Top 10 lists are everywhere. They catch your eye, draw you in, and give you quick information. Perfect for our busy lifestyles and my waning attention span. Walking through a sporting goods store, a banner titled: “10 Tricks to Make Your Camping Trip a Success” caught my eye. Camping was not part of our vacation plans, but after perusing the list, I was ready to pitch a tent anytime! Magazines are loaded with such lists including this one I just read in a health magazine; “Top 10 Male Health Problems…” Now I should have known better but I couldn’t resist. Even though I knew the list would scare the heck out of me, I HAD TO KNOW! Am I eating the top 10 healthiest fruits on the planet? Not according to healthline.com. I’m only batting 20%. Do I drive one of the top 10 most fuel-efficient cars? Nope! Not even close according to Consumer Reports. In fact, in the same report, I learned that I drive one of the top 20 “biggest gas guzzlers.”
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.
With that goal in mind, I thought I’d jump in on the action and share my Top 10 Must-have Pieces of Equipment for Primary Physical Education. The intention of my list is twofold. First, I’d like to share what has been helpful to me and my colleagues who share more than 70 years of combined experience. Second, I would like YOU to share how my list compares to yours! Don’t hesitate to share your top 10 must-have pieces of equipment in the comments. Click on pictures of equipment to purchase today and start playing!
1. 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.
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.
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 hand ball, 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.
4. Foam Activity Pins
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.
5. Beanbags/Yarn Balls
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.
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 a main fitness tool. Check out this blog post called Scooter Fitness – 11 Exercises Using Scooter Boards. Be sure to instruct your students on scooter safety prior to use.
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.
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.
Our screen and projector hanging in our gym has 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.
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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