All kids need regular physical education. It can help to have a variety of activities available that are both traditional as well as offbeat. This helps keep the kids interested. But it’s also good for the body to try new things. Since I homeschool the kids, I like to keep around bins or totes full of activities for each subject. Stocking a physical education (or gym) bin can be a bit trickier than some of the other subjects. These can be used in any classroom, be it home education or otherwise.
The physical education bin is a bit different than the others. The materials needed are a whistle, a stopwatch, dance music (tapes or cd’s), a folder or binder full of activity instructions, and collapsible cones. With PE, you will use other items that will not fit into the bins. The bin is just a handy way to keep all your activity instructions and main tools (like the ones listed above) handy. When you are picking games to use in your physical education class, keep in mind that the games chosen need to be ones that will keep the children active. Games where the children are sitting down for long periods of time are not appropriate for physical education. The following activities and games are all designed to keep the kids active. These should be printed out and kept in the activity folder.
Remember that a doctor should always be consulted before starting or stopping any health or exercise program.
Basic Four Square
For this game you will need a piece of chalk, a concrete surface or other hard flat area (at least 4 feet by four feet) to play on, and a rubber ball. Basketballs and playground balls work well for this.
Players: 2 to 4
Directions: First, draw a large square with the piece of chalk. Split the square into four equal parts with the chalk. Your square should look like four connected squares or a fraction displaying four fourths or four equal parts. Each player stands inside his or her own square in the outside corner. Player one bounces the ball inside his/her own square, aiming it at a particular player’s square. The object is to make the ball bounce in the other player’s square. If that happens, the bouncer gets a point. The player who’s square the ball is being aimed at needs to try to catch the ball before it bounces in his/her square. If this happens, the bouncer does not get a point. Either way, the player who the ball was aimed at repeats the same process as the first bouncer. This process continues until one player reaches a score of 10. That player is the winner.
Homemade Tetherball (Easy to Make)Plus Game
All you need to make this game is a volleyball or other hard ball, an old pillowcase, a rope or strong string, and a tree without low branches.
First, take the ball and put it inside the pillowcase. Next, tie a large knot in one end of the rope. Then, twist the leftover cloth on the pillowcase until you have a straight and tight line of cloth. Place the knotted end of the rope across the pillowcase near the bottom. Tie a knot in the pillowcase, making sure to get it around the rope, leaving the knot of the rope just outside of the knot. Now, you’re almost finished. Once you are sure your pillowcase knot is secure, snip off any ends that are hanging off, being sure to leave at least 3 inches of cloth coming away from the knot. Now, you can tie your string or rope to the tree securely. Get the ball to hang as close to the tree trunk as possible. Also be sure that the ball is hanging at the level of the children’s hands. It can be a little higher, but not by much.
Game Play: Once your game is made, you’ll surely want to play. Here are the instructions.
The first player picks up the ball and holds it out away from the tree. He or she punches the ball to make it go around. The other player punches the ball back in the other direction. The object is for one of the players to get the ball to wrap around the tree completely. Play continues until one player is successful. That player is the winner. If one player cannot hit the ball and the ball continues to swing, the other player can hit it again every time it spins in front of him or her.
Homemade Volleyball Net(Easy To Make)Plus Game
You will need an old sheet, cut in half. Make sure you cut it at the center that will make both pieces long. Once this is done, you’ll need three tall sticks, poles, or plastic pipes that are 5 to 6 feet tall. Tie one half of the sheet to the top of one pole with both short ends. Then stretch it out and attach it in the same manner to the second pole. Now take the second half of the sheet and attach it to the second pole in the same manner, making it even with the other sheet piece. Then, attach it to the third pole. Now you just need to hammer your poles into the ground. Depending on what you are using as your pole, you may have to dig holes first. Once this is done, you will need 4 pieces of heavy string or rope and 4 sticks or small stakes. Tie two strings to the top of each outside pole. Start on one side of the net. Stretch one string to the outside back of the net on the ground and one to the front on the ground. You may need two or more people for this setup process. Once the strings have been stretched tightly, wrap and tie the ropes around one stick each and hammer the sticks into the ground. Repeat the same process on the other side. You may need to repeat this process until the net will stand up by itself. Now, you just need a volleyball or other hard ball. For younger children, a rubber playground ball may work best to avoid injuries.
Players: 2 or more
Basic Game Play: Each team has a server. This is the person that will serve the ball at the start of each round. Pick a team to go first. The server places the ball on top of his/her fist (This fist should be in the hand that the player does not use for writing. The player then uses his/her other fist to bang the ball upwards, aiming it over the net. The goal is to get the ball to land on the ground on the other side of the net. The players on the other side need to hit the ball back over the net. If the ball falls without anyone hitting it, that is a point. If someone does hit it, players keep on trying to hit it back and forth over the net until it lands on the ground. Whichever side it lands on, the team on the opposite side gets a score. The teanm to reach 10 first is the winner. If the ball lands anywhere past the net poles, it is a foul. Every time the ball lands, if it is a score, the team who scored gets to serve it again. If it’s not a score (a foul), the side it landed on gets to serve it.
This is like a backwards version of hide and seek. This game should be played with at least three players, but is one of the games where “the more, the merrier” applies.
One person is the counter. Everyone else hides together. Once the person reaches ten, the players must be hidden all together. At times, the players will get squashed, hence the name “Sardines”.
Once the counter has finished counting, he will call out “Ready or not, here I come”. Then, he proceeds in looking for the group. The area where he counted is called “base”. Once he finds the other players, they must all run to “base” before he touches them. Whomever gets touched or tagged becomes the next counter. If no one is tagged, the counter resumes his position.
Game play continues until players are bored or it is time for something else. 40 minutes of this provides adequate exercise.
Up, Down Race
Any number of players can play this one. You need to first make a start line and a finish line. If you are doing this in your grass or in the park, use a jump-rope to create the lines. If you are doing it on a blacktop or sidewalk, you may use chalk.
The “coach”, usually the parent or teacher, says “Ready, set, go!” At “go”, the players start the race, but there is a twist to this race. In this race, players must start in a squatting position and jump up, then squat back down and jump back up and so on. The players must continue the entire race by jumping up and down to the finish line. If a player cheats by jumping without bending down low or running instead, that player is disqualified. To qualify for the race, players must squat down all the way on every jump. The winner is, of course, the player who makes it to the finish line first.
This activity is meant to be a filler activity, done for one or two rounds.
More from Lyn:
How to Make Exercise Fun for Kids
Summer Walking Tips for Parents: Keep Kids Cool, Calm, Hydrated, and Energized
Free Math Learning Games for Kids: Multiplication Relay Race Game