Physical activity breaks: Keep It Up

Looking for a quick, fun physical activity break for youth or adults? Keep it Up is the answer.

The ability to include physical activity breaks in classrooms and meetings is one of the greatest facilitation skills you can use to keep your audience’s attention. Incorporating 5-10 minutes of physical activity every 60 minutes throughout a meeting will have a strong impact on your audience’s knowledge retention and will encourage more positive thinking. A great activity that is entertaining, fun and great for all ages is a game called “Keep It Up.”

Keep It Up can be done sitting down, standing up, laying on your back or however you prefer. This activity is also extremely low cost as all you need is some balloons, which you can buy at a dollar store or most general stores.  

Directions (this activity can be used for individuals, groups or pairs)

  1. One person starts holding the balloon and taps it with any part of their body to send the balloon to another person.
  2. Continue to tap the balloon around the group or back and forth, keeping it up in the air.
  3. Try not to let the balloon hit the floor.

Adaptions

Easier:

  • Use a larger balloon.
  • Have participants sit in chairs and closer together.

Harder:

  • Use a smaller balloon or heavier balloon/ball.
  • Add two to five balloons at once.
  • Add a movement after a participant touches the balloon. For example, after you touch the balloon you have to do two squats before you can touch the balloon again.
  • Make restrictions such as participants only being allowed to use their feet to keep the balloon up.

My favorite thing about this activity is that it can very easily be modified to be used with audiences that have limitations or disabilities. Michigan State University Extensions program instructors use this activity in youth and adult special education classes, as well as with senior participants to help with their range of motion. For more information about physical activity breaks and how you can use them read, “Pump up your classroom and meetings with physical activity breaks.”

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