Back-to-school games for mind and body

Summer vacation is coming to an end, and kids are heading back to school. You (and your kids) have probably been preparing for the new school year—whether that means buying new school supplies and textbooks or brushing up on math or reading skills.

Just because you’re getting ready for school doesn’t mean you can’t have fun; while there might be less free time and time outdoors, you can still keep up with fun physical activities!

We found a few ways to ease the transition back to school, so here are three fun games that will help stimulate the brain AND the body. Try playing these games with your kids to help them brush up on their math and reading!


  1. Write each letter of the alphabet on pieces of paper and scatter them on the floor.
  2. Assign exercises to each letter of the alphabet (A – act like a monkey, B – bounce up and down, C – chair pose, D – do a little dance, etc.)
  3. Walk from letter to letter, in any order, and do the exercise assigned to the letter
  4. For an extra challenge, ask your kids to spell out a word that starts with the letter before they do the exercise

Deck of Cards

  1. Grab a complete deck of cards; assign an exercise to each suit (i.e., diamonds = sit-ups, hearts = jumping jacks, etc.)
  2. Turn the deck face down and pick a card at random from the deck without looking
  3. The number of the card equals the number of each exercise you and your kids should do (i.e., if you pull a 5 of diamonds, then you do 5 sit-ups)*
  4. Repeat until you finish the entire deck

*For an added challenge, you can pick two cards and practice math by adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing the two numbers before you do the exercise

Mini Mathlete

  1. On a whiteboard, flashcards, or pieces of paper, write down math equations for your kid to solve.
    You can test them on basics, like addition, subtraction, or multiplication. Just make sure the questions are based on their skill level, and each answer should be a number.
  2. Before answering the question, assign an exercise activity to each question.
    The activity can be push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, squats—you name it! So if the answer is 5, then you and your kid will do 5 repeats of the activity. Or if you want to incorporate running, you can run for a slow count of 5, or even 5 minutes if you’re and your child are in shape for it
  3. Answer the questions, and have fun!


Photo courtesy of Central Florida Monthly

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