My first and second graders really loved playing with scarves this week. They are a colorful and fun manipulative to try. I first passed them out and we played “freeze dance” while holding the scarf. They loved dancing around with a scarf in hand. We then did some beginning juggling:
1. Hold the scarf by the corner. Toss across your body and catch with the opposite hand.
2. Stand across from a partner. Both toss scarves at the same time and catch your partner’s scarf.
3. Give each student a second scarf. Scarves are tossed across the body, making an ‘x’. Follow this pattern: toss, toss, catch, catch. I have them repeat with me “toss, toss, catch, catch”. (they tend to want to toss, catch, toss, catch).
4. Play fun music while students practice. They love it!
This game is an adaptation of the traditional “Rob the Cookie Jar”. I used it for my 3rd and 4th graders to practice their soccer dribbling skills.
Set up a large playing area with hula hoops arranged in a big circle. Each hoop should be at least 10 paces from another one with a free area in the center. Students all get their own soccer or kick ball and place it in a hula hoop. Set up enough hoops so that each hoop has 5-6 balls (vary hoop number according to your class size). The hoop where their ball starts is their home hoop. The goal is to get as many balls into your hoop as possible in a set amount of time. On the start signal, students run to another hoop, lift a ball out, set it on the ground, and then dribble it to their own hoop. They use their feet to trap the ball in their own hoop. Then go and “steal” another ball. At the end of the designated time, students return to their own hoop and count to see which team has the most balls.
Here are a few rules my students came up with as we played the game:
1. can only steal one ball at a time
2. you cannot steal from a person kicking, just from the hoops
3. you cannot rob from your “next door neighbor” (hoop on either side of yours) 2 times in a row
4. you cannot rob from the same hoop 2 times in a row
5. no hands after you pick the ball up out of the hoop, kicking only
Fun, active, and good practice!
We have been practicing soccer skills, mainly different kinds of kicks in PE this month. This game was a fun, quick way to practice.
Students find a partner
Each partnership needs 1 ball and 1 hula hoop
You need a large playing area (perfect for outside fall weather)
Player throws hula hoop into empty space
Partners then take turns kicking the ball and trying to get it to land in the hoop
Count and see how many kicks it takes to get the ball to stay in the hoop (if it rolls out, that counts as 1 kick and play continues)
Throw the hoop again and try to decrease your number of kicks or throw the hoop farther
Today was one of those days where everything went perfect! My students responded to this game with such enthusiasm and it was really fun. It was our “mission possible” fitness day. Here is what we did:
I divided the class into groups of 4-5. Each group had a cone that was their “home base”. I gave them 30 seconds to appoint a team captain, then had the team captain come up and get an envelope with their “mission”. Each envelope had slips of paper with different fitness tasks on them (for a total of 10 tasks). They had to complete the tasks as a group. I play the theme from Mission Impossible while they worked. The music was key to making it fun! I told them when they finished, they could come to me for an extra challenge. That kept the fast groups busy. (challenge was to repeat task cards, but double all numbers) You can use any exercise on the task cards. Here are the ones I used: gallop 1 lap, 30 jumping jacks, curl-ups for 60 seconds, 10 super mans, 20 high jumps, grapevine 1 lap, 20 step jumps, 10 push-ups, plank for 60 seconds, wall sit for 60 seconds. They all laughed and had fun while working hard.
Our second activity was a relay activity. When we finished our first mission, I had them move their cones into a row and line their groups up behind them. Each group had 3 bean bags. In front of each line I put 3 dome-style cones spaced across the gym floor. The first person in line ran to the first cone, turned it over and put a bean bag inside. They then run back and pick up a second bean bag and run to the 2nd cone, turn it over, put the bean bag in. Repeat for 3rd cone then run back to the group and high five the next person. That team-mate reverses the action by bringing the bean bag back and turning the cone back to “mountain” position. Because of the ladder-style running, the students got a lot of cardio exercise. I played the Mission Impossible music again and the groups kept going until the music stopped. I told them it wasn’t a race, just to try and see how many rounds their group could do. They loved this activity as well. It was a super fun and active PE class!
My classes love to play tag games and this one adds a little extra fitness:
Divide playing area in half using cones to mark dividing line. Use 2 cones in each area to mark a “door”. There is a tag game going on in each area. If a person is tagged, they go out of the door in the gym-half they have been playing in. They complete 10 jumping jacks (or any fitness task you designate) then enter in the door of the adjoining game and play in that game. I designate 3-4 children per game to be “it”. They use a yarn ball to tag. Every few minutes, I blow a whistle (students freeze) and trade students who are “it”.
Most tag games work better outside, but this one seems to work well in a gym space. We were driven inside today due to wind and my students loved playing this game.
I decided to have a theme this year for my PE classes. I’m not the most creative in this area, but what I came up with is working great! I started class wearing a pair of sunglasses and told the students that these “shades” were to remind them of some of the expectations for PE this year. Each letter in the word “shades” stands for an expectation for my class:
S = sportsmanship
H = helpful
A = attitude (make it positive)
D = determination (work hard to learn new skills, or improve)
E = energy
S = smile!
I bought some cheap sunglasses and each class I give away a pair to the student who is most exemplifying these behaviors. It has been very motivating! Some of my most difficult students are working on behaviors to earn a pair of glasses. It is a fun way to stress some of the social skills I strive to help my students learn while they are with me.
Centipede Relay is a fun game that can be played indoors or outdoors. It is a good cardiovascular activity as the students really get moving, but can be done in smaller spaces. The game works with small or large groups; just adjust the amount of teams you have. Teams should have 4-8 players.
Place 2 hula hoops per team on opposite ends of play area. Fill 1 of the hoops with miscellaneous tossables such as bean bags, different ball sizes, etc. I always throw in a rubber chicken for fun and the kids love that. Students then line up behind the hoop with the tossables. The task is to move the items down to the other hoop. They do this by passing between the legs then over the head (every other person) one item at a time. When the first person has handed off, he/she runs to the end of the line so that the line keeps shifting and moving towards the next hoop. They move one object at a time and then run back and begin passing the next object. You can play race-style and see which team gets their objects to the other hoop first; or have them play for a certain amount of time. When indoors, I add fun music and they play until the music stops. It is a crazy, fast-moving game.
I have several versions of rock, paper, scissors that are easy to add-in as needed to any lesson. They are also good for regular classroom teachers to use when their students need a break. They are fast, require no equipment and get the children moving around and interacting.
Whole body: Instead of using just your hands; rock, paper, or scissors is made with your whole body. Curl up for a rock. Body in an ‘x’ shape for scissors. Feet together and hands straight in the air for paper. Students jump 3 times then make their shape.
Olympic: Divide the room into 3 sections using cones or any visual markers. One section is bronze, one is silver, and one is gold. In the gold section make a “podium” using a mat, chair, or any raised surface. All students begin in bronze and find a partner to play. Winner moves into the silver section and loser stays in bronze. Continue to find new partners and play, moving up or down levels when you win or lose. If you win in the gold section you stay there and play again. If you win 3 times in a row you stand on the podium. I play with my classes that as a new person gains the podium they must challenge whoever was there first. The winner stays on the podium and the loser goes back to bronze. You can also play it that the podium can have multiple players. Play for any amount of time (usually about 5 minutes)
Train: Players form a train of 3-4 people standing in a line and placing hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. The front player challenges the “engine” from another train to RPS. The loser becomes the caboose of that train. The train then chugs the room and looks for another train to play. See who gets the longest train.
Chicken, Monkey, Superman: This one is my favorite. It is similar to Olympic (above). All students start out as chickens (crouch down and make chicken wings) and find a partner to play. Winners move up to monkeys (stand and make monkey arms). Winning monkeys become superman (arms out as if flying) and losing monkeys go back to being a chicken. Chickens must play chickens, etc. I place mats at both sides of the gym. If a person wins 3 times in a row as superman; he/she becomes the king and stands on either mat. Another winner can challenge them and take their place if they win. Losers go back to being a chicken. The children really get giggling with this one and it is fun to watch.
This is the first week of school for me. I have been spending lots of time going over the class rules with my students and these simple games have been a good way to break things up and make the class fun.
I have never been a fan of the game “capture the flag”. When I tried it with my classes I always ended up with a lot of students standing around and plenty of fighting over rules being followed. However, I get asked by students to play it quite frequently. I modified some rules and came up with a new version that I like a lot. The students had a great time as well and my 6th graders requested to play it during their last week of PE this year.
Play area is divided into 4 equal areas. Make them big (about 30 paces square) if possible. I used poly spots to mark dividing lines. All areas should be connected — like a large rectangle divided into fourths.
Each area has a hula hoop with 5 bean bags in it and 4 cones set up in a square (jail)
Students are divided into 4 teams and each team takes a square. They wore pinnies to separate teams.
Goal is to try and get the most bean bags into your team’s hula hoop.
Bean bags can be stolen one at a time only. They can be passed from player to player but not thrown.
Players can be tagged anytime they are out of their own area. Tagged players must go to the tagging team’s jail. They can be rescued by one of their teammates. Rescued players get a free walk-back with their rescuer, but they must be touching as they walk back. You can only rescue one teammate at a time.
Hula hoops are a “free” area. Players cannot be tagged if they are standing in a hula hoop. You cannot stand in your own team’s hula hoop. One person can guard your team’s hoop, but must be three steps away. One person can be in a hoop at a time. (It is fun to see the strategies team members come up with when a person gets trapped in a hoop)
Can steal bean bags from any other team’s hoop.
The game does not stop once started. At the end of a play session, teams can count up their bags and see who has the most.
This version brought about much more involvement from all class members. Teams really had to pay attention or their whole team could end up in jail. (I called occasional “jail break” when this happens). The multiple bean bags really made a difference in keeping things moving and allowed for natural score-keeping for the more competitive types.
My classes have been practicing their frisbee skills — catching and throwing. I used this game as a final activity for my 3rd and 4th graders and as a lead-in to ultimate frisbee for my 5th and 6th.
Divide class into groups of 4 (groups of 3 or 5 also work). Each group makes a playing field by using poly-spots to mark corners of a 10×10 box (I teach them to take big steps and count off 10 paces). Each group has one person that is defense and the other 3 are offense. Offense tries to keep the frisbee from the defense. Basic rules are:
1. person with the frisbee may not take steps
2. must pass the frisbee within 3 seconds
3. players must stay 3 feet from each other
4. if the frisbee is thrown out-of-bounds, the thrower becomes the defense
5. if a catch is missed or dropped, the catcher becomes the defense
6. if the defense intercepts the pass, he or she chooses who becomes the next defensive player
I add the option that if I blow the whistle, a new person becomes the defensive player. With my younger classes, I had to help some groups understand the idea of the defense trying to get in the middle of the offensive players to intercept; and also showing the offensive players how to move around when they don’t have the frisbee in hand. Once they get the hang of it, they have a great time. My older classes were playing within seconds and kept an active game going. It was a fun spring-time activity.