My 11 Favorite Pieces of Equipment for Primary PE for 2019

In my research of why top 10 lists are so appealing to readers on the internet, the very first article to pop up was called, “The Top 10 Reasons that Top 10 Lists are so Popular…” There’s a list for EVERYTHING! In my opinion, the reason they’re so appealing is that they pique our interest. Top 10 lists are quick to read and simple to understand. They let us know how we fare on a given topic, and on many occasions, provide useful information to the reader. So as my son would say in my post on motivation, “WHY NOT ONE MORE?”.

So here are my TOP 11 favorite pieces of equipment for Primary PE. I am updating this post with the most suggested addition to my original list: MUSIC!

Click on pictures of equipment to purchase today and start playing!

  1. Ion Audio Pathfinder | High Power All-Weather Rechargeable Speaker (Renewed)

Exercising with music stimulates the brain, elevates moods, and motivates! A win for all of us.

2. Swim NoodlesClick on noodles to purchase now!

Whether full size, cut in half or sliced into small pieces, swim noodles have been used regularly with our students. A quick search on the internet will yield countless tag games, teambuilding activities, and competitive challenges. You can’t beat the price as well. I recently found some for $1.00 apiece at Five Below. Check out a few tag games you can play in the post called Tag Games with Hoops and Noodles.

3. Jump Ropes
Click on jump ropes to purchase now!

It is my opinion that like riding a bike, every child should be able to jump rope. The jump rope is a dynamic piece of exercise equipment. It’s small enough to fit into your backpack, improves coordination and enhances cardiovascular fitness while strengthening muscles. Most importantly, jumping rope is FUN! You can cater your lessons to any level and differentiate for advanced jumpers with a variety of challenges.

4. Gator Skin BallsClick to purchase!

I remember ordering my first set of gator skin balls in 1995. I was impressed by their practicality, durability, and level of safety. They come in a variety of sizes and styles. Our favorites are the six-inch Gator Skin Softi Balls. We use them for throwing and catching drills, team handball, rolling challenges and drills, lead-up games for baseball (gator ball), and Ultimate catch. Without question, there are thousands of other ways to use this incredible ball.

5. Foam Activity Pins

Click on foam pins to purchase!

Foam activity pins, or foam cylinder as they’re commonly called, are safe, easy to store, and unbelievably useful. We most commonly use them as targets and goals in rolling, throwing and kicking activities. If you’re familiar with my Twitter feed (@justybubpe), you’ve without a doubt seen these gems being utilized to the extreme! Trust me when I tell you, you’ll quickly discover them to be one of your favorite pieces of equipment.

 6. Beanbags/Yarn Balls

Click on beanbags and yarn balls to purchase now!

Although they’re two different pieces of equipment, I’ve placed them on my list together. Both are excellent implements for younger and older students to practice their tossing, catching, sliding and rolling skills. Kindergarten through second grades, in particular, can practice tossing and catching with a partner confidently, without fear of getting bonked by a heavier, traditional ball. Yarn balls are also a great choice when using plastic scoops and introducing indoor games like bocce.

7. Scooter Boards – Click on scooter boards to purchase now!

Scooter boards make many appearances throughout the year in our PE classes.  Early on, we use them during our cooperative lessons. Later, we break them out for a variety of tag and invasion games like scooter soccer, scooter handball, and ultimate bucketball .

Finally, scooters have become an important fitness tool.  Check out this blog post  Scooter Fitness – 11 Exercises Using Scooter Boards. Be sure to instruct your students on scooter safety prior to use.

 8. Plastic Scoops– Click on scoops to purchase now!

For years, plastic scoops sat in my PE storage room gathering dust. It was until recently that I discovered numerous practical uses for them. I’ve discovered ways to sprinkle in the scoops throughout our PE curriculum. Check out a previous post called 8 Group Games Using SCOOPS in PE.

Here you will discover simple games to help students enhance their hand-eye coordination and tossing and catching fundamentals.

 9Hula Hoops – Click on hula hoops to purchase now!

Try placing a stack of hula hoops out for a station during one of your PE classes. Give the students simple instructions such as,  “How many ways can you and your group use the hula hoops?” You’ll be blown away by the jumping, spinning, building, and overall creativity that will ensue.

The versatility of a hoop is limitless. My students have used them as targets, bases, steering wheels, goals, obstacles, agility patterns and much more. Try a few of these games found within a post called 11 Hula Hoop Activities You May Not Know About.

10. Screen/Projector – Click on projector to purchase now!

Our screen and projector hanging in our gym have been a godsend. Great for our visual learners, our screen allows us to project our daily lessons, directions to an activity, timers, scoreboards, rubrics, and expectations. It works wonders for instant activities! Students enter the gymnasium and automatically check the screen for their first task of the class.

  11. Cones – Click on cones to purchase now!

We have cones of all colors, shapes, and sizes. Primarily used to make boundaries, cones can also serve as batting tees, megaphones, targets, and hurdles.  Bonus!  Turn the cone into a  sign holder by taping a rubber band to the back of your sign, and slip it over a cone!

Did any of my equipment make your list? Share your Top 5 with your PE teaching peers. Let us know what we might be missing.

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STAR WARS – Jedi Master Fitness Challenge

It’s time to take the JEDI Fitness Challenge called MAY the Force Be With You! Follow Yoda as he encourages students, teachers, and parents to strive to become a JEDI Master.

The training consists of two different workouts, each guaranteed to help build the strength, endurance, and wisdom necessary to be a JEDI Master. Each day you complete the exercises, log the level completed on your JEDI fitness calendar.

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Good luck! May the force be with you. -YODA

Click Star Wars Fitness Challenge for an editable copy of the challenge.

Click Star Wars Fitness Challenge PDF for a PDF version of the challenge.

Click JEDI Certificate 2 for a copy of the award certificate.

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REGARDING BOREDOM: Yesterday versus Today. We all need a “GO-TO.”

“I’m bored.”

“Then go be bored.” my mom would reply.

“I’m bored.”

“Well hello, Bored. I’m Edward. Nice to meet you,” my dad would say, before turning around to continue whatever he was doing.

My wife recalls her mom giving her a list of chores when she would whine about being bored.

“I’m bored.”

“Great! I need the laundry folded, the dish rack cleared, the baseboards wiped, the toilets cleaned, potatoes peeled, and the floors mopped.”

She said it was incredible how quickly she learned to never utter those two words!

Knowing we’d receive NO empathy and NO instant gratification from our parents, both my wife and I learned to handle boredom similarly.

We both had a “GO-TO.”

A GO-TO is an easily accessible, enjoyable activity to help counter boredom and boost creativity. It’s a magical remedy used to build your story, move beyond the virtual and live in real time. 

Now don’t get me wrong. I realize recent studies suggest boredom is necessary. It enables creativity and problem-solving by allowing the mind to wander and daydream. However, it is my belief, that rather than daydreaming, a GO-TO can offer the same benefits of problem-solving and creativity. A GO-TO is usually a reliable, easy activity, requiring little concentration, and allowing the mind to wander.

Growing up, I relied on three GO-TOs when I was bored.

  1. Backyard Basketball – When I was 10-years old, I remember my dad giving me and my brother an option. “Would you rather go to the circus in New York or have a basketball goal in the driveway?” I know it’s an apple to oranges choice, but that is honestly what it was. With little consultation with my brother, we decided on the basketball goal. For me, the goal became my primary GO-TO! When none of my friends were around, I’d head out to the driveway and shoot some hoops.
  2. Oh, how I loved my bike – Growing up in a small town in upstate New York, there was nothing like taking off on my bike and exploring the backroads. First on my 1981 Mongoose Chromoly BMX bike, then later in the 1980s, a white Mongoose Switchback mountain bike. Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 5.11.55 PMWhen I rode my bike, my mind would wander. I’d reflect on my relationships, my goals, my aspirations. This is very similar to the creative ideas people often report while they run. I have a colleague who says his best ideas are the ones he thinks of when he runs.Wiff
  3. Wiffle Ball – My third GO-TO required only a Wiffle ball and bat. Being a HUGE Yankees fan growing up, I spent countless hours in my backyard tossing the
    ball up and whacking it repeatedly. Prior to each hit, I would set up a scenario for added drama. “Two outs. Bottom of the ninth with Yankees trailing 5-2. Don Mattingly steps into the box with the bases jammed.” All this, of course, was said in my best Phil Rizzuto impression.

My wife would often take long road trips with her family. There were no iPads or DVD players with drop-down video screens in her late 70’s station wagon. Instead, to pass the time, she and her sisters were left to create their own amusement, their own GO-TO games. Here are her top three:

  1. Sing-a-longs­­- her oldest sister was a Girl Scout, so all the songs she learned she taught the family and they sang them over and over. Now our kids know them.
  2. Find it – Everyone was challenged to be the first to spot a deer OR windmill. The winner received an ice cream cone. Actually, everyone did, but it was a good incentive and back then, it didn’t take much to motivate a child.
  3. The Alphabet Game – Starting with the letter A, the girls would call out a category such as fruits and vegetables, TV shows, or cities and they would take turns naming an item from that category. Imagine the difficulty when they would get to letter X.

What our parents seemed to understand back then, is that boredom is necessary. Boredom is a tool to stimulate growth and creativity. It forces us to sit and ponder, to self-regulate, to focus, to think constructively.


Somewhere in time, boredom became taboo. It is falsely assumed if a child is bored, then parents or teachers “aren’t doing their jobs.” They feel the need to scramble and find some form of instant gratification for the child, eschewing the chance to problem solve for themselves.

Nowadays, in many situations, video games and other forms of screen time have become the default GO-TO. In a sense, they are the ONLY GO-TOs.

In my opinion, the primary way to find a GO-TO should involve a break from the blue screen. Not long ago kids would have “screen time” a designated amount of time to play a game or watch a video.

Now screens have become educator, babysitter, parent, sibling, friend, and dominator of time. It is as if every moment has to be filled with something. This is why we all (adults included) need our GO-TO.

A GO-TO should:

  • involve movement, hands-on experiences, or even getting lost in a novel
  • be organically developed by the individual who is experiencing boredom, something they truly enjoy
  • be a time to sit quietly, unplug and find solace


There is a difference between boredom and solace. Solace is what we strive for, it’s the feeling of being okay with the quiet and inactivity. Being able to sit in the silence, listen to our breathing and reflect. Sound impossible? Maybe, but if you can knock on solace’s door and walk in, it’s a game changer.

So challenge yourself by limiting your children’s device time and encouraging them to find their Go-To.

Tell them everything works better if you unplug it for a while, especially us.

Teach them it’s okay to be bored, to look up and count the cars on a passing train, or pick up a pencil and sketch, or just sit and embrace the solace. Like my mom said, just “Go be bored.”

Your screens won’t miss you. They aren’t going anywhere.


Ducharme, Jamie. “Being Bored Can Be Good for You-If You Do It Right. Here’s How.” Time, Time, 4 Jan. 2019,

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For the month of April, our students will discuss and participate in isometric fitness.

See below for an editable copy of April’s Macaroni Isometric Fitness Challenge.

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What are isometrics?

Isometrics are also known as static exercises. It’s a type of training where the body performs little or no movement while contracting muscle fibers. In other words, during isometric training, the joint angle and muscle length do not change during contraction. They are done in static positions, rather than through a range of motion like while performing concentric exercises.

Blueprint Fitness has listed 4 key benefits to isometric training as

  • Increased muscular endurance
  • Increased muscular strength
  • Toning
  • Time-saving has listed 11 benefits of isometric exercises. Click the link to find out more.

My goal is to introduce students and families to a variety of training methods in the ongoing process of promoting lifelong fitness. Isometric fitness is another way to add variety to our healthy habits. It takes up a limited amount of our precious time while using limited or no equipment.


In my classes, I’ve incorporated the macaroni timer.  This is a substitute for the traditional Mississippi count or the “one one-thousand, two one-thousand cadences. I remember playing American football as a child. The defense could only rush the quarterback after a 5 Mississippi count. The problem was Mississippi inevitably would lose a syllable or two resulting in a Missippi or a Missip or even a Sippi count. “1 Missippi, 2 Missippi, 3 Missip..”  (Oh, how I miss those days).

Often in class, our workouts challenge students to hold a static pose for a given amount of time. For example, “Complet a low plank for 15 seconds.” Without a second hand on our clock, we neede a way to count seconds independently. With the help of my first-grade students, we brainstormed words that could replace Mississippi. We finally agree on MACARONI for the following reasons.

  • Fun to say
  • Everybody loves macaroni
  • When said slowly (1 macaroni, 2 macaroni..), each macaroni is about one second in duration.

Ever since we’ve been using what we call, the macaroni timer. Here are my first graders in action using the macaroni count.

The Isometric Macaroni Fitness Challenge includes a fitness bank with twelve different isometric exercises. Participants taking the challenge must first cut out each of the exercises into twelve separate cards. Each day turn the cards over and spread them out so you cannot see the exercises. Randomly choose at least five cards. Complete each of the chosen exercises. Hold each exercise for the “macaroni count” listed on the bottom of the card. Count slowly and clearly – “1 macaroni, 2 macaroni, 3 macaroni…” Do not rush through the macaroni count. Feel free to increase the macaroni count for each exercise as the month progresses since you WILL get stronger!

Participants color the noodle on the calendar each day the Isometric Macaroni Challenge is taken. Signed calendars are turned in at the end of the month in order to receive an award certificate and a toe token.

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Click April’s Macaroni Isometrics for an editable copy of the fitness challenge.

Click April’s Macaroni Isometrics PDF for a PDF version of the fitness challenge.

Click Isometric Exercise Bank for an editable copy of the exercise bank cards.

Click Isometric Exercise Bank for a PDF version of the exercise bank cards.

Click April Isometric Certificate PDF for a PDF version of the award certificate

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10 Games – 2 “Must-Have” Pieces of Equipment for PE

We all have our favorite pieces of equipment used for our physical education classes. I documented mine in a previous post called, My 10 Favorite Pieces of Equipment for Primary PE. My list is growing and I’d like to pay homage to two items I use frequently, Foam Activity Pins, or cylinders as I’ll call them throughout this post, and Lollipop Paddles. Each is extremely versatile, beneficial for students of all ages and useful for a range of activities. Here are ten simple, fun, and adaptable games using foam cylinders and paddles. Each game is easy to set up and uses basic equipment. Enjoy!

Featured Equipment (click picture to purchase):

Lollipop Paddles

Foam Activity Pins


Operation Stack’em reminds me of the Hasbro game called Operation. Students need to be very steady in order for success. This cooperative challenge begins in pairs. Partners practice moving their cylinders around the room by pinching them between two swim noodles. Next, I challenge the partners to practice stacking and unstacking their cylinders. I give them two minutes to see how many times they can successfully do this. Then, the students get into a group of four where they are challenged to build a 4-stack. I have them repeat the 4-stack several times, encouraging them to mix up the order so that each student has an opportunity to place the fourth cylinder on top. Once this challenge is successfully completed, I allow each group to attempt a 5-stack, then a 6-stack, etc.


Set up:
Divide the gym in half with cones. Evenly space 6 poly spots behind each team’s baseline. Each spot is the foundation for each of the pillars.

Place 2 bins of cylinders (foam activity pins) on each sideline.
Put at least 2 pools or buckets in each of the 2 play areas. Sometimes I substitute basketball hoops or laundry baskets set a different height for each of the pools.

The Game:
Players try to accumulate as many tiers (cylinders) as possible to build their PILLARS OF POWER!
A complete pillar consists of 3 vertically stacked tiers.

2 ways to earn a tier:
– toss a ball into a pool
– catch a ball thrown by the opposing team
Any stacked tiers or completed pillars can be destroyed by the opposition. If this happens, any tier that is knocked on its side MUST be returned to the bins on the sideline. The round ends when a team successfully builds 6 PILLARS OF POWER or when the time expires.


Rules and set-up thoroughly discussed in the video.


Activity Procedures created by Chance Condran (@MrCondranHPE).

  • 2 students on each side of the court (Team A & Team B).
  • Team A serves from their end line to Team B
  • All players must stand on their end line for the serve.
  • Once the ball is served, players are free to move anywhere on their side of the court during gameplay.
  • The ball must go UNDER the “net” (jump rope)
  • Once the ball enters Team B’s side of the court, either player may strike the ball with their racquet or paddle. Their job is to hit the ball back to the opposing side.
  • Each player is allowed a maximum of two hits/touches every time the ball comes to their side. For example, one hit/touch to block the ball (if needed) and another hit to strike it back to the opposing side.
  • Players keep rallying back and forth until a point is scored.
  • Each team takes turns serving.
  • Play to 5 points, shake hands, switch sides & play again!

How to Score Points:

  • Hit the ball past opponent’s end line = 1 point for your team
  • Hit the ball out of bounds (on either side) = 1 point for the opposition
  • Hit ball over the net/rope = 1 point for the opposition
  • Knock over the net/rope with the ball or racquet = 1 point for the opposition




Divide the gym into quadrants. I always have a discussion on the prefix quad while explaining the game. Each quadrant houses one of four teams. Each team lines up 4 foam cylinders across the back of their quadrant. When the game begins, students use foam paddles to strike foam balls, attempting to knock over any of the opposing teams’ cylinders. The balls must be stuck in any one of the following ways:

  • Off a bounce
  • Tossed in the air, then struck
  • Off the ground

Balls cannot be kicked or thrown. When a team loses all of its cylinders, they immediately join the team to their right. The last team with cylinders wins the round.


Using foam paddles as candle holders and foam cylinders as candles, students explore a dark cave in search of artifacts and secret messages on the walls. The goal is to keep the candle lit while completing a variety of tasks. If the candle falls off the holder, the student must walk to the teacher or a student holding a torch (noodle) to relight her candle. This is a great opportunity for students to use their imagination while working on balance and body control.


Toss 12 had been shared more than any other game I’ve posted on Twitter (@justybubpe). I feel it’s because of its simplicity, basic equipment, and its adaptability for all grade levels.

Here are the simple instructions.

The Loner 1 Point – Ball lands in hoop / Cylinder remains standing

The Deuce – 2 Points – Cylinder falls / Ball stops outside hoop

The Ultimate – 3 Points – Cylinder falls and the ball stops inside hoop

To win, a player must score exactly 12.


This is a simple relay race that can be adapted for any grade level.

Rolling, tossing, catching, and hustle all rolled up into one game.

  • 1 point for knocking over the pin
  • HUSTLE after the ball
  • 1 bonus point for catching a ball tossed by your partner.

How many points can you score in two minutes?


The video pretty much explains the activity. I find this to be a great way to work on the underhand serving motion. Students are challenged to stabilize the non-dominant hand while striking the bottom of the cylinder.  Students must then attempt to catch the cylinder.


I’m always searching for ways for my students to use manipulatives to enhance their patience and body control. The paddle pin relay does just that. In pairs, students take turns carrying a cylinder across the floor by pinching it between two paddles, then carefully placing it on a spot. For increased difficulty, add a beanbag to the top of the cylinder. Students tally the number of times they place the cylinder on the spot in a certain amount of time.

Do you use lollipop paddles and/or foam activity pins? If so, I’d love to learn some of your favorite games. Please feel free to post them in the comments section.

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Subscribe to my Youtube Channel for over 100 useful games for physical education!

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