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How To Get Kids Moving: 35 PE Lesson Plans

Do you wish you had PE lesson plans ready to follow? Having a bunch of ideas to draw from makes it a lot easier to get through your PE lessons.
Do you wish you had PE lesson plans ready to follow? Having a bunch of ideas to draw from makes it a lot easier to get through your PE lessons.

Do you groan when it comes time for physical education? Or maybe just wish you had PE lesson plans ready to follow without having to come up with ideas to get kids moving? Having a bunch of ideas to draw from makes it a lot easier to get through your PE lessons. 

I break my PE ideas down into seven categories:

  • Basic skills
  • Early morning fitness
  • Modified sports
  • Athletics
  • Dance
  • Gymnastics
  • Indoor games

Let’s take a look at each. 

PE Lesson Plans for Basic Skills

Basic skills are those students will need to participate in sports and sporting activities: catch, skipping, soccer pass, sprint run, overarm throw. Because some of the other PE lesson plans assume students can do these basic skills, starting with them is a great way to start the year. You could work through the five skills or pick one and then choose a PE lesson plan from one of the other areas that uses that skill. 

Here’s an example of a PE Lesson Plan for Catching that is appropriate for lower to middle primary or grades K–5. 

You’ll need this equipment: tennis balls, larger balls (netball for students having difficulties), beanbags and oval.

Start with a warm up.

Students select an object (ball or beanbag) and find a space by themselves. Have them throw the ball high into the air and clap once before catching the ball. Next have them try to clap twice and continue to see how many times they can clap and still catch the object.

Progress with the skill.

Have the students form pairs with one ball between two. (Begin with a larger ball and decrease the size as the students become more confident). Students throw to one another and practise their catching. Encourage students to throw slow and easy. Remind them that they want their partner to catch the ball. 

When they have mastered this, they can throw the ball higher or faster so the person receiving the ball needs to position themselves correctly to make the catch. Use a smaller ball to add difficulty.

Try a skill-based game.

Set the students up in a circle with one person located on the outside of the circle. Students in the circle throw a large ball around the circle, while the student on the outside runs in the opposite directionThe student running must attempt to beat the ball back to the starting position. Again, begin with a larger ball and decrease the size when the students become more competent.

Do you wish you had PE lesson plans ready to follow? Having a bunch of ideas to draw from makes it a lot easier to get through your PE lessons.

PE Lesson Plans for Early Morning Fitness

If you don’t have a lot of time for PE, these early morning fitness plans are a great way to get it done. Each lesson is short (only 15 minutes maximum). The benefit comes from completing them every day. This can be a great energizing start to the day. 

Early morning fitness PE lesson plans include:

  • Aerobic dance
  • Circuit training
  • Cross country run
  • Games
  • Obstacle course

For some of these events, like circuit training, students will record their results and try to beat them the next time they complete the activity. 

Circuit training is appropriate for all levels. You’ll need a little bit of equipment, including skipping ropes, step, hoops, and an oval or playing field. You’ll also want a timer/stopwatch and tracking sheets with pens or pencils for students to record their results. The good news is you can adapt your circuit based on the space and equipment you have, and some activities require no equipment. 

Start with a warm up.

Warm up for circuit training should be stretches of all parts of the body. 

Progress with the skill.

Circuit training builds strength and flexibility. Students make their way through the different stations of the circuit with a set time on each station. The amount of time can vary based on the age of students. Station ideas for the circuit include: 

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

Have students record their results for each station. The next time you do circuit training, students should try and beat their own results. 

Do you wish you had PE lesson plans ready to follow? Having a bunch of ideas to draw from makes it a lot easier to get through your PE lessons.

PE Lesson Plans for Modified Sports

While students may simply want to play sports that they know like soccer and tennis, they may not have the skills to play yet – and sometimes the court or field may be too large for younger players. PE lesson plans for modified sports give students the feel of playing sports they know with some age-appropriate modifications. 

Take for example Mini-Basketball, which is appropriate for middle to upper primary students. You’ll need basketballs, a basketball court, markers, chalk, and buckets.

Start with a warm up.

Set up markers to dive the court into thirds. Have students line up along one side of the court. Students skip across the first third of the court, run the second third, and skip sideways for the final third. Repeat 2–3 times. 

Progress with the skill.

Have students practice dribbling, a key skill in basketball. If you have an outdoor basketball court, ask students to identify all the letters in the alphabet that have straight lines. Choose some of these letters and have students draw large versions on the court. Then students take turns dribbling on the lines of the letters of the alphabet. Children begin walking and then move to a slow run while dribbling. You can eventually build up to alternating hands. If you are using an indoor gym and cannot draw letters on the court, you can have students use the lines of the court to dribble along. 

Try a skill-based game.

Divide students into four teams for a relay. Set up the relay like this: a marker partway up the court and a bucket three metres further up the court, then have a line of markers for students to dribble in and out of that leads to the free throw line (or a line marked in chalk or tape closer to the net for younger students). 

The first student dribbles the ball to the first maker on the court. There they stop and shoot the ball into the bucket. If the ball goes in the bucket that person has scored two points for the team. The person retrieves the ball and dribbles in and out of the markers. They then dribble the ball to the free throw (or closer) line and take a shot. If the ball goes in, they score three points. If the ball touches the rim but does not fall in they score is two points. The person dribbles the ball back to the team and it is the next students turn. The team with the most points in a specified time is the winner. 

Other popular modified sports include freeball, mini-soccer, mini-tennis, nettaball, and tee-ball. 

Do you wish you had PE lesson plans ready to follow? Having a bunch of ideas to draw from makes it a lot easier to get through your PE lessons.

PE Lesson Plans for Athletics

PE lesson plans for athletics are great for students who may be interested in track and field and can be used on athletic carnival days. Think javelin, long jump, relay, and shot put. To use shot put in a PE class, you’ll need an oval or playing field, markers, shot puts (you can use different size and weight balls), a bucket, and tracking sheets with pencils.

Start with a warm up.

Give each student a tennis ball. Demonstrate the correct shot put technique and have them use it to push the ball into a bucket or over a certain height. Have them try with both their preferred and nonpreferred hand.

Progress with the skill.

Place markers at equal distances on the field. Students use a shot put or balls of various sizes to put over the first line and continue to see how far they can put. Have them record their results and attempt to improve the distance next time. Students can record the results with the various objects they use to put.

Try a skill-based game.

Place large and small balls randomly on the field. Divide students into teams. Give each team a set amount of time to put. The students put the shot put so that it hits one of the balls. If students hit a large ball, the team scores one point and if they hit a small ball, the team scores two points. Teams record their results. If time permits, teams can take another turn. The team with the highest score wins.

Do you wish you had PE lesson plans ready to follow? Having a bunch of ideas to draw from makes it a lot easier to get through your PE lessons.

PE Lesson Plans for Dance

Dance is great because it can happen anywhere. For students who do not thrive on competition, dance is a great physical activity. PE lesson plans for dance can include a chance for improvisation and learning the steps to a structured dance. I use these dances in my PE lesson plans: Cobbler’s Dance, Hokey Pokey, Let The Feet Go Tramp, Shoo Fly, Springtime On the Farm. 

Shoo-fly is a great dance activity for lower primary/K–3 students that provides both improvisation and fixed steps and helps students express moods. You’ll need space for students to dance along with a tambourine and a variety of types of music. 

Start with a warm up.

Play the tambourine. Ask the children to move around the room to the beat. Change the speed and encourage students to adapt their movement. 

Progress with the skill.

Have students spread out, each with their own space. Say a word related to an emotion, such as happy, sad, angry, upset, joyful, excited. Ask students to act in a way that represents the emotion. You can extend this idea by playing music with different moods and asking students to respond. 

Try a skill-based game.

Divide students into partners. Pairs form a single circle. Play music for “Shoo, Fly, Don’t Bother Me.” Students can sing as they move. 

Everyone walks 4 steps toward the centre, swinging the arms up, singing “Shoo, fly, don’t bother me.” Then they all walk 4 steps backwards, swinging the arms downward and backward, again singing, “Shoo, fly, don’t bother me.” They repeat walking in and out, singing, “Shoo, fly, don’t bother me, for I belong to somebody.” 

Partners then join both hands and turn clockwise on the spot, singing “I feel, I feel, I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star. I feel, I feel, I feel, I feel.” The partner on the left drops the right hand as they pass the partner on the right under the left arm so that they move clockwise to the next person in the circle, singing “I feel like a morning star.” The dance is repeated with a new partner. 

Do you wish you had PE lesson plans ready to follow? Having a bunch of ideas to draw from makes it a lot easier to get through your PE lessons.

PE Lesson Plans for Gymnastics

PE lesson plans for gymnastics cover body awareness, body control, flexibility, locomotion, and strength. This is another great set of activities for students who thrive on less competition. 

You can work with body awareness without equipment. All you need is a safe space. Here’s a PE lesson plan designed for lower primary/K–3 students. 

Start with a warm up.

Have students find their own space in the room. Have each student try to find out how far they can stretch their arms and legs in various directions. Explain that this is their own personal space. If students find they are touching each other during this warm up, encourage them to move until they have personal space that doesn’t interfere with others’ personal space. 

Progress with the skill.

Have children sit or lie on the floor. Ask students to make different shapes for example, you might say “wavy as a snake”. Students would move like a snake along the floor. Some other examples could be to move “straight as a nail,” “commando crawl,” “swim like an Olympic swimmer.” Remind students to be aware of their personal space as they move. 

Try a skill-based game.

Simon says is a great way to practice this skill. Use commands like you did in the earlier exercise, but if you don’t say Simon Says, then students must continue to complete the previous movement. If you call Simon Says with a movement, the students change to the new action. 

Do you wish you had PE lesson plans ready to follow? Having a bunch of ideas to draw from makes it a lot easier to get through your PE lessons.

PE Lesson Plans for Indoor Games

Ideally PE gives students a chance to really move around outside or in a gym with plenty of space, but sometimes you won’t have that space. PE lesson plans for indoor games give you ideas for games that can be played in the classroom. These are also great ideas if you have inclement weather and hold recess indoors, or used for transitions when your class finishes work quickly, or for a refresher to motivate students.

Indoor games do not take much time to set up and use limited equipment. Some of the games I include in my repertoire are Do As I Do, Hide In Sight, Magic Carpet, Missing People, and Posture Tag. 

Start with a warm up.

Because these indoor activities have a lower level of physical activity, no warm up is needed. You can use a warm up and have students try different types of movement, such as walk, tiptoe, march, or skip in place.

Progress with the skill.

Mark four magic carpets equal distance apart. Identify a pathway in the classroom around which the players will walk, tiptoe or skip between the magic carpets. Have students move around the room. Practice keeping enough space between students (students should not be running into the person in front of them). 

Try a skill-based game.

To play the Magic Carpet game, clap your hands or use a percussion instrument or music. While you do so, students walk around the pathway in time with the clapping or music. When you call “freeze” and stop clapping, students freeze in place. Any player standing on a magic carpet is “out.” When students are out, they take a seat in the center. Repeat this process until there are only a few students remaining. To keep students in the center engaged and active, they can march or do some other activity in time with the clapping or music. 

Do you wish you had PE lesson plans ready to follow? Having a bunch of ideas to draw from makes it a lot easier to get through your PE lessons.

More PE Lesson Plans

My PE lesson plans list equipment needed, age, skill, and all the directions I need. I keep them laminated, ready to pull and carry with me to wherever my PE class is happening. PE lesson plans include:

  • Warm up ideas
  • Skill practices
  • Suitable year level/s
  • Equipment
  • Games
  • Diagrams

I’ve got 35 PE lesson plans to last you the whole year, ready to print, laminate, and use. 

You’ll be all set to get kids moving with Physical Education Lesson Plans

Do you groan when it comes time for physical education? Or maybe just wish you had PE lesson plans ready to follow without having to come up with ideas to get kids moving? Having a bunch of ideas to draw from makes it a lot easier to get through your PE lessons.

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