Cooperative Play Activity For Kids

Ever felt like your lesson has gotten away from you? When exactly did the plan stray from a diagram of flower parts to a story about the time your student’s mom left the milk in the back seat of the car for two days, stinking it up like a dirty gym sock. What is happening?

When attention wiggles and wanes it can be easy for classroom conversations to get derailed. It might be time for a cooperative play activity.

This quick and fun activity gives students a chance to stretch their bones while also tuning back into the lesson and each other. By using their senses to carefully observe and pass along sounds and actions, Pass It On reigns in communication through cooperative physical and social engagement. Prep-free and ready on a whim, students will enjoy the challenge of keeping the pace steady as a team.

Recommended Grade Level: Elementary and Middle

SEL Skill(s): Communication, Cooperation

Duration: 30 minutes

Materials: None

Cooperative Play Activity Instructions

Prompt: Gather students in a circle and tell them they will play a game of Pass It On. They will need to pay close attention to the action of the round and try to keep the rhythm going from one classmate to the next as they “pass” along the movement.

Say: We need to pay attention to what we each are communicating and make sure we cooperate in order to take our turn when the time is right to keep things moving. Be careful not to go too soon, and watch and listen carefully for when you’re “up.”

Play: Pass actions along the circle, following the directions. Here are a few ideas:

  • Clap
  • Stomp
  • Click tongue
  • Wink
  • Join hands and pass a gentle squeeze around

Variations: You can add your own twist to the actions, and even invite students to make up their own. For a challenge, try to reverse the action, sending it back all the way to the start.

This quick brain break can be accessed over and over again to reel things in when the classroom feels out of control.

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