Cardio PE Games
By Catherine Morris
The month of February is all about hearts, and not just because of Valentine’s Day. It’s also Heart Health Awareness Month—and that’s definitely something Marathon Kids can get behind. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and inactivity is a major risk factor in developing heart problems over time.
Fortunately, there is good news: Building heart-healthy habits from a young age can substantially reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. And at Marathon Kids, we’re all about the many benefits of daily heart-pumping physical activity! Research shows that daily physical activity not only improves kids’ cardiovascular health, it also boosts their mood, focus, behavior, and even academic performance. In short, being active every day improves kids’ entire well-being.
To help you get your students’ hearts pumping around Valentine’s Day, we’ve created a Cardio PE Games BINGO card that can be used as a Valentine's Day PE Game, classroom brain break activity, or several options for cardio PE activities and gross motor activities.
Here’s what to know about the Cardio PE Games:
Coaches can use the Marathon Kids Connect platform to track their students’ laps by scanning QR codes or manually giving credit for their daily active minutes. Remember, the Marathon Kids program counts 20 minutes of heart-pumping activity as equal to one mile.
Don't have an account to make physical activity tracking easy? Create your account here.
1. Heart Facts
These are great opportunities for kids to learn about how the heart works. Knowledge is power, and knowing about the essential role their hearts play in their bodies empowers kids to prioritize heart-healthy habits and choices.
2. Heart-Pumping Activity of Your Choice
These BINGO squares can be anything you or your students choose to get hearts pumping. Think fun cardio-inspired games, skipping, jumping, hula-hooping, completing an obstacle course—anything goes!
(Need some inspiration? Check out our free PE resources for fun PE games ideas!)
3. Heart Tabata
If you know about high-intensity interval training, our Heart Tabata activity will sound familiar. That’s because at heart (see what we did, there?), Tabata is a form of HIIT workout. Be sure to grab a timer for this one; Tabata involves cycles of 20 seconds of activity alternating with 10 seconds of rest.
To complete one Heart Tabata square on the BINGO card, students will perform two activities, repeating these activity-and-rest cycles five times each, for five minutes total.
(We provide two moves, but your students can switch those up with other favorites! Mountain climbers, burpees, push-ups, squats, jumping-jacks, lunges—any gross motor activity that gets hearts pounding will work.)
4. Treat Your Heart Right
Kids will walk or run for a set number of minutes to complete this cardio PE activity square. You determine the number of minutes for this activity. Be sure to customize your tracks and activities within the digital platform so you capture either the laps completed by scanning the Runner ID cards or give manual credit for the minutes completed.
This quick activity guides kids through monitoring their own heart rates before and after exercise. Seeing the jump in heart rate helps them begin to make the connection between energy and exertion. This is a great and simple lesson to show we use energy to move our bodies—energy that is generated by our hearts.
6. Heart Beat It
This makes a great warm-up to start off a running session or workout. It’s also a fun movement interval at any time—even just to shake off the sillies in the middle of class! To complete this BINGO square, play Freeze Dance or simply move their bodies in any way they choose to the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. This one’s guaranteed to get kids smiling, and their hearts pumping!
(See! Cardio PE games do not only have to be running games!)
As your students work their way through the BINGO card, be sure to use the Marathon Kids Connect platform to track their miles and/or active minutes!
7. (Optional) Run a Report
Once kids complete the BINGO card, coaches can pull a Grade Leaderboard report using the date range feature to show how many miles your students accumulated during this challenge!
This report is great for increasing motivation and engagement, as it shows kids how much they can accomplish in just a short time and that their individual effort contributes to their class, grade, and club totals.
Teachers and coaches can use the reporting feature to create their own challenges for their students within the Marathon Kids digital platform and use it to track kids’ progress and celebrate their success.
Make Marathon Kids Your School's PE Partner