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Warming up and cooling down

The warm up helps children prepare their muscles for playing games, while the cool down relaxes muscles and gives the kids time to calm down before moving onto other activities.

The warm up

Warm ups should take place in a large, cleared space. It can be inside or out, depending on what space is available to you.

A good way to start the warm up is with an action song, followed by a bending, stretching, twisting or balancing activity.

It’s best to start a structured activity session with a five minute warm up activity and finish with a five minute cool down activity.

Click on the down arrow for warm up ideas.

Warming up ideas ↓
Action song Heads and shoulders, knees and toes
  Hokey Pokey
  The chicken dance
Bending, stretching and twisting activities  Toe touch and sky reach - Stand with feet apart and the knees slightly bent. Ask the children to bend forward and try to touch their ankles or toes. They then walk their fingers up their legs and then stretch up to reach for the sky as high as you can. Repeat. 
  Body twists - Stand with legs apart and hands on the hips. Keeping the hips still, ask the children to rotate their upper body to face the right and hold this position for five seconds, then return the body to the front. Keeping the hips still, ask the children to rotate their upper body to face the left and hold this position for five seconds, then return the body to the front. Repeat the whole activity.
  Ankle movement - Sitting down and moving at the ankle only, draw a circle with the right foot in one direction five times and then the five times the other way. Repeat with other ankle.
  Sky reaches - Stretch one arm up to the sky, then stretch the other arm up to the sky and repeat. 
  Shoulder shrugs - Shrug shoulders up and down and repeat.
  Shoulder rolls - Roll the shoulders forward and backward and repeat
  Jelly shake - Shake each arm, then each leg and then wiggle the whole body like jelly
  Belly button circles - Pretend the bellybutton is the middle of a circle. Do three circles to the right then three circles to the left as if using a hula hoop. Repeat the belly button circles, but this time start with three circles to the left then three circles to the right.

The cool down

As with the warm up, find a large large, cleared space for the cool down activity. Again, it can be inside or outside, depending on what space is available to you.

The cool down can also start with an action song, followed by a transition activity and then a relaxation activity to help settle and relax the children.

Click on the down arrow for cool down ideas

Cooling down ideas ↓
Action song

"Cockatoo is flapping, flapping, flapping. Cockatoo is flapping, flapping, flapping. The cockatoo is flapping just like this".

 

Transition activity

Play an adapted version of "Simon says..." using the common instructions, but don't let any of the children get “out". The aim is for the children to copy you. Include stretching activities such as touch your toes, hop on one foot, roll your shoulders, turn your bodies etc. 

 

Relaxation

Ask the children to sit down and breathe deeply and slowly in and out. Encourage them by saying slowly "Breathe in through your nose... breathe out through your mouth". 

 

While in the sitting or lying position, ask the children to stretch their arms out in front and reach to the sky while inhaling (breathing in). Then bring the arms down while exhaling (breathing out). Ask the children to close their eyes while they are doing this

 

You could also suggest the children curl up on the floor with eyes shut and simply rest for a short while.