Preschool Fitness and Exercise is something we should all focus on throughout the year.
1 out of 5 preschool children are in what is considered the "obesity" range regarding their weight.
Preschool fitness needs to be a priority in our classrooms.
Let's get them moving!
This theme page is filled with activities that focus specifically on exercise.and its importance for your preschoolers.
Be sure to include active, gross motor time every day, not just during health-related themes!
Be vigilant about not losing your recess time!
Let the Exercise and Fitness Theme planning begin!
You can scroll scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your Preschool Fitness and Exercise Theme.
You can also click the link below to go to the specific preschool activity types you are looking for.
Materials Needed: small balls or large marbles, a box top or other shallow item with edges; paper, paint
Children print their name on their paper.
Place paper in shallow tray or box top.
Put some paint on the paper (we usually water the paint down a bit so that marbles don't get stuck in it!).
Place balls or marbles on the paper. The children shake the tray or box top from left to right over and over again as the balls or marbles drag the paint around the paper. Keep adding paint as wanted!
Materials Needed: black construction paper, white chalk
Encourage the children to draw pictures of themselves and what they think their bones might look like. This is a tough concept for them as preschoolers are so concrete and discussing something that they can not see that is under their skin is a bit abstract for them. But, just let them go at it! Display these pictures either in your dramatic play area or your classroom library area!
Making Musical Dumbells
Materials Needed: Paper towel tubes; strips of colored construction paper (approximately 2 inches wide by 4 inches long); scraps of yarn and ribbon;small jingle bells; miscellaneous paper and items that they can tape onto the tubes; markers and clear tape
In advance, tie a jingle bell on the ends of some of the ribbon and yarn pieces. Also, use a hole punch to punch some holes near the edges on both sides of the tubes.
The children should decorate the paper towel tubes. Have them tape the construction paper strip around the tube in the middle and explain that this is where they will hold their dumbells and therefore they should not glue anything on that part.
Demonstrate how to hold a dumbell and lift it up and down!
They can then use the markers to decorate and glue on the miscellaneous items. They should then lace the ribbon and/or yarn into the holes around the edges.
Use these to "work out" in your gym in dramatic play!
Materials Needed: Large paper to trace children on, marker
Trace each child on a large piece of paper. Enlist help from parents to do this and to cut out their tracings. Be sure to print each child's name on thier tracing!
Provide mirrors and have the children draw their faces on their papers.
Provide fabric for them to decorate the rest of their bodies.
Talk about the different muscles and bones and how to stay fit.
This will most likely be a several day project as the children will lose interest in coloring their own life-size "Me" in one day!
Materials Needed: Provide finger paints in multiple colors and finger paint paper. While they are painting, talk with the children about the things they do that use the muscles in their hands (using a spoon, putting on coats, brushing teeth) and they their hand muscles need exercise, too!
Materials Needed: paper, crayons, scissors, hole puncher, paint, paintbrushes, colored laces or yarn.
Help the children to trace their own foot (with their shoe on) and then cut it out as best they can.
Hole punch a few holes near the middle (they will lace this part later!)
Provide a variety of paint colors and paint brushes and let them decorate their "shoes".
When dry, provide laces or yarn for the children to practice lacing!
Materials Needed: Add interlocking blocks to your block area such as duplo or larger legos.
The children can use these materials to build a hospital, a gym, a park or playground to play on! Also provide toy people and pets to walk in the park! Use larger blocks to make cars, trucks or ambulances to get where they need to be!
You've talked about fitness in preschool and the importance of healthy eating. Perhaps you even have a supermarket in your dramatic play area. Let's add to that using brown grocery bags! Stuff them with newspaper and then tape them with clear packing tape and add them to your block area. You could also do the same with the small brown lunch bags.
Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your Preschool Fitness Theme!
Ways to Stay Healthy
Materials Needed: Index cards, marker
Ask the children if they know of ways they can stay healthy? Accept all answers. In advance, print each child's name on an index card. As each child gives you an answer, show the group that child's card (name receognition) and Write down their answer on their index card.
Some answers may be: Eat healthy foods; brush teeth; wash hands; exercise, etc.
Use the cards at the Writing Interest Center to encourage them to draw a picture of themselves doing the action you have written down for them.
Watch Me Grow!
Materials Needed: A large strip of paper taped to the wall marked off by feet (1 foot through 5 feet); marker or strips of paper with each child's name on it.
Measure how tall the children are and place their name where they are and list how tall they are. Do this again at the end of the year to see how much they've grown!
We have also weighed each child and listed that as well. The children would measure themselves all year long!
Row Your Boat
Sing the song Row, Row, Row you boat while acting out the lines. Sing it fast and then sing it slow. Sing songs during circle time that use hand motions today! Stand up and act out 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and then sing and act out 5 Little Monkeys Swinging From a Tree!
Our Puppet Says
Materials Needed: Take out your favorite puppet! Have it say hello to the children. The puppet can lead your children in a game of Copy Me! The puppet should tell the children that they are going to exercise. First we are going to warm up....Walk in Place, ready, go!
Now, jump 6 times....ready, go!
Now, run fast in one place like this...ready, go!
Eventually, let the children each make a suggestion of a move and have the puppet try to do that exercise as well!
Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!
Energy Trail Mix
Ingredients and Items needed: raisins; oat cereal; corn cereal; dried fruit; zipper baggies; tablespoons; pen
Place each ingredient into a separate bowl. Place a tablespoon in each bowl. In advance, draw a tablespoon on 4 index cards. On the bottom of each, list how many tablespoons of the ingredient that you want the children to place in their baggie (for example, on the card in front of the raisins, you might print "Add 1".
Encourage the children to print their name on the baggie with the pen.
They should then go from bowl to bowl and count out the number of tablespoons of each ingredient printed on each card into their baggie.
Planet Preschool Fitness
Materials Needed: Items to make your dramatic play area into a mini-gym that is appropriate for preschoolers! You can have a balance beam, a few circle time mats or carpet squares with numbers on them (they run in place while counting to this number); a jumping jack corner...it could be set up like a mini-obstacle course. Also, teach them a few warm up and cool down exercises such as stretching, bending, taking deep breaths.
Set up your dramatic play area as a hospital or doctor's office. Provide clipboards, pencils or crayons to write on charts, medical bags, bandages, etc. Also, check to see if can find a skeleten model for the children to see; provide long shirts and masks. These can be found in teacher stores or science activity departments of stores. You might also find some xrays in these areas!
(Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)
Paint to the Beat
Materials needed: Play music as the children paint at the easel and suggest movements as they paint. For example, play some of a fast song and suggest that they move their hands up and down. Play a slower song and suggest they paint from left to right, or in circles, etc.
Working Your Body
In advance, make some pictures of different children performing different exercises such as reaching to the sky, touching toes, running in place, etc. Or, find pictures in magazines.
Make index cards with numerals or dots on them.
Show the children one picture card and then one number or dot card.
The children then do the activity on the picture card the number of times shown on the number card (i.e. jump up and down 5 times).
Bean Bag Olympics
Materials Needed: Bean bags; tape (painter's tape)
Tape 2 lines on the floor or carpet.
Have the children stand at one of the blue lines.
They each should have one bean bag.
Have them try to get the bean bag to the other line in different ways by using different body muscles:
Throw with your hands.
Place on the top of your hand (not the palm) and try to toss it to the line.
Place the bean bag on the top of your foot and try to kick-toss it to the other line.
Try tossing it only using 2 fingers.
Try it tossing it backwards over your head!
Materials Needed: Have the children sort themselves! Start by having them sort themselves by who has long hair and who has short hair. Then suggest other ways to sort such as wearing blue jeans, wearing sneakers, etc. Then have the children suggest ways to sort!
Using a parachute, try different exercises WHILE you all shake the parachute up and down such as jumping and counting to 10. Try squatting down and standing back up while holding the parachute. Reach up and bend over to the ground slowly while holding the chute, then try it very fast!
Book Suggestions for the Library
Open Shut Them
This is a great exercise for little hands! We use this fingerplay everyday to begin our snack. We say this poem and then say our snacktime prayer. You could also use this to settle the children down before circle or story time.
Open, shut them. Open shut them. Give a little clap.
Open, shut them. Open, shut them. Put them in your lap.
Creep them, crawl them. Creep them, crawl them, right up to your chin.
Open up your little mouths, but do not let them in (hands on lap again!).
Ways to Measure
Provide tape measures and rulers as well as clipboards and crayons or pencils.
Encourage the children at the center to measure themselves, each other, the progress of a plant you may have growing, etc.
Math Words- Big and Small
Materials: Collect a wide variety of items in a specific shape you are working on. Have the children sort them by large and small. Also introduce "Medium" and they cans sort by small, medium and large.
Example: CIRCLE: provide pompoms, beads, ping pong balls, golf balls, larger balls
Table Hopscotch Game
Tape colored construction paper squares together to make a Hopscotch. Add the numbers onto it. Place it on the table. Give the children different items to count out onto the squares such as beans, pom poms, etc.
EXTENSION: If you make this large enough to fit on the table, provide bean bags or pom-poms for the children to toss onto it. When it lands on a number, encourage them to name the number.
Preschool Fitness and Health Plate
Materials Needed: playdough in a variety of colors and plastic plates.
Staying fit takes exercise AND healthy foods. Here the children can whip up a plate of healthy foods with playdough while working out their small muscles!
Provide cookie cutters in shapes of sports items, people, etc. and playdough rollers and plastic knives.
Preschool Fitness Lacing
Materials Needed: Make and laminate different shapes that focus on fitness such as running shoes, people, healthy snacks (apples, bananas, etc.). Once laminated, hole punch holes around the outside edges of the shapes. Provide colored laces for the children to lace with (tie a knot on one end so that it does not pass through the holes). You can make your own laces with colored yarn. Use clear tape to tape one end of the yarn so that it passes through the holes.
This is traditional but he
lps your preschoolers learn about their body while learning to stay fit! You can change this up to focus on discussions you've had in class. For example, instead of "you put your right foot in, you put your right foot out, you put your right foot in and shake it all about" say "you could put your right foot in and lift it up and down!"
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
Body parts and preschool fitness all in one! After singing this once, try singing it very, very slow and then very very fast! Each year, our children LOVE to do this "super, duper, fast". We tell them that when we do it this fast, it is SO fast we can't even say the words so we replace all the words with "Blah, blah blah blah blah blah" while we do it "super duper fast"!
Materials Needed: Home made dumbells (see Art activity above) or hand held musical instruments.
After time to explore the musical instruments, give fitness instructions for your preschool children to work out to!
EXTENSION: Play music of different tempos and encourage them to dance to the beat...slow, fast, medium, etc.!
Materials Needed: Find pictures online of basic, easy children Yoga moves. Play calming music as you all do them together!
Fun To Get Fit
Provide a box of scrap paper (construction paper, newspaper, etc.). The children crumple a piece of paper and then toss it into the sensory table. Tape a line to show the children where to stand to toss to make it a bit of a challenge!
Materials Needed: Donated xrays from your dentist or you can purchase them at a teacher store; provide magnifying glasses and flashlights. Show the children how to shine light on xrays to see them more clearly. Leave them out for children to investigate.
We found a plastic "person", well, from the neck down which had removable internal organs such as lungs, heart, ribs, etc. We called it Anatomy Dude!
This is an apron that the children can wear. The internal organs actually stick onto the appropriate areas with velcro on the apron!
The Anatomy Dude and the Apron can be purchased through most teacher stores. Here are a few I found on Amazon!
Ways to Stay Healthy
Materials Needed: Ways to Stay Healthy index cards from the Ways to Stay Healthy Circle Time activity listed above.
Encourage the children to use markers to illustrate the way to stay healthy that they stated at circle time. Read the card to them by running your finger under the words on the card as you read it to them.
EXTENSION: Use the children's pages as a book to read at your next group circle time.
Preschool Fitness Book
Materials Needed: Group book made in advance (see instructions below); magazines; scissors; glue sticks
In advance, staple a piece of colorful construction paper to a pile of 10 or so pieces of light colored construction paper.
At the writing center, the children should look through the magazines for pictures of things that remind them of being healthy. It could be pictures of healthy foods, people walking, children playing.
They may.....no, they WILL get distracted! They will see many toys they will want to cut out! This has happened every time we do this activity! What I've done is ask them if that toy can be used to exercise? If it does, it goes in the book. If it doesn't, they cut it out and it goes into a box or bin that is on the table that has a label, "Fun, but no exercise".
These "fun but no exercise" cards can be used to discuss the importance of not just sitting and playing games all the time but moving around!
Give Myself a Hand!
Materials Needed: Construction paper; crayons; scissors
Children trace their hand, then cut it out as best they can.
EXTENSION: We encourage our children to print their names on everything...even their fingerpaint pictures! Provide name tags with their names printed on them to allow them to see how to print their names. Encourage them to print their name on their hand!
Preschool Fitness Theme Field Trip Ideas
Preschool Fitness Theme Classroom Visitors
There are many opportunities with a Preschool Fitness theme for visitors to your classroom! Survey parents for opportunities as well as your local community!
Some ideas for visitors: