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Do You Need Fresh Physical Education Ideas?

There is plenty of evidence that physical activity helps kids to focus in the classroom. Here are some physical education ideas to add movement to your day.
There is plenty of evidence that physical activity helps kids to focus in the classroom. Here are some physical education ideas to add movement to your day.

Are you responsible for physical education? If you are, coming up with fresh ideas (and planning the lessons around them) can be challenging. Even if you aren’t you may be looking for ways to get kids moving.

There is plenty of evidence that many kids aren’t active enough—and that physical activity helps kids in lots of ways (including focusing in the classroom). Here are some ideas to add movement to your day whether in PE or as a quick add in.

15-minute physical education ideas

Try Morning Movement. These 15-minute (or less) activities are a great start to the day. Have students do one activity each morning. Then try it again next week. This works well as part of your morning routine or you can do these activities as a unit for a month.

  • Aerobic dance
  • Circuit training
  • Cross-country run
  • Obstacle course
  • Movement games

Circuit training

Let’s take a closer look at Circuit Training, which helps build strength and flexibility.

Here’s what you need:

  • Skipping ropes
  • Step
  • Hoops
  • Oval/playing field
  • Stopwatch

Set up a circuit including these stations:

  • Run 20 meters.
  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Step-ups
  • Skipping
  • Jumping in and out of hoops

Have students warm up by stretching all parts of their bodies. If it is your first time doing circuit training, demonstrate what to do at each station.

Give students a set time on each station (this can vary based on the age of your students). For example, give them 2 minutes per station. Students record their results and try to beat it the next time.

Have students rotate through the stations until they’ve done each one.

You can modify these activities based on the space you have available. For example, some activities could be done in the classroom or a hallway if you can’t get outside.

Obstacle course

Here are some additional ideas for obstacle courses. Use this activity to work on strength and agility.

Here’s what you need:

  • Cones
  • Hoops
  • Jump ropes
  • Step
  • Any other objects that can serve as obstacles
  • Open space
  • Stopwatches

One of the great things about obstacle courses is that you can modify them easily based on the materials and space you have available.

Set up your course and demonstrate the proper way to go through it. (If you have some sections that are child-sized, like a low space to crawl under, explain the route and have a student demonstrate.)

Students can:

  • zigzag around cones
  • step into each hoop you’ve laid on the ground
  • leap over a space marked by two jump ropes
  • climb over a step
  • slither between two chairs

Obstacle courses can be individual. You can time students (or show them how to work the stopwatch and have them time each other). They can record their results and try to beat it the next time.

You can also run obstacle courses as relays. Obstacle courses and any kind of relay races can be modified again and again to keep them fresh and provide practice in different kinds of movement. For example, instead of students running to zig-zag around cones, have them hop or skip. For a relay, use a baton (or any easy to grasp object) to hand off. Depending on what students need to do in the obstacle, you may want to forgo the baton and just have students high five as the “hand off.”

More fresh physical education ideas

Want to work on movement and spatial awareness. Try these spatial awareness activities.

Need to get back to fundamentals—and keep it fun? Try these physical education fundamental activities.

And if you want 35 physical education lesson plans that will last the whole year, get my Physical Education Lesson Plans.

Each P.E. lesson is on a separate card to make it easy to take with you no matter where you’re located!

You can also get the lesson plans PLUS:

  • Back to school pack
  • Classroom games
  • Classroom job charts
  • Phonics games
  • Math games and activities
  • Punctuation posters

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There is plenty of evidence that many kids aren’t active enough—and that physical activity helps kids in lots of ways (including focusing in the classroom). Here are some fun games and ideas to add movement to your day whether in a physical education lesson or as a quick add in for your primary/elementary class. Try them out today. #teacherresources #teachertips #backtoschool #physicaleducation #brainbreaks #lessonplans

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