4 Fun Fitness PE Activities!

Fitness Words

As promised in my last blog, the following are fun fitness PE activities to teach students about fitness and provide meaningful fitness experiences. Find many of these fun fitness PE activities and more for free at Dynamic PE ASAP.

Fitness Challenges

Using 30-second intervals, the teacher leads the class through a variety of activities. Typically, cardiovascular activities are alternated with activities for muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility.

Example for a lesson with flexibility emphasis. Perform each for 30 seconds.

  1. Walking
  2. Abdominal challenges
  3. Locomotor movement (student choice)
  4. Flexibility challenges
  5. Flexibility content
  6. Push-up challenges
  7. Jogging
  8. Flexibility activities/review

Repeat the sequence twice for an 8-minute routine (which works well in a 30-minute lesson). This activity works well all the way from kindergarten to high school. If lessons are longer, this activity can be revisited in elementary schools. In middle and high schools, interval lengths could be increased which opens the door for great discussion on overload and progression principles. Fitness Challenges work particularly well at the beginning of the year or when you want to teach new challenges. You can also integrate 30 second tag games rather than 30 seconds of the locomotor activities.

Crab Walk
Hexagon Hustle

  • Use 6 cones to outline a hexagon inside the teaching area. On each cone is a sign (see example).
  • When the interval music is on (usually it’s a 30/30 interval with 30 seconds of music and 30 seconds of silence), students move around the hexagon performing the activities on the signs.
  • As they move, they read the sign which indicates the hustle activity they are to perform as they approach the next cone.
  • When the music is off, the teacher provides activities from either flexibility, abdominal strength, or muscular strength/endurance.
  • After the 30 seconds of silence, the music automatically starts and students continue around the hexagon.

This works well for 8-10 minutes. For high school students, increase the distance between the cones and increase the interval time to 45-60 seconds. Signs on both sides of the cones allows you to alternate the direction and provide a variety of activities. 

Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger Hunt

  • In small groups of 4-6, provide students with a Scavenger Hunt card (see image) and an item number to start on. This prevents all groups doing the same activity. Try starting with 45/5 (45 seconds of music, 5 seconds of silence) interval music.
  • When the music goes off, this signals groups to move to the next item on the list. Notice, the activities do not include repetitions or times (other than how long to hold each stretch). This avoids the “we’re done” syndrome from students. They will be working the entire 45 seconds (quality, not quantity).

As with other routines, halfway through the activity, stop the class to discuss the fitness concept of the day.

Racetrack Fitness

  • Students are arranged using partners (Classroom Management: The Foundation of Effective Instruction)
  • In the middle—also known as “the pit” – are 6-8 signs, each with a different activity on it.
  • Partner A reports to the pit and performs the first activity on the card. Partner B performs a locomotor activity of his/her choosing around the perimeter of the activity space (make this one lap or two).
  • When finished with the assigned number of laps, Partner B gives Partner A a high-five, and they switch places.
  • After a lap or two, Partner A goes back to the middle and Partner B returns to going around the perimeter.
  • This process continues until both partners complete all activities on the card.

I typically do this activity with continuous music. Halfway through I will stop the class and have a short discussion of the concept of the day. If desired, this activity could be done with an interval music with partners switching each time the music goes off. In this instance, a 30/10 interval might be in order. During the 10 seconds of silence, partners switch. You can also put mats in the pit for activities if desired, especially for older students.

These are just a few of the countless fitness routines and PE activities you can use or create to integrate the strategies to teach them about fitness, make fitness fun, and provide them with meaningful fitness experiences.

Find more fitness lesson plans for free atDynamic PE ASAP.

Sources:
Pangrazi, R.P. & Beighle A. (2015). Dynamic Physical Education for Elementary School Children (18th ed.) San Francisco: Pearson.

Darst, P., Pangrazi, R.P. Brusseau, T., & Erwin, H. (2015). Dynamic Physical Education for Secondary School Students (8th ed.). San Francisco: Pearson.

Aaron is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion at the University of Kentucky. He is a trainer for physical education faculty, after-school staff, early child care staff and youth sport coaches and has co-authored several national documents including CDC's Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool and NASPE's Comprehensive School Physical Activity Promotion: A Position Statement. Beighle is the co-author of four books; Promoting Physical Activity and Health in the Classroom, Pedometer Power, Pedometer Power 2nd ed., Dynamic Physical Education for Elementary School Children. He's also served on the National Physical Activity Plan Education Sector Committee and the NASPE Task Force.

Aaron is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion at the University of Kentucky. He is a trainer for physical education faculty, after-school staff, early child care staff and youth sport coaches and has co-authored several national documents including CDC's Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool and NASPE's Comprehensive School Physical Activity Promotion: A Position Statement. Beighle is the co-author of four books; Promoting Physical Activity and Health in the Classroom, Pedometer Power, Pedometer Power 2nd ed., Dynamic Physical Education for Elementary School Children. He's also served on the National Physical Activity Plan Education Sector Committee and the NASPE Task Force.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Hi
    I’m just reaching out to anyone I can for advice and ideas. Hoping I could get some from you. I recently started teaching elementary and middle school PE at an alternative therapeutic school. It has been very challenging to come up with activities that these kids actually want to do. They are very unmotivated and physical contact at the school is something that is not allowed. Classes are very small. Can range from like 4-8 or 9 kids because some kids don’t even make it to PE for acting inappropriately previously in the day or even day before. I guess I’m just asking if I had any ideas? Preferably none competitive because they can get out of hand with who wins and who doesn’t, as well as teams not being fair. Fitness days are a atruggle bc they just don’t want to do anything really. ANY IDEAS, ACTIVITIES, GAMES would help.
    Thanks
    Susan Toussaint
    CAE

    • Thank you for your message. Sounds like you have a challenging yet tremendously satisfying position working with a population that needs you more than most. Have you considered cooperative activities in which they all work together to accomplish a task? This could potentially help them learn some very valuable social skills like listening, cooperating, leading, following, compromise, etc. Granted, those would probably have to be learned but it might be worth looking into. If you think this is worth a shot, I can send you some cooperative activities from our book “Dynamic Physical Education for Elementary School Children”.

      Please let me know. I’ll help anyway that I can.

    • I worked in a setting like that and I used to require at least 15 minutes of their time and I used the “trouble makers” as team leaders, or gave them specific tasks to help get more buy in. As for activities I use “fun” variations of regular games. Such as Paramedic Dodgeball. This gives them continuous play but adds an empathetic response to keep playing. Just a suggestion, this works for me.

  2. Here’s some things I used. Breathing exercises. They looked at me weirdly when I started, but they got it. We used is a stress relief and combined it with some stretching. We did some additional stretching on the floor. Core fitness. That was well received – sit ups, push ups, jumping jacks. You might try bite sized yoga, or thai chi. One thing that surprised me was simple marching and chanting in unison. We alternate with clapping as they go. It was fun to watch them learn to work together in the same rhythm. I also used a segment where one does dance step and the others learn it. Short bits.

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