5 Thanksgiving Themed PE Fitness Stations

If a holiday is near, you can bet that my students will be doing fun holiday themed fitness stations.

By Thanksgiving, we have already worked on a number of skills (throwing, catching, soccer dribbling, and basketball shooting) and had lots of practice with fitness basics.  Below you will find some creative ideas for some Thanksgiving holiday themed fitness stations!

1. Frozen Turkey Shoot

Teacher will talk about going to the grocery store and getting a frozen turkey (Coated-Foam Ball) and putting it in the grocery basket.  We don’t have any grocery carts, so we put our turkey in laundry baskets otherwise the small cadet bags work really well too. To shoot, students must balance on their bottom while sitting on a poly spot.  Once in place and balanced, the student will shoot the ball toward the basket.  If the student can make 5 shots, he/she can take a step back from the basket.

2. Food Group Fitness Relay

Students work with a partner for this activity.  Each partner will begin on one side of a playing area and food cards (NutriPlay™ Nutrition Cards) will be placed face down on the other side of the space.  When the activity begins, the pairs will attempt to collect at least two foods from each food group before time is up.  Partner A will go and collect one card and return it to the starting spot.  Partner B will then take his/her turn.

While the partner is gone, the partner who is waiting will perform a fitness activity based on the food group that he/she brought back the round before (e.g. dairy= jumping jacks, vegetables= push-up planks, fruits= crab kicks, protein= rocket jumps, and grains= knee curl-ups).  The students will continue taking turns while attempting to complete the task.  If a third food from a food group is selected, it must be returned when the other partner goes back to get a new card.  If any pair completes the task, they will replace the food cards and try it again.

Variation: To add another sport skill, have the partner who is collecting dribble a soccer ball to the other side and trap the ball on the nutrition card.

3. Hot Biscuits and Gravy

Students will use scoops and a ball  (Rainbow® UltraCatch™ Scoops Sets) for this activity.  The students will imagine that the balls are hot biscuits right out of the oven.  They must cool them off by tossing them back and forth between gravy bowls (scoop).  After 5 tosses, the partners will switch jobs.  Remind students that they can move the gravy boat to help their partner be successful.  For younger students, only allow underhanded scoop tosses or use Rainbow® UltraCatch™ Jumbo Scoop Sets.

4. Stuff the Turkey

Students will work with a partner for this activity.  They will stand behind a hula hoop and hold a serving spoon, we use a 2 foot noddle piece (FUNoodles™), in their hands.  When the activity begins, they will move to the matching hula hoop in front of them and collect one piece of stuffing (small noodle piece) out of that hoop using the serving spoon like a hockey stick.  When the stuffing has been moved to the starting hoop then the partners will continue the process until all of the stuffing is in the starting hoop.

Next, the partners will stuff all of the stuffing into a turkey (plastic grocery bag).  When the turkey is stuffed, one partner will tie a loose knot in the bag using the handles and then the partners will begin tenderizing the turkey by hitting it back and forth like they are playing volleyball.  The students will see how many consecutive hits they can make before the turkey hits the floor.

To save time, the teacher can stuff turkeys ahead of time and when all of the stuffing is gathered, the students can just use the pre-stuffed turkeys for tenderizing.

5. Hunt and Gather

The teacher will tell a story about how the Native Americans and Pilgrims had to hunt and gather food for their Thanksgiving Day meal.  They did not have grocery stores so they had to work hard to get what they needed.  For this activity, the students will set up different targets on one end of the playing area (a variety of items can be used as targets including bowling pins, stuffed animals, cones, etc.). 

Once the items are set up, the students will go to a boundary line on the other side of the space and get one yarn ball or coated-foam ball. The objective is to knock down as many targets as possible as a team.   When all of the balls have been thrown, the students will collect the balls and reset the targets for another round.  This will continue until time has expired. 

Variations: For more fun, use boxes or mats to change the levels of the targets.  To integrate math, assign point values to various targets and have the students add up the total for each round.  Remind all students to throw (however designated) with proper technique.

Bonus: NutriPlay BeneFIT Game

This is a great game to teach students about the importance of selecting healthy foods. The game comes with an ingredient list. Students must race to collect the foods on their shopping list. The back of the cards share how the foods selected benefit the body. Take a look at the video below for more details on how to play the game.

What are you favorite holiday or Thanksgiving-themed activities?

Chad is the Safe Routes to School Coordinator for Chesapeake Public Schools in Chesapeake, VA. Previously, he was a Physical Education Teacher at Deep Creek Elementary in Chesapeake, VA. Chad was the 2011 National Physical Education Teacher of the Year and the 2009 VAHPERD Elementary Teacher of the Year.

Chad is the Safe Routes to School Coordinator for Chesapeake Public Schools in Chesapeake, VA. Previously, he was a Physical Education Teacher at Deep Creek Elementary in Chesapeake, VA. Chad was the 2011 National Physical Education Teacher of the Year and the 2009 VAHPERD Elementary Teacher of the Year.

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