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Looking for PE agility games to help you and your kids develop strength, speed, balance and bodily control? If so, you’re on a smart track. Agility is all about thinking fast under shifting conditions, and being quick and agile on your feet—important skills for people of all ages to develop in this modern and rapidly changing world. And we’ve got you covered!

Here are six fun PE agility games that you and your family can play at home, either indoors or outdoors. If your children play sports, they’ll definitely benefit from these activities—but everyone can benefit from increasing their facility with pivoting quickly, adapting to new conditions and heading in a different direction.

One of the best things about these games? Your kids won’t even realize they’re getting moderate to vigorous physical exercise as they play—they’re that much fun! If your children are school-aged, they might already be familiar with several of the following games—which means before you know it, they’ll be tweaking the rules and customizing the activities to make them even more dynamic.

Wacky Weave

Set out cones—or canned goods, stuffed animals or whatever else you have on hand—to create an obstacle course for kids to weave their way through. The closer together you place the cans or cones, the harder it is; the farther you place them apart, the easier it becomes (which can be an important adaptation for children who are younger, less balanced or less stable on their feet). Use a stopwatch to time their progress so each kid can compete against themselves, trying to best their own times. They can also dribble or kick a ball through the course for added challenge.

Agility Ladder

Set up your own agility ladder by marking off squares in a line indoors with masking tape or with chalk on the driveway or sidewalk. Then let children determine their own activities and rules: Will they hop on one foot in each square, or alternate feet while skipping every other square? Will they hop into the first square on both feet, the second square on just their left foot, and so on? Kids love making up their own sequences. You’ll be amazed at how many different ways they can figure out to use a simple ladder drawn on the ground!

Crazy Hoops

Set out colored hula hoops or use different colors of sidewalk chalk to draw large circles on the driveway, and have children jump from one circle to the next according to the colors called out by the leader. If you have several children playing at once who are all of similar abilities, you can mix it up (and make it competitive) by seeing who can process directions and leap into the right circle first. The last one in must jump rope or do pushups on the sidelines for the next round.

Fit-Tac-Toe

This game can be played as a warm-up or as the main event, and there are many different ways to structure it. Set out hula hoops in the pattern of a tic-tac-toe grid (three rows of three), or use chalk or tape to mark out a large tic-tac-toe grid on the ground. Children can play a traditional tic-tac-toe relay game by forming two lines a certain distance away from the grid. Each line is a team, and everyone on a team is given a shirt, bean bag or whatever items you have on hand, all of the same color. The first players from each line run to the grid, drop their items into their chosen section of the grid and then run back, so the next players can take their turns. It’s also fun to play a rousing game of fit-tac-to by giving kids set activities to perform, depending on which section of the grid they choose to run to—such as hopping, doing lunges, doing pushups, dancing or performing high-kicks.

Jump the Noodle

Children can play this in pairs or groups with a pool noodle: One holds the noodle close to the ground and swipes it back and forth, while the other players try to jump over it a set number of times without touching the noodle. The person holding the noodle can choose to speed it up, make it choppy, or otherwise switch things up so the jumpers must think quickly on their feet.

Sneak Attack

This game works best with several players, and requires at least three. Two or more players hold hands, facing one another, while one player outside the circle darts around, trying to grab a scarf (or colored shirt, stuffed animal or other item) that is tucked into one of the circle players’ back pockets. The players forming the circle together try not to drop hands as they twist and pivot together, turning the scarf-bearer away in order to protect the precious item. This activity builds teamwork skills along with agility—and, of course, it gives everyone a fit of the giggles.

More Free Resources

ABOUT MARATHON KIDS

Marathon Kids is on a mission to get kids moving. The nonprofit organization offers free physical education programming through Marathon Kids Connect, a cloud-based PE and run club management platform that includes a mobile app for digital activity-tracking. 

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Life is feeling unpredictable these days, with the unprecedented novel coronavirus pandemic causing widespread changes across the country and the world. School closures and bans on large gatherings are affecting everyone, including children. With organized sports also being canceled in many areas for the foreseeable future, kids have less daily structure and fewer outlets for their energy.

Regular physical activity has been proven to help alleviate anxiety in both children and adults, so in times like these, staying active is more important than ever. Fortunately, we have lots of great resources and suggestions for ways to keep your kids active at home—including running and walking, two of the most basic ways to move our bodies (and our favorite ones!).

Remember that positive modeling from the important adults in their lives helps children of all ages. Translation: Parents being active with their kids benefits everyone involved! Tackling physical activity as a family will help your children make moving their bodies a lifetime healthy habit, and will help you stay physically and mentally healthy as well.

Free Resources to Get The Whole Family Moving Today

Mileage Log (available in both English and Spanish): Kids and adults can use these logs to track their cumulative mileage on family walks or runs. You can set a goal of covering a marathon (26.2 miles) or more over the next three weeks, and work toward it together!

Walk and Talk Conversation Starters (available in both English and Spanish): Turn family walks around the neighborhood into quality connection time with your kids with our free conversation starters. These wide-ranging topics and questions are designed to stimulate fascinating conversations with kids of all ages (and as you walk and talk, you’re covering miles to check off on your mileage log!).

Fun Warm-Ups: Before you start walking or running with your kids, don’t forget to warm up your bodies first! These activities are guaranteed to make both children and adults giggle as they get their blood pumping.

Running Games: These games require little to no equipment and are a good time for kids (and kids-at-heart) of all ages. They’re a great way to switch things up and keep exercise fun for everyone.

Cool Down and Stretching Ideas: After you work out, it’s always smart to cool down slowly to prevent injuries. Stretch your muscles as a family and show your children how to prepare for the next workout.

More Fun Ways to Keep Your Kids Active at Home, Both Indoors and Outdoors

The following are five more fun (and free!) ways to keep your kids active at home during the coming weeks:

Family dance parties: Turn on some music or watch videos of your favorite tunes and dance it out with the whole family.

Balloon volleyball: Younger kids might love this one best, but people of all ages can get into the laughing fun of working together to keep a balloon aloft. Try to pass it to each other often as you keep it from touching the ground for as long as possible.

Mazes and obstacle courses: These can be set up inside the house or out in the yard, and can involve everyday items you have at home—couch cushions, sheets hung up as “walls,” stuffed animals, living room furniture and so on. Be sure to include your kids in the devising of the course, to engage their imaginations and problem-solving abilities along with their muscles as they navigate over, under, around and through to the finish line.

Family strolls, runs, and races: Along with exercise, fresh air and sunshine also have both mental and physical health benefits. Head outside with the family to walk or jog around the neighborhood, or go for a hike in a nearby, natural space. If you’re wanting to stay close to home, you can do short runs in the backyard or even up and down a hallway inside your home; mark off lines at each end of the space for runners to lean down and touch before returning as quickly as possible to the start.

Interval stations: Set up centers in the house or yard where each family member can perform predetermined physical activities for 30–60 seconds at a time before switching to the next station. Jumping rope, Burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, squats, wall-sits, plyometric jumps, push-ups and running in place are all great options for both kids and adults to stay fit.

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Twice a week, the Kolter Cross Country runners meet up at their school’s recess field to run laps. Sponsored by Texas-based grocery store chain H-E-B, this Marathon Kids run club at Kolter Elementary School in Houston has over 100 students participating, ranging from second-graders through fifth-graders. “The club is very popular,” says Coach Tammy Parker. “Kids want to join so much that I have to limit enrollment so I can manage the group.”

Weather permitting, the students run for 45 to 50 minutes each time they meet and cover at least two miles at a time. Top students at each grade level cover three to four miles per run club practice; one fifth-grader can get in five miles during the allotted time.

Coach Parker has been involved with Marathon Kids for years, coaching run clubs at several different schools in the Houston area. Before Hurricane Harvey tore through the region in 2017, she’d used a tracking system to log students’ miles that was expensive and not user-friendly, and found it difficult to keep track of both mileage and attendance. She’s found the Marathon Kids digital lap-tracking app, which was launched at the start of the 2019–2020 run club season, to be “a lifesaver. It’s easy and saves me so much time.”

She uses her cell phone to scan students’ ID cards at every lap, and assigns student managers or volunteer parents to help scan IDs with an iPad. “Marathon Kids has created a wonderful option that’s so user friendly. Being able to scan each lap also motivates the kids when I update the runner reports. They are motivated by the tracking system too.”

For Young Runners, Motivation Is Key

Coach Parker has noticed her students’ internal motivation is typically a strong motivating force. “Kids have an internal desire to do more—to go one more lap,” she says. The Kolter Cross Country students are eager to reach each new milestone as they progress through the year. “Most of them are pretty enthusiastic when it comes to competition, whether it’s beating their own goals or their peers’. One family has twins, a boy and a girl, who have a sibling rivalry over who’s got the most miles and who’s going to beat whom. The kids are motivated!”

She says her run club students understand that the more active they are, the healthier they become. They know they are establishing healthy habits that they’ll be able to carry forward through the rest of their lives. “I can tell they have a sense of pride in themselves for accomplishing the goals they set.” Their parents email Coach Parker regularly with messages expressing amazement and appreciation for the run club and its benefits: “They write, ‘I would have never thought my kid would be so excited about running.’”

Still, there are tough days for every runner, when motivation runs low. On those days, Coach Parker says, her students rely on each other to keep going. “Most students have a running buddy there to help push them along. Others are self-motivated and prefer to run alone.” Sometimes, when the students’ energy or engagement seems to be flagging, Coach Parker will have an impromptu grade-level lap competition to get them moving. She also posts the students’ progress by grade level each week, “so they can see how many laps or miles they have completed. It keeps them focused on earning the next prize.”

The Benefits Of Running Are Physical, Mental And Emotional

Coach Parker didn’t enjoy running as a child. “Running was always a punishment during athletics when I was growing up. I didn’t develop my love of running until my mid-thirties. A friend asked me if I wanted to start running with her, and I’ve been hooked since.” She decided to become a Marathon Kids run club coach because “I wanted to teach my students that running can be fun, and something you can do throughout your life to stay fit and healthy.”

She has noticed many benefits, both for her students and herself. Some students who have struggled with weight issues have grown fitter and leaner through their participation in Marathon Kids. “It has given my students a safe space to exercise,” Coach Parker says. “Many parents that work late are unable to exercise with their children. I have students that say it gives them a break before they have to do homework.”

Coach Parker is grateful for the opportunity the run club has given her to get to know her students better. She’s also grateful to her love of running for helping her cope during hard times in her own life. “Physical activity and running helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life. I lost my mother to stage-four pancreatic cancer in November 2015. My morning or afternoon runs helped me so much mentally and physically. It was an opportunity to process things and provided me with a healthy way to grieve.”

Thinking Of Starting A Marathon Kids Run Club? Coach Parker Says Go For It 

For others who are considering starting a Marathon Kids run club or becoming a coach, Coach Parker has two enthusiastic thumbs-up: “Do it!!! If you start it, the kids will come. The lap tracking through Marathon Kids is so user-friendly. The pros far outweigh any cons I can come up with. It has been awesome watching my kids develop a deeper love for running.”

ABOUT MARATHON KIDS

Marathon Kids is on a mission to get kids moving. The nonprofit organization offers free physical education programming through Marathon Kids Connect, a cloud-based PE and run club management platform that includes a mobile app for digital activity-tracking. 

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Kristi Seybert, a PE, Health/Wellness and Athletics teacher at Young Women’s Leadership Academy in Midland, Texas, was first introduced to Marathon Kids at a physical education conference in 2018. “I had always wanted to start a running club, and when I learned about Marathon Kids, I was very interested.”

She was also drawn to Marathon Kids for its grant opportunities. Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLA), which opened in fall 2019, will eventually expand to become a sixth- through 12th-grade campus, but it currently serves girls in sixth and seventh grades from diverse backgrounds. Coach Seybert knew funding would be key in starting a run club for her students.

The run club at YWLA, called Sole Sisters, is sponsored by popular Texas grocery store chain H-E-B. There are currently 162 students enrolled at YWLA, and every student participates in Sole Sisters at some level. Most run on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, typically covering from one to three miles at a time.

YWLA is a Midland ISD school of choice focusing on college preparatory academics, leadership development through community service, and health and wellness, and all students are required to take a Health & Wellness class each semester. “During these classes,” says Coach Seybert, “students also have the opportunity to earn mileage on certain days. With both of these opportunities, we have one hundred percent of students participating.”

Keeping Students Motivated And Engaged

Coach Seybert logs all her students’ miles and keeps records of the milestones they reach. “Our students really enjoy running, and I love providing the opportunity for students that do not come from a fitness background.” She hosts two run club challenges to tap into her students’ natural competitive sides and keep them engaged. “One of the challenges is Sixth Graders versus Seventh Graders, and we keep track of their total miles. The second contest is between homeroom classes. We have a thermometer-style meter for each homeroom, and we add miles each day and keep track of the class that is in the lead.”

Another way in which she keeps students’ morale high is by displaying their names and photos on a poster hung in the gym when they complete their first marathons. Students at YWLA wear uniforms, but when they reach big milestones, Coach Seybert encourages them to wear their Marathon Kids shirts to school to show off their achievements.

The Importance Of Physical Activity For Children

Coach Seybert believes physical activity is a vital part of children’s development because it lays the foundation for a healthy and active life. “Learning and understanding the benefits of exercise helps to promote healthy growth and development,” she says. “This type of activity will help children to achieve and maintain healthy weight, and build strong bones and muscles.”

The most important change she has seen in her students since the start of the run club season? “Their increased self-confidence. Running a marathon is such a huge task, but when we break it down, it’s not so overwhelming.” The Marathon Kids program is structured to scaffold children’s running over time, with student runners attempting to cover four full marathons, or 104.8 miles, over the course of the run club season, one mile at a time. “This helps students set a goal and reach it,” says Coach Seybert.

For other physical educators who are interested in starting a run club or are simply looking for new ways to challenge their students and themselves, she offers this: “I would ask that every Physical Education Teacher give Marathon Kids a try. It is easy to do, and the support is amazing.”