaptations: When they come to a period they clap their hands.

For a question mark they shrug. When there is an exclamation point they put their fist in the air. On commas, they snap their fingers, and for quotation marks they wiggle 2 fingers on each hand.

Stop and Touch
Directions: The teacher calls out a shape, color, letter, and so forth, and the children find something in their learning environment that matches it and touch it.

*Twist a pipe cleaner to look like a spy glass and use it to identify the information.

Directions: Have children do jumping jacks, windmills, squats, waist bends, scissor kicks, and other exercises as they count, say letters of the alphabet, read words, and so forth.

Directions: Children stand and put their hands in the air as they say a letter. They put their hands on their shoulders and make the letter sound. As they touch their toes they say a word that starts with that sound.

A (Hands up in the air and say “A.”)
/a/ (Hands on shoulders and make the short /a/ sound.)
____ (Say a word that starts with “A” as you touch your toes.)

Adaptations: Say words that are nouns, verbs, or other parts of speech as you touch your toes.

*Use different categories to “phonercise.” You could do foods, animals, vocabulary from a unit of study, things in your state, etc.


Macarena Count to 100
Directions: Children stand and do the “Macarena” as they count.
1 (Right arm out palm down.)
2 (Left arm out palm down.)
3 (Right palm up.)
4 (Left palm up.)
5 (Right hand on left shoulder.)
6 (Left hand on right shoulder.)
7 (Right hand behind head.)
8 (Left hand behind head.)
9 (Right hand on left hip.)
10 (Left hand on right hip.)
That is one ten. (Hold up one finger.)

Adaptations: Point to the numerals on a 100 chart as you sing.

*Skip count using the Macarena. Counting by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, etc. will help children with multiplication.


Pump Up to 100
Directions: Have children pretend to pick up weights and count.
     1-20 - bicep curls (Elbows in, pretend to hold weights in fists with palms up as you bring forearms up and down.)
     21-40 - for overhead press (Fists face forwards as you start at your shoulders and push the weights overhead.)
     41-60 – side raises (Elbows at 90% angles as you raise them out to the side.)
     61-80 – upright rows (Fists together close to the body and raise elbows out and up until fists are at your heart.)
     81-100 – frontal raises - (Fists together and arms stiff as you raise them in front of your body        to eye level.)


Go Letters!
Directions: Children stand and cheer the letters and make the sounds.
     Goooo A! /a/ /a/ /a/ (Roll arms and right fist in air as you make the sound.)
     Goooo B! /b/ /b/ /b/ (Roll arms and left fist in the air with sound.)
     Goooo C! ….Z

Adaptations: Make manual signs for letters as you cheer.



Karate Writing
Directions: 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 

Adaptations: Use letter aerobics for spelling sight words, spelling words, or vocabulary words.


Sports Spell
Directions: 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)

Adaptations: 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!

Top to Bottom Math Facts
Directions: Children stand and put their hands in the air as the teacher says a number. When they touch their heads the teacher says “plus” or “minus.” As they touch their waist the teacher says a second number. When the touch their knees everyone says “equals.” And when they touch their toes they say the answer to the math fact.

Adaptations: Tell number stories where children touch and tell the answer.

Show Me Vocabulary
Directions: Children stand and pantomime vocabulary words. For example: “Show me irate. Show me nocturnal. Show me parched…”

Directions: Children stand and as you call out letters they try and make the letter with their body.

*Adapt for phonics by having children show you the sound they hear at the beginning, middle, or end of a word.

*Spell sight words or vocabulary words with their bodies.