Sample Games to Develop
Body & Directional Awareness

1.  BODY OUTLINES - One player lies down on a large sheet of brown or white wrapping (butcher) paper.  Someone then traces his body outline on the paper with pencil, crayon, or felt pen.  The body outline could be cut out.  The player then draws in and colors the outline of himself, putting in the face and other details.  The whole family or group could make their body outlines, and then hang them up for display.  This could become a birthday or Special Day tradition.  Each year, children could see how much they have grown. 

Leader asks players what parts of their bodies help them enjoy or do things.  Players answer by putting that part of their bodies into action.  A few examples are listed to get you started.

       see                                                          taste your food
      hear                                                        breathe
      smell                                                       move your arms and legs
      chew                                                       pick up small things
      throw a ball                                           bend your arm
      kick a ball                                               bend your leg

3.  DO WHAT I SAY - Leader gives fast directions for players to follow.  Any player making a mistake is out of the game.  Last remaining player becomes the new leader. 

Raise your right hand.
Lift your left leg.
Touch your right foot with your left hand.
Touch your left ear with your left hand.
Touch your right thigh with your left hand.
Touch your right eyebrow with your left hand.
Step forward on your left foot.
Hop on your right foot.

The leader can make the game more challenging by giving a series of directions that the players must remember and do in correct order. 

Act out and sing to the tune of There is a Tavern in the Town.

My head, my shoulders, knees, and toes - knees and toes.
My head, my shoulders, knees, and toes - knees and toes.
My eyes, my ears, my mouth, my nose.
My head, my shoulders, knees, and toes - knees and toes.

5.  FAST ACTIONS - Players are timed with a watch or stopwatch to see how fast they can react and complete one or more directions. 

J     Touch your nose with your left hand.

J     Touch your right ear with your right hand.

J     Touch your teeth with your right pointer finger.

J     Touch your right thumb with your right little finger.

J     Touch your tongue with your right middle finger, and then touch your right eyebrow with your left hand.

J     Touch the toes of your left foot with your right hand, and then touch your chin with your left thumb.

J     Touch your left ear with your right ring finger, and
then touch your mouth with your right pointer finger.

For older children, give several directions at a time.  Player waits until all directions are given before starting. 

Players are divided into pairs.  One partner holds his body rigid while the other partner moves the first partner's legs and feet.  The object of the game is to have the team race in this manner to a specified goal line.  It would also be interesting to have certain obstacles to cross over or objects to gather during the race.  Only one partner may voluntarily move his own muscles, the other partner must remain absolutely passive. 

7.  BLIND ACTIONS - Players close their eyes, and leader gives directions.  Leader encourages efforts and gives feedback on how each player is doing.  Take turns being leader.

  Shake your right hand.
Lift your left foot.
Touch your left ear with your right hand.
Slap your right knee.
Wiggle your left ear.
Open your left eye.
Raise your left hand.
Hop on your right foot.

A light is placed so a person's profile is shadowed on a piece of paper.  The shadow is traced and cut out. 
9.  SIMON SAYS - Players are to do whatever Simon tells them to do, but are out of the game if they do what they are told to do without the leader using the words Simon says.  Include spatial directions, such as, "Simon says to wiggle your left foot." 

Players form a circle and sing with appropriate actions, the Hokey Pokey song.

Put your right hand in,
Take your right hand out,
Put your right hand in,
And shake it all about,
You do the hokey pokey,
And you turn yourself about,
For that's what it's all about!  Whee!

(next verses)
                Put your left hand in, etc.
                Put your right foot in, etc.
                Put your left food in, etc.
                Put your right shoulder in, etc.
                Put your left shoulder in, etc.
                Put your right hip in, etc.
                Put your left hip in, etc.
                Put your front side in, etc.
                Put your back side in, etc.
                Put your whole self in, etc.
                For that's what it's all about!  Whee!  (Players collapse)

11.  THE BONES SONG - Players sing "The Bones Song" while they touch each part of the body as it is named.

Toe bone connected to the foot bone,
The foot bone connected to the heel bone,
The heel bone connected to the ankle bone,
The ankle bone connected to the leg bone,
The leg bone connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the hip bone,
The hip bone connected to the back bone,
The back bone connected to the shoulder bone,
The shoulder bone connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone connected to the head bone,
Now hear the Word of the Lord.
Them bones, them bones goin' walk 'round,
Them bones, them bones goin' walk 'round,
Now hear the Word of the Lord.

(Repeat song with bones in reversed order.)

Sing and act out to tune of Mulberry Bush.

Look at the animals in the zoo,
In the zoo, in the zoo;
All of them different things can do
And we can do them, too.

The elephant walks and sways his trunk,
Sways his trunk, sways his trunk;
The elephant walks and sways his trunk
And we can do it, too.

(Players make up more verses for other animals.) 

13.  COPYING MACHINE - One player draws a picture, then tries to have his partner be a copying machine without showing his partner the picture!  He only tells him what lines to draw in order to duplicate the original! 

Probably the most effective way to help your child develop an awareness of directionality is to include references to left, right, up, down, over, under, in front of, behind, etc. in your daily activities.  When driving in the car, ask your child which direction you should turn as you drive home or to some familiar place.  When telling your child to put something somewhere, include the spatial position you would like it placed, such as: "Put it on the left side of the shelf."  Have your child set the table with the spoons and knives on the right side of the plates, and the forks on the left side.  Reading, spelling, and math become much easier when a child has a good awareness of spatial directions.
15.  ROBOT - One player acts as master, the other as robot.  A goal is decided on, such as getting a glass of water.  The robot may do only what he is specifically told to do.  For example, to walk, the master must tell him to raise his right foot, now move it forward, set it down, now raise his left foot, etc.  The game is really funny if the robot makes sure he does only what he is told to do. 

Players form a circle, sing, and act out the Looby Loo song.

Here we go looby loo,
Here we go looby la,
Here we go looby loo
All on a Saturday night.

I put my left hand in,
I take my left hand out
I give my left hand a shake, shake, shake,
And turn myself about!  Whee!

(Other verses)
                                I put my right hand in, etc.
                                I put my left foot in, etc.
                                I put my right foot in, etc.
                                I put my own head in, etc.
                                I put my whole self in, etc.

Players could pretend they are getting ready to swim in a very icy swimming pool.

17.  TAPE WRIST - Wrap some tape around your child's dominant wrist.  If right handed, place it around the right wrist.  If left handed, place it around the left wrist.  This can help him develop a feeling for left and right.  On occasions when he seems confused about left and right, squeeze his dominant hand and tell him whether it is left or right. 

Players take turns being leader.  As the leader describes how various parts of their bodies feel, the other players must demonstrate those feelings with physical actions.  For example: 

       Your hands are very, very heavy.

       Your bones have turned to oil.

       Your toes feel like they're on fire.

       Your right side is heavy, but your left side is so light it could float away.

       The bone joints around your hips are slipping.

       There is a strong resistance to every move you try to make.

       Your left arm keeps trying to leave your body.

Instructions should include the names of the different parts of the body you want to emphasize. 

19.  TOUCH DOWN - You will need twice as many towels as players for this game.  Game is played barefoot.  Place towels of various colors and designs at random within a 5 foot square area.  Each player tells the next player in turn which foot or hand he must place on a particular towel.  Example: "Put your right hand on the green towel."  Any player losing his balance and falling down, or who can't touch down as directed is out.  Last player remaining in the game wins.  Directions could be written on cards and come up at random. 

20.  FACE OFF -
Players take turns giving direction problems to each other, such as:

What direction would you be facing if you started out facing: 

                North and turned left?
                West and turned right?
                South and turned left, then turned right?
                East and turned left, then left again?
                North and turned left, then left again, then right? 

21.  FREEZE - This is a good game for developing body and position awareness.  Players dance to music.  When the leader abruptly stops the music, everyone must freeze in the exact position he or she was in at that moment.  Anyone caught moving after the music stops is out.  Continue playing the music and stopping until only one player remains.  That player is the winner, and could be the leader for the next game. 

A large mirror on the wall offers hundreds of hours of accurate feedback to children as they see themselves play, dance, and try out various physical movements and facial expressions. 
23.  BLINDFOLD OBSTACLE COURSE - The obstacle course is set up with chairs, pillows, other players, anything you can find.  Even Mother might do.  A player is then blindfolded.  He tries to reach a selected finish line without touching any of the obstacles.  He gets a goof point for every one he does touch.  He may stop at any point along the way and take another look, but at the cost of two goof points.  Each player takes a turn.  Player receiving the fewest goofs wins.  You can vary the game by having teams of two, one of whom is blindfolded, and the other permitted to give verbal directions.  The team able to finish the course in the fastest time without earning any goof points wins. 

24.  MIMIC -
Players take turns being the leader.  Everyone tries to mimic exactly what the leader does.  He may decide to be a certain machine, like a computer, a ferocious animal, or he may decide to create some movements never before seen by man!  Players who fail to do exactly what the leader does, drop out.  Last remaining mimic wins.
25.  PENNY TAG - The player selected to be IT is given a penny.  Holding his hands behind his back, he hides the penny in one hand, then holds both fists in front of him.  All other players start the game three giant steps away.  IT calls out to any other player, who tries to guess which hand has the penny.  If he guesses incorrectly, IT can take a giant step toward him.  If the player guesses correctly, he can take a giant step away from IT.  This continues until someone is caught and becomes the new IT.  The game should be played in a restricted area with definite boundaries. 

Two players sit back-to-back on the floor with their elbows locked together.  At the starting signal, each player tries to fall over to his right.  The first player able to touch the floor with his right shoulder wins the fall.  Two out of three falls wins the game.
27.  CAREFUL THREE-LEGGED RACE - Racing partners stand side-by-side facing the same direction.  The left leg of one partner is sort of secured to the right leg of the other partner.  We mean sort of because such flimsy things as masking tape or very light string is all that holds them together.  This means the partners will have to race very carefully.  The team that crosses the finish line first with their legs still sort of tied together, wins.

28.  ROLL-A-MAN -
First, make a list of body parts to be included in the game.  Give each part a number, starting with 2 and ending with 12.  For example:

            head (2)
            neck (3)
            trunk (4)
            leg (5)
            arm (6)
            hand (7)
            foot (8)
            eye (9)
            nose (10)
            mouth (11)
            ear (12)

Include the parts of the body you feel players need highlighted.  Each player is given a blank sheet of paper and a pencil or crayon.  Players take turns rolling two dice and drawing the corresponding body parts to make their own drawings of a man.  If the player's man doesn't need the part rolled, he simply draws nothing, and it becomes the next player's turn.  First player to complete his or her man (or woman) wins.  A fun variation is to have players draw whatever is rolled even if that part isn't needed.  Each player rolls 17 times, and draws whatever comes up.  The result could be three heads, etc.  No winner, just the fun of seeing the results.

29.  SHIFT - Chairs are placed in a circle for all but one player, the caller, who stands in the center and calls out shift right or shift left.  When he calls shift right, each player must move to the chair on his right.  Shift left, each player must move to the chair on his left.  The caller can call out several shift rights and shift lefts in succession.  Every once in awhile, he tries to get a seat for himself.  When he manages to steal a seat, the player left without a chair becomes the new caller.

Spray paint a number of small linoleum tiles.  Paint half of the tiles red, the others yellow.  Place them in varying patterns on the floor or ground.  Players must follow the path by stepping on the red tiles only with their right feet, and the yellow tiles only with their left feet.