February is known for Valentine’s Day: Cuddling our sweethearts, giving flowers and chocolates to classmates and friends, and pink- and red-themed displays.
February is also American Heart Month, a time to shine a light on heart disease prevention and awareness. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans. That means there is no time like the present to set lifelong healthy habits to help prevent cardiovascular disease.
One of the best ways to keep your heart healthy is by engaging in physical activity. ActivEd is here to help with these great activities to get kids moving and having fun in the classroom!
This twist on musical chairs from No Time for Flash Cards is customizable and easy to set up! All that you need are some pink and red foam sheets (paper or cardstock will work, too), a marker, and some music that you can stop and start easily.
To set up the game, cut out some large hearts from the foam sheets or paper, and write a physical activity on each one. You can make these movements more or less difficult depending on the gross motor skills of your students!
Movement ideas include:
- Hop on one foot. (Specify left or right foot to make it more challenging.)
- Do 10 jumping jacks. Run in place.
- Touch your toes 3 times. Fly like a bird. (Flap your arms.)
- Rub your head and pat your stomach at the same time (or vice versa!).
- Chase your tail 4 times. (Spin in a circle.)
- Do 5 push-ups.
- Pretend to be your school’s (or your city’s sports team) mascot. (Wag your tail like a dog, buzz around like a bee, etc.)
You can change the activities to include math and directional challenges, too! Include math problems instead of numbers. For example, write “Do 5 + 5 jumping jacks,” “Spin to the left 2 x 2 times,” or “Touch your toes 4 – 1 times” on the hearts so students practice math skills while having fun.
Put the hearts in a circle in your classroom. Tape them to chairs or securely to the floor so that no one slips! Then, play musical hearts just like musical chairs. Each time the music stops, students should do the activity written on the heart! Start the music again, and take one heart sway from the circle. The winner is the last student who sits in the last chair. You’re sure to see some giggles as each student is doing something different each time the music stops!
You can use the same hearts to lead students in a game of “Cupid Says.” The game is played just like the classic game of Simon Says, but with a Valentine’s Day spin!
Who’s Your Valentine?
If you want to keep all students in the game the entire time, consider playing “Who’s Your Valentine?” from VeryWell Family. In this game, you’ll need enough chairs for every player, minus one. The student starting without a chair is “It.” “It” asks a seated student, “Who’s your Valentine?” The seated student should answer with “My Valentine is anyone who __________.” For example, the valentine could be anyone wearing blue, anyone with pets at home, anyone with a birthday in February, etc.
Anyone who fits that description should stand up and move to another open chair as quickly as possible, and the student without a chair becomes “It.”
Friendship Relay Race
Growing classroom community is always an added bonus to classroom activities. Teamwork makes the dream work with the Friendship Cooperation Relay Race from Kid Activities.
You’ll need painter’s tape or chalk to mark the starting and stopping points for the relay plus two beach towels and two balloons (and maybe a few spare balloons, just in case!). Have students find a partner, and then create two teams of partners. If the teams are uneven, one team can do the relay race twice!
When you say, “Go,” partners should hold the towel out between them, and balance the inflated balloon on the towel. Any time the balloon drops, students must stop and put their balloon back on the towel before they continue. Each pair of students should pass the towel and balloon to the next pair in line. The winning team is the first to have all partners complete the course!
- Candy Hearts: In this version, each student balances a candy heart on a popsicle stick. Make the game more challenging by adding multiple candy hearts to the stick!
- Spoon and Balloons: Here, one student places the balloon on a spoon and takes it back and forth, passing the balloon to the next student in line.
We can’t wait to see your heart-healthy Valentine’s day fun! Together we can keep more kids moving and learning.
Walkabouts (www.walkabouts.com) are web-based lessons for pre-K to second-grade students that integrate movement with language arts, math, and reading content. Walkabouts are evidence-based, and each online adventure engages students in kinesthetic learning. With Walkabouts, you can easily support the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity per day and help keep your students’ hearts healthy during February and throughout the year!