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More Warm Up Activities Lisa Kihn


  1. Everyone sits in a circle. One student starts by saying ZIG and looks at another student.
  2. That student now says ZAG while looking at another student.
  3. Now the third student says ZOP while looking at another student and pointing to them with a fully extended arm. Only ZOP has the arm motion. If a student does not move their arm on ZOP he/she must sit down.
  4. For an advanced version – speed it up. If a student hesitates he/she is out.


Requires a soft ball or a bean bag that is easy to catch.

  1. Ask students to stand in a circle and one at a time toss the ball to each other.
  2. They can choose the order, but everyone should receive the ball only once.
  3. The last person should throw the ball back to the person who began the tossing.
  4. Time them and see if they can do it faster each time.
  5. Try to break your “speed” record.
  6. This game stresses teamwork and concentration.


  1. Ask students to silently line up from the youngest to the oldest.
  2. They should not use any words, but come up with other ways to figure out everyone’s ages, i.e. hand signs.
  3. If many students are the same age, they will need to figure out how to find out birthdays – also silently.


Requires paper and pencil.

  1. Say “When I tell you to begin, I want you to draw a pig. You have 30 seconds – GO”
  2. Time them for 30 seconds and then ask them to put their pencils down.
  3. Ask them to look around the room at all the drawings and then partner-up with a person who has drawn their pig in a similar way.


  1. With your partner spend three minutes talking to each other to find 3 things that you have in common. Talk fast.
  2. Time them for three minutes. (They may come up with food, books, activities they both like, sports they both play or they may have the same number of brothers or sisters, etc)
  3. When the time is up have them introduce each other to the rest of the class and include the things they had in common.

At the end, you may also observe the things the whole class had in common or were very similar.



Requires a large circle of rope and a ring.

  1. Students form a circle sitting on the floor/ground.
  2. Each student puts both hands on a large circle of rope.
  3. One student stands in the middle.
  4. The goal of the game is for the students in the circle to pass the ring (passed through the rope) around the circle using their hands and a rhythm so that the person in the center doesn’t see where the ring is.
  5. Students can get a rhythm going by counting “1..2, 1..2” “oooh, aaah” or “School is cool”
  6. As they are chanting, their hands come together on one word and go out on the other and they are passing the ring around the whole time.
  7. Students should all practice this.
  8. Choose one student to go to the center and watch carefully. After a little while say “stop” and the person in the middle tries to guess who has the ring.
  9. They should have several tries.
  10. At any point a new person can go to the middle.


You need a deck of cards and some spoons (plastics will do fine).

  1. Students sit on the floor to play.
  2. Deal 4 cards to each person.
  3. Put enough spoons for each person in the center of the circle – MINUS ONE
  4. Everyone in the circle wants to collect four of a kind.
  5. The dealer takes a card from the top of the remaining deck and decides whether or not to keep it.
  6. If the dealer wants to keep the card…they choose another card from their hand to pass to the left.
  7. The person to the right passes their unwanted card to the person to their left (all the way around the circle)
  8. The dealer continues to draw from the deck and pass on unwanted cards until someone gets four of a kind.
  9. As soon as someone has four of a kind, they take a spoon (in a very unsuspecting way) from the center of the circle.
  10. When the rest of the group notices a spoon is gone…everyone grabs a spoon…the person who does not get a spoon gets an “S.”
  11. If a person gets all the letters in the word “SPOONS” they lose the game.

Do you have a question or comment about this article? Send Lisa an e-mail.


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