Cool-Down Activities

Cool-down activities focus on slow movements and stretching, allowing the heart rate to return to normal after vigorous activity. Use full body stretches to work on improved flexibility. Cool-down activities also help to prepare the children for the transition back into the classroom setting. Use the following activities to gradually slow down movement and provide a period of relaxation. Take long, slow, deep breaths during the cool-down.

Side Arm Circles

  •  While marching on the spot, raise arms out from the sides of the body to shoulder height.
    • Now slowly circle arms forward 8 –10 times and backward 8 – 10 times.

Circles in the Sky

  • While marching on the spot, children raise arms overhead.
  • Children pretend they are drawing circles in the sky. Children keep arms overhead and draw a variety of shapes.

Climb the Ladder

  • Children stand with feet slightly apart.
  • Move arms and legs up and down as if climbing a ladder to the sky.
  • Climb a ladder for 20 – 30 steps.

On-the-Spot Follow the Leader

  • Choose a leader to lead some slow, cool-down movements:
    • Walk on the spot, moving arms in a gentle swinging motion.
    • Touch shoulders with hands, then reach up over head. Repeat five times.
    • Skip slowly on the spot.
    • Skip side to side.
    • Jump or hop on the spot.

Slow March

  • March slowly on the spot, keeping knees low and gently swinging the arms for 15 counts.

Skating on the Spot

  • While standing on the spot, imitate a skating motion by extending the right then left leg away from the body at a back/side angle.
  • Swing the arms.
  • Continue this skating motion for 15 – 20 counts.
  • Variation: children can “skate” around the gym either by pretending to have skates or by standing on scrap paper, and using the paper as skates.

Deep Breaths and Hug

  • Slowly take a deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. Repeat three times.
  • Wrap arms around shoulders and give self a big hug and a pat on the back.

Low Kicks

  • A variation of walking on the spot, with children alternating their feet in low forward kicks.
  • Slowly swing arms by sides.

Tree in the Wind

  • Stand with both arms overhead, feet placed wide apart, and knees slightly bent.
  • Gently wave arms from side to side and forward like a tree in the wind.

Slow Leak

  • Stand, arms circled over their heads, pretending to be a great big balloon.
  • Pretend there is a hole in the balloon and the air is slowly leaking out.
  • Move slowly downward to the floor, until the balloon has no more air.

Digging in Your Heels

  • Stand with one foot forward, pressing heel into the floor and raising toes up.
  • Continue this movement while alternating feet, swinging arms in a strolling movement.

Action Stories

  • Tell a story with actions that the children can do.
    • Some Theme Suggestions:
      • Rainstorm coming and then leaving, with fingers and hands tapping the floor in beat to the intensity of the rain.
      • Walk through the forest, listening to the birds and the wind in the trees.
      • Visit to a planet in outer space, exploring new terrain.

Strolling on the Spot

  • Begin by standing on the spot. Stroll one step forward, then one step back, one step forward, then one step back gently swinging arms by sides. Do not raise arms above waist. Continue “strolling” on the spot for 20 – 30 counts.

Bubble Gum Game

  • Children pretend to be a piece of bubble gum that is being chewed.
  • Children expand like a bubble blowing up, then “pop”, the bubble breaks!

Body Shake

  • Gently shake one arm, the other, both.
  • Shake one leg, the other, both, head, hips, whole body.