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?”.
Click on pictures of equipment to purchase today and start playing!
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.
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 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
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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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“Then go be bored.” my mom would reply.
“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.
“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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.