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Funky Run

Students get funky with their running and then use the skills they've learned to correct their form

Tags: elementary school, overall skills

Objectives This activity promotes body control by having students contrast running movements that are controlled with some that are not. It also promotes specific aspects of good running form.
Standards National Standards for Physical Education (NASPE)
Standards 1,2
New York State Education Department (NYSED)
Standard 1
Prerequisite This is a great lesson to do after activities like Bang the Drums, Running Tall, and Monster Steps so that students can draw on all the form skills they have learned.
Time Required 20 minutes
Materials None required


Prepare for the Activity


Events Play
FunkyRun_MS-ES ()
Funky Run

A form exercise that promotes body control and specific aspects of good form.

Click here to access on Teacher Tube

Introduce the Activity

  • Tell your students the name of the game and what it’s about. Say something like, “Today for a little while we’re going to ignore everything we learned about good running form and are going to run as funky as we can! We’ll see what that feels like, but first let’s remember some of the things we should try to do when running normally.”
  • Discuss the basic elements of good running form:
    • Running tall (remember the beanbag on your head!), back straight, head steady, eyes straight ahead
    • Relaxed hands and shoulders (don’t crush those chips!)
    • Strong arm swing from the shoulder, passing the hips and not crossing the body (bang those drums!)
    • Just right steps (no monster steps/over striding!)
    • Running on the balls of their feet, with quick turnover (remember the springs on your feet and foot fire—like moving quickly on a hot stove to keep your feet from burning!)
  • Tell students they will start running normally, then switch to a “funky run” on your command before switching back to running normally to finish.
  • Demonstrate good form, then transition to an example of a “funky run” where you do the opposite of one or more of the good form elements you discussed, and finish by returning to good running form.
  • Encourage the students to pay attention to how they feel while running in their funky style compared to running with good form.

Conduct the Activity

  1. One at a time, or in groups of three or four, have your students begin jogging, using normal form.
  2. About a third of the way through, call out “Funky Run!” prompting them to run with any sort of terrible, silly, or exaggerated form they can think of.
  3. About two-thirds of the way through their run, call out “Normal run!” and have them switch back to their normal running style.
  4. Emphasize making the transition back to good form. Assist those who are having trouble by talking them through corrections as they run.
  5. Have them do multiple repetitions of Funky Run.

Assess the Students

What to watch for:

  • Good running form (when they are supposed to be running normally), as noted above in “Introduce the activity”
  • Quick transitions back to good form after “funky” running

Direction cues to share with students:

  • “Run tall!”
  • “Relax your [hands/arms/shoulders]! Don’t crush that chip!”
  • “Bend your elbows!”
  • “Use your arms more!”
  • “Swing your arms straight, not sideways! Remember to bang those drums!”
  • “Light on your feet! Remember foot fire! Quick turnover!”
  • “Land on your springs, in the middle of your foot!”
  • “Lift your knees!”
  • “Use your Just Right stride - not too long!”

Note: Only give a student one direction at a time.


  • Call out specific “funky moves” you want your students to do. For example, call out “Funky long steps!” or “Funky arm movements!”
  • Have each group do a follow the leader, alternate the students at the front of the line, and each leader has to come up with a funky run for the rest of the line to follow.
  • Create a course with cones and between certain color cones are the Funky Run Zones, and each color represents a certain part of the body that is funky: head, arms, legs, hands.


When you've completed Funky Run, talk to your students about their experience with the activity. Here are some sample questions to get you started:

  • So how did the “funky running” feel compared to the normal running?
  • What were some of the differences between funky running and normal running?
  • Who can tell me some of the basics of good [arm/leg, etc.] form? (See the list of good form elements in the Introduce the Activity section)
  • What is one thing you think is a little funky about the way you run that you might work on?

Inclusion Strategies

Classrooms are filled with learners who demonstrate a variety of needs and abilities, including ESL students, those with disabilities, and gifted/talented students. Consider these adaptations as you work to modify the lesson for student success.

  • Encourage partners to run together and “mirror” the other’s “funky running” style for fun.
  • Remember that some children may already have a “funky running” style (e.g., children with cerebral palsy or other type of physical disability) so encourage “individual” styles of running and not a single “best” style.
  • Demonstrate using specific cues for students with intellectual disabilities. Free expression (funky running) may be too abstract an idea for some learners to grasp.


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