Play Soft, Play Hard


To circle the room until the music stops, at which point players go to the nearest activity card and act out that activity when the music plays again.This game demonstrates the difference between low to moderate intensity activities and vigorous activities.

Prepartion and Materials:

  • Print the Play Hard Play Soft worksheets
  • Copy the activity cards, cut out, and tape to the walls around the gym. If needed, make extra copies, or add other activities to the list
  • CD player/iPod and peppy music
  • Optional: try playing culturally diverse music like salsa, merengue, or hip hop


  1. Arrange children in a circle around the room. Inform them that this game is played like musical chairs. They will walk around the room while the music plays, then stop at an activity card along the wall when the music stops.
    • In this game, there should be enough activity options or more for each child, and cards/children are not eliminated from play.
  2. When the music stops and all players are at a different activity card, ask the children to raise their hands if the activity makes them "play hard". If it makes them "play soft" then those players will take two steps into the middle of the room. If it is not active at all then kneel down.
  3. When the music starts again, children who are raising their hands should try to act out their activity as they move around the room (or simply jog). Children who stepped forward should go to the middle of the gym and walk around slowly. Children who are kneeling should go to an open space and remain kneeling out of action for the next set of music.
  4. Play a few rounds and then stop to ask children if they have noticed the changes in their bodies as they go from being still or moving slowly to moving quickly or playing hard. Help them recognize changes: they feel warm, they breathe more quickly, their heart beats faster.
  5. Remind children that their bodies like to play hard because an active body is a healthy body.