Posts Tagged ‘activities’

Which Non-Traditional Sport Should You Include in Your Curriculum? [QUIZ]

Thursday, December 7th, 2017
Break from tradition with an alternative sport. Take our quiz and discover the ideal new activity for your PE curriculum.

How to Encourage Students to Try Team and Solo Sports

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

A youth soccer team huddles together on the field

Team and solo sports can be a fantastic supplement to physical education (PE) classes, promoting healthy habits and valuable life skills such as teamwork, discipline, and good sportsmanship. Not only that, but these activities can become beloved hobbies that children continue into adulthood and greatly benefit their later lives.

As a physical educator, you may find that, despite the many advantages of team and solo sports, some students still lack any interest in them. With that in mind, let’s look at how you can boost sports participation in your PE lessons and nurture the skills that students start to develop from trying them.

Set the Right Tone

Motivating reluctant students to try a new activity can be one of your greatest challenges in PE lessons. The first question you need to answer is whether or not a child actually wants to participate in the sport – after all, it’s no fun doing something if you don’t enjoy it, even if you’re good at it. More often than not, students are discouraged from an activity because they don’t think they will excel in it, which is why it’s essential to communicate to your class that being the best is not key to practicing sports.

Create a PE environment where all of your students respect and support each other, regardless of individual skill. Some students may be reluctant to participate because they are afraid of being judged or bullied. You must not allow bullying under any circumstances. Instead, celebrate the effort it takes to try something new, as well as the opportunity to learn different skills from one another.

When a child tries a new activity, especially one that is outside their comfort zone, acknowledge their courage and emphasize that every student has something to contribute to the team. This attitude puts a positive spin on the whole experience of trying new team or solo sports.

Break Down Barriers

Boredom is another major factor in a student’s lack of interest in sports. Keeping your lesson plans fresh helps maintain variety and lets your class sample more activities, increasing the chance that they find their preferred sport.

If noncompetitive solo activities appeal more strongly to some students, give them a chance to try activities where you “win” by achieving a personal goal, such as maintaining your target heart rate for a given amount of time. Tracking personal progress can be very rewarding for many children, and even if they don’t like traditional sports, they can still get a great workout from a more unusual PE activity like dancing.

Remember that your students may experience any number of other barriers, including socio-economic and cultural factors, which discourage them from wanting to participate in sports. Some of these factors are beyond your control, but being aware of them may let you find ways to make team and solo sports more accessible to your entire PE class.

Nurture Students’ Skills

When a student demonstrates some level of skill at an activity, they should be encouraged to develop it without being pressured. If a child is pushed too hard, an activity they once enjoyed may stop being fun and start feeling like a chore. Learning self-discipline is important, but those lessons are lost if a sport begins to feel like a punishment.

The skills your students may discover are not just the athletic kind. Some students may show a knack for creating strategies, motivating others, facilitating communication between team members, leadership, or organization. When you notice that one of your students shows promise in a particular area, let them know. This gives them a sense of achievement that is as important as any athletic endeavor, and still lets them associate success with sports participation.

Sports as a Learning Opportunity

Children can benefit from learning that effort and practice are needed to develop valuable personal skills, regardless of any “natural talent.” Solo and team sports are an excellent way to train these skills, while keeping kids active and healthy, which is why it’s so important to keep your PE students engaged.

If you’re looking for inspiration for your PE classes, download SPARK’s free lesson plans with simple instructions for a range of solo and team sports today.

Awesome Activities for the Last PE Lesson of the School Year

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

gym teacher holds a basketball in front of his young students

PE classes are a great way to end the school year on a high note and get children in the habit of staying active over the summer.

As PE teachers already know, encouraging kids to stay active should entail a lot of fun. The key is creating activities that are physically demanding, while also being entertaining and engaging. Read on to discover exciting games that will make the end of the school year more of a celebration and less of a chore.

Scavenger Hunts

Armed with imagination, energetic workout routines and a few fun clues, students will be instantly inspired to embark on whatever adventure you choose to send them on. Students will learn the value of teamwork while cheering on teammates during challenges, and improve their cognitive and reasoning skills as they decipher clues to keep moving forward.

What You’ll Need:

  • Written clues to lead students to destinations where they will perform exercises (one for each student)
  • Exercise sets which have been carefully thought out and planned ahead of time (one for each student)
  • Colored markers that students will locate at their assigned tasks (one color for each team, one marker of that color for each team member)

How to Play:

Prior to starting the game, instructors hide the markers at each “challenge area.” At the start of gameplay, decide the order in which students will perform tasks. Give them the first exercise at their “home base,” such as 20 jumping jacks, and award them with their first clue. Students must then decipher the clue as a team. This will lead them to their first location, where they will hunt for their team’s colored marker.


Upon returning to the “homebase” with the marker, the next student performs the next set of exercises for the next clue. This is repeated until each student has had a turn, each clue has been given out and gameplay is concluded.


Dance Parties

It’s no secret that grade school children love to dance, but did you know that dance improves emotional and social skills, as well? Why not turn their favorite activity into a fun end-of-year extravaganza? Students will happily try out complex cardiovascular fitness routines when they’re having a blast. So, find some upbeat music and make it a memorable last day of class.

What You’ll Need:

  • A device with a speaker to play positive music which is suitable for school and ideal for dancing. You can even take music requests from students beforehand.
  • A few carefully choreographed, age-appropriate fitness routines. Modern dance crazes like the Cupid Shuffle, Whip/Nae Nae or the Cha-Cha Slide are easy to learn and probably already familiar to some students.

How to Play:

This activity is as simple as pressing play on a music device. Try adding a little extra difficulty by instructing the kids to freeze every time the music stops – it’s amazing how long a child can stand still for competitive reasons.

Old-Fashioned Field Games

Set up some Field Day favorites, like sack races and egg-and-spoon races. Have stations for kids to try all the activities and either keep score on teams, or just make it about having fun. The great thing about these games is that most students won’t know how to do them well, so it will be an even playing field for everyone.

What You’ll Need:

  • Potato sacks
  • Eggs or ping pong balls
  • Spoons
  • Any other items for your Field Day ideas

How to Play:

Decide which Field Day activities you want to include, and then go online to find out the official rules and supplies. Feel free to tweak the games to fit the children’s age or interests.

The last days of school should favor fun, and with these great PE activities your students are sure to start the summer with a smile. Check out our lesson plans for more PE inspiration.