Christmas-themed Warm-up Activities 

Polar Express

This game is like ‘stuck in the mud’, but when someone is tipped, they hold on to the tippers shoulder and become a carriage. As more people are tipped the chain of people becomes longer, making the train harder to manoeuvre!

What you will need: Mat space

  1. Gymnast line up at the end of the mat

  2. The tipper is in the middle of the mat and yells ‘Polar Express’

  3. Upon ‘Polar Express’, everyone runs to the opposite side of the mat, trying not to get tipped (as the game goes on, change running to other activities such as skipping, grape vine and chasse)

  4. Once someone is tipped, they attach themselves to the tipper

  5. As more people are tipped, the train becomes longer, making it harder to manoeuvre!

The Abominable Snow Man

This is a more stationary exercise if you are limited for space

What you will need: Bean bags

  1. All gymnasts find a partner and stand approximately 2 metres from each other

  2. Holding one bean bag between partners, the partner holding the bean bag becomes the snow man

  3. The coach yells out instructions, and the aim is to catch the bean bag after the instructions, to become the snow man

  4. ‘bop’ means that the gymnast must crouch to touch the floor, then stand up before catching the bean bag aka snow ball

  5. ‘ski’ means that the gymnast should jump side to side as if skiing, before catching

  6. ‘chairlift’ means to jump squat before catching

  7. ‘T bars’ means the gymnast must sit with legs outstretched before standing back up to catch

  8. You can add as many activities on top of the ones outlined

Santa Says!

This game is an adaptation of ‘Captain’s Coming’, with fun Christmassy variations!


  1. The coach will stand in front of the class, with the gymnasts in a straight line down the mat

  2. The coach will yell out ‘Santa says’ before each instruction. If the coach omits ‘Santa says’ and just yells the action, the gymnasts are likely to do the action and have been tricked!

  3. ‘igloo’ meaning all athletes create a tuck pose on the floor

  4. ‘snow man’ means to perform jumping jacks

  5. ‘Rudolph’ requires continuous cat leaps, or gallops

  6. ‘north pole’ to run to the front of the mat, and ‘south pole’ the back

  7. ‘ride the sleigh’ is to hold a v-position with arms and legs off the floor

  8. ‘sledding’ requires the gymnasts to hold a plank

  9. ‘Santa’s coming’ requires the athletes to sit cross legged, or in straddle with lovely stretched arms

  10. Of course any variations can be added/created!