Fitness can be fun, particularly when your participants think that they are playing a game. Most don’t realize the many health benefits they are achieving as they are focused on the fun. This game gets all participants involved and has something for everyone, so that each child can feel successful in a physical education class. Fitness Monopoly gives students an opportunity to experience all aspects of physical fitness—muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular strength/endurance and flexibility. By offering all of these different types of exercises, every child will have a chance to be successful.
Fitness Monopoly is most effective with students in 3rd to 8th grades, but adults can have fun with this game, too! Younger students can play, but you will need to choose the exercises more carefully. You will also need to have more preparation time for younger students so that they may understand the exercises in the game more readily.
Game Pieces Needed for Fitness Monopoly:
A pair of dice (large fuzzy ones add to the fun!)
20–30 carpet squares or mats
20–30 index cards (laminate them if possible) with various exercises written on them
Prior to Play:
Choose several exercises that you will want the children to perform. Make sure that they are age/skill appropriate. Include cardiovascular exercises (jumping jacks, front-back scissors jump, leap over the carpet square), strength exercises (squats, crunches, push-ups), and body-mind exercises (tree pose, standing footwork). Write these on the index cards. If you would like, you may assign a rep range for certain exercises, but it is not necessary.
Include several Chance and a Community Chest index card for students to choose when they land on those spaces (similar to the Monopoly board game). The Chance cards can all be cardiovascular exercises and the Community Chest cards can all be balance/core exercises.
Make a Free Parking card – the featured exercise will be the Chair Pose (to promote alignment, body awareness, balance and strength).
Make a Go to Jail card – the featured exercise will be jogging around the game board (to promote cardiovascular strength/stamina).
Make a Just Visiting card – the featured exercise will be Seated Twist (to promote core strength/flexibility).
Make a Go card – the featured exercise will be Dancer (to promote balance).
Set the Stage:
- Place your cones as the 4 corners of your game board.
- Between each cone, place the desired number of carpet squares or mats (for example, 7 squares).
- Under each square, place one of your index cards featuring an exercise. Don’t forget to put your 2 special squares in (Chance and Community Chest) It is OK to repeat exercises on your board (for example, you may include 2 or 3 cards that feature push-ups).
- Place cards on your cones for Free Parking, Go to Jail, Just Visiting and Bank.
- Warm up your students by walking them through the various exercises you have hidden around the board.
- Explain the rules of the game. These may vary by class (age, size of class, skill level).
- Explain the special spaces of Chance and Community Chest and how the student will choose from the special deck you’ve created for each of those cards. For fun, have ALL the students perform these exercises together as a team, in addition to the exercise listed on their card.
Let the Games Begin!
- Begin by having each student stand on a square (or cone). They are not allowed to peek at the card (or they will Go Directly to Jail!).
- You can be the initial dice roller (and then assign this task to the student who lands on the Bank square).
- Each student must move clockwise, advancing the number of squares that appears on the dice.
- On your mark, they can look at their card and begin their individual exercise. You can set this for any amount of time you wish (30 seconds) or abide by an assigned rep range.
- If someone has landed on a special space, they can select a card from the Chance or Community Chest deck and ALL the students perform that exercise together as a team.
- The game continues for the alotted amount of time.
- Finish the class by offering a variety of stretches (along with education on why certain exercises were included, and all the benefits that may have come from the workout game today).
And the Winner Is…
The winner is ALL the students. Through play and a variety of movements, all students have a chance to shine and feel successful. You may also want to bring stickers or make ribbons or certificates honoring all the students. Remember to reward for effort and participation, never basing your reward on performance. You must foster an environment that is non-competitive.
Fitness Monopoly also works well with adults!
Exercise Suggestions for Game Cards (you are limited only by your imagination!):
High Knee Lifts
Supine Hip Bridge
Cha-Cha-Cha (or Pony)
Hip Abduction (either lying or standing)
Chance Cards (Cardiovascular)
Criss-Cross Legs (squat)
Quick Side Lunges with Cardio Punches
3 Punches/Jump Turn
Pulse Squat 3x Jump Up
Community Chest Cards (Core/Balance)
All-4s Opposite Arm/Leg
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