Resource 3: Using games and physical exercise

Background information / subject knowledge for teacher

Physical exercise serves many functions. As we know, it helps children build up their strength and fitness. But it can also help pupils to develop social, creative and leadership skills. It can help pupils make friends and learn new things, and it contributes to their emotional well-being.

Think about the range of different physical games and exercises there are:

  • sports e.g. football, wrestling;
  • play e.g. skipping, dancing, tag;
  • word and number games e.g. singing, rhymes.

Children will automatically invent and play games with each other and you can exploit this as part of your teaching.

The use of physical games and exercises as part of your teaching can encourage pupils to enjoy learning, and so develop a greater interest in coming to school.

By using physical games as part of your teaching, you will also encourage pupils to learn new skills and behaviour patterns.

These can include:

  • collaborative learning;
  • thinking skills;
  • sharing resources and taking turns;
  • motivation and involvement in learning.

All of these are attributes you should encourage in the classroom, as they will contribute to more effective learning.

Below you will find some examples of Nigerian games that use physical exercise.



To have ‘it’ determine who ‘baby’ is.


Sticks, stones, pebbles, chalk, or anything else that can be used to trace an outline.

Number of players:

3 to many


One player is chosen as ‘it’, and that person hides. The other players choose a player to be ‘baby’.

‘Baby’ lies down, and the other players outline him/her with the materials.

‘Baby’ rejoins the other players.

‘It’ is called out from hiding, and tries to determine who ‘baby’ is, based on the outline on the ground.

If ‘it’ guesses right, he or she gets another turn. Otherwise, another player is chosen to be ‘it’.



To have all the players involved as part of the ‘snake’.


None, however you can mark off boundaries to indicate the playing area.

Number of players:

3 to many


One player is chosen to be head of the snake.

This ‘snake head’ tries to catch another player, and once they do, that other player becomes the ‘snake tail’ and they hold hands.

The ‘snake head’ and ‘snake tail’ chase the other players, and tagging them from either end, thus making a new head or a new tail as another player is caught.

The game continues until all the players are part of the ‘snake’.



To be the last player who can jump the beanbag.


Rope, a beanbag or another sack of some sort

Number of players:

5 to many


Tie the rope around the sack, leaving enough rope to swing the sack around.

Choose a player to be the ‘swinger’ (the ‘swinger’ will need to be able to swing the beanbag around on the ground, either with their foot or with their hand).

The other players form a circle around the ‘swinger’. The ‘swinger’ swings the rope close to the ground. Each player must jump over it before it reaches them.

If the rope hits a player, that player is out of the game. The game continues until there is only one player left standing, and that player is the winner.


The length of the rope can be varied.

The speed the ‘swinger’ uses can be varied.



To catch another team’s ‘tail’.


Handkerchiefs or scarves. Also, you can mark off boundaries to indicate the playing area.

Number of players:

4 to many


The players divide into teams.

Each team forms a chain. Each of the end players (for both ends) of each chain dangles a handkerchief or scarf from their pocket or belt.

The first person in line leads a team in the chase, and tries to catch a ‘tail’ from one of the other teams.

A team wins when they catch a ‘tail’ from another team.

Resource 2: Planning ways to introduce the four principles of physical development

Resource 4: How Mr Ogunlade taught his lesson