Fun Warm Up Games for Kids

By Wanda Thibodeaux

Updated September 22, 2017

Simple games get kids moving and provide lots of fun.
i running girl image by Mat Hayward from

Kids naturally have a lot of energy and like to run around and physically play. This is a normal part of child development. Even so, even children need to pay attention to how they prepare their bodies for physical work. Otherwise, they can face problems such as muscle cramps or strain on the heart. Warm-up games give kids a fun and appropriate way to ease into physical exercise.

Traffic Lights

Everyday objects can inspire children's games.
i traffic light image by Jeffrey Zalesny from

Kids are in cars or on buses nearly every day, and they like to imitate adults. Traffic Lights, a traditional kids' warm up game listed, takes advantage of this. In the simplest version of the game, the leader calls out "red," "green" or "yellow." The kids stop, slow down and proceed normally with movements such as running or skipping based on the leader's calls. The leader also can call out variations such as "entering roundabout" (the child turns), "rain" (the child waves arms like windshield washers) and "reverse" (the child performs his movement backwards).

Germ Tag

Germ Tag is a game from in which kids have to avoid getting "sick." Four balls--two of green and two of red--are needed. Red represents "germs." Green represents "medicine." The leader hands the colored balls out to four children. The remaining children walk, skip, jump or run around in a marked-off square of space while the kids with the "germ" balls try to catch them. If a child gets touched by a "germ," they have to flail on the ground to signal for "medicine." The "doctors" with the red balls then come and tag the kids on the ground to get them back in play. The leader of the game should pause the game periodically (about every two minutes) to give other kids a chance to have the green and red balls. Because each game is designed to be short, any type of movement may be used.

Spiders and Scorpions

Divide the group of children in half. Half the kids will crawl on all fours with their backs in the air. They are the "scorpions." The other half of the kids move on all fours with their stomachs facing the ceiling. They are the "spiders." The "scorpions" chase the "spiders" and try to "sting" them by tagging them. If a "spider" is "stung," they have to lie on the ground. suggests spicing the game up by having one or two "spiders" who can provide an "anecdote." Another option is to have some kids be "birds," who can tag the "scorpions," but who are susceptible to "spider bites."