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A Feast of Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Ideas for Your School!

Posted 11 months ago - by Jason Gemberling

Looking for a fun and fit way to send your students home for Thanksgiving Break this year?  Try a trot, a Turkey Trot that is! 

This is a fun event that can be done at any age level and can be done simply, or if you are game, quite extravagantly. Depending on the grade level you are teaching, you can decide the distance your students will run or walk.  You will also need to decide if you want this event to be a true race or more of a fun event. 

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Turkey Trot Ideas: 

 1. A True Race

I have done this as a true race when I taught elementary school students for just my 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students and they trotted for a mile.  Each grade raced separately and the first place boy and girl won a frozen turkey, second place won a pumpkin pie, and third place a box of stuffing. Use your imagination to decide your awards!

2. For Fun

If you want this to be a fun event, consider having some of your teachers dress up as turkeys, boxes of stuffing, Pilgrims, or whatever Thanksgiving costume they want, and have them trot along with your students.  Nothing gets kids more excited than seeing their teachers (and administrators) trotting along with them as they participate in the fun! 

3. Get Parents Involved

I encourage you to get parents involved as well. Not only to help you with logistics, but also to encourage them to get active with their children.  AND, if you want to make the event really big, parents are fantastic helpers! 

4. Trot + Thanksgiving Dinner

While thinking about writing this blog, I had another thought come to mind that I may try to make a reality for Thanksgiving 2017.  I teach in a very rural school district, with a number of economically disadvantaged students, so why not take the last day of school and make it a “Fit Family Turkey Trot and Thanksgiving Dinner?” I know I have students that don’t get the full Thanksgiving feast, so my thought is to get in contact with our Director of Food Service and put together a home cooked Thanksgiving Feast that will follow a Turkey Trot 5k run/walk. This may be a huge endeavor, but with proper planning, it could become a huge success and give all of my students and their families the opportunity to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together. 

I hope that if any of you try a trot, you make sure to keep the event fun for every student and get as many stakeholders involved as possible!  And if you do try a trot, please share how you ran your event!  I love hearing how others do things like this to get new and fresh ideas!  Happy Trotting!


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Holiday-Themed Stations for Fitness and Fun!

Posted 1 year ago - by Chad Triolet

Staying active and fit during the winter months can be a challenge.  As a physical education teacher, I always enjoyed opportunities to tap into themed activities that made fitness fun.  Below are some creative station ideas that challenge student fitness levels and teamwork.


1. Build a Snow Fort

Equipment: Cones, empty boxes or pool noodles (the boxes can make larger forts)

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Skills: Balance, Teamwork, Creativity

How it Works: Students will collect one box or pool noodle at a time and carry it across the bridge (balance beam) over the frozen river (a mat) to the construction site.  The students will then use the building material to create a snow fort made of the boxes and cones.  When the task is completed, the teacher can take photos of the students with their fort (optional) and then students will clean up the equipment for the next group.


2. Sleigh Pull

Equipment: Old blankets

Skills: Teamwork, Muscular strength (legs and arms)

How it Works: Students will work in groups of 3-5.  One person will get to ride on the sleigh (blanket), while the other students pull the sleigh across the floor to the other side of the gym.  When the students make it across the gym, they will switch the rider and continue the activity back to the other side of the gym.  The student who is riding must lay on belly with arms keeping his/her head off the floor.  When every student has had a ride, then each student can get a second turn.


3. Over the River

Equipment: Tug of war ropes/heavy duty rope, carpet squares, cones

Skill: Muscular strength (core and arms)

How it Works: To get over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, students will need to pull their way across the raging river (gym floor).  Using one or more rope stretched across the floor students will sit on a carpet square (their boat) and pull from one side to the other using a hand over hand pull.  The rope can be anchored to one wall or two students can pull toward each other to move across the floor.  More than one student can pull at a time provided that there is some space between each child.  If students need assistance, they can use their feet to help move across the floor.  Remind students that the carpet squares should be carpet side down (they slide much easier).  For safety reasons, no student should stand on the carpet squares.

4. Ice Skating

Equipment: Paper plates or felt squares

Skills: Balance, Muscular strength (legs), Coordination

How it Works: Each student will get two paper plates or felt squares (skates) and lay them on the floor.  They will place their feet on the skates and attempt to slide their feet across the gym floor (frozen pond).  The teacher can provide challenges for each trip across the pond while skating (i.e. – spins, going backward, speed skating, etc.) to make the trip across the ice more fun. 



5. Snowball Target Practice

Equipment: Yarn balls, bowling pins and/or stuffed animals

Skills: Throwing at a stationary target, teamwork

How it Works: To set up, place the targets on one end of the playing area.  The target heights can be varied to add a challenge for the students by using mats, buckets, boxes, etc. Use a variety of targets to make the activity more interesting (stuffed animals, bowling pins, etc.).  On the other end of the space, place several different containers (i.e. – buckets) with 40+ yarn balls (snowballs) that the students will use to throw at the targets.  Each student may pick up only one yarn ball at a time to throw at the targets.  In the center of the space, the teacher will place a line of cones that no player may cross when throwing the snowballs (this line can be moved closer to or further away from the targets based on student skill levels).  When the activity begins, the objective of the activity is to score as many points in one round working together as a team to knock down the targets.  After each round, the students will count the number of targets that were hit. 

To add a math component, certain targets can be designated with different values (i.e. – stuffed animals are worth 3 points each).  When the targets are knocked down the students will count up the point values for the targets that were knocked down.


These station ideas are fun ways to work on movement skills, teamwork, and improve fitness.  You are more than welcome to modify them to meet the needs of your students.  If you have a great station idea, please feel free to share it in the comments!  Happy Holidays!!


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5 Thanksgiving Fitness Stations

Posted 1 year ago - by Chad Triolet

If a holiday is near, you can bet that my students will be doing fun holiday-themed fitness/skill 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-themed fun!

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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 baskets, so we’ll try to put our turkey in the laundry baskets.  To shoot, student 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 may move further 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.

What are you favorite holiday or Thanksgiving-themed activities?


Continue reading the Gopher PE Blog for more great ideas, trends, or tips!

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  • Halloween is quickly approaching and if your students are like mine, they are starting to get squirrely and excited.  Not to mention their increase in sugar intake from CANDY!!!! 
  • In order to embrace their enthusiasm and not go “crazy” myself, I like to incorporate a few activities into my curriculum that will not only celebrate this special time of year but get them moving. 


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3 Spooky Fun PE activities for Grades K-12!

1. Spider Web Team Challenge: 

Objective: Pass each student from one side of the web to the other without touching the web.  

I use the Spider's Web Team Challenge™ from Gopher for this activity. 


2. Zombie Tag:

Objective: Be the last "human" remaining.

How to Play:  Turn out the lights in the gym (mine has a few emergenc lights, so it doesn't get too dark... safety first!). Then, play spooky music. Everyone starts out as a "human" and walks (no running!) around the designated space (I recommend the basketball court). If a "zombie" taps a student on the shoulder, both arms go up in front of them and they are now a zombie. The zombies walk around with their arms up trying to tag the remaining humans. I am the first zombie to start the game off. I only tag one studenta nd get out of the game and monitor. Zombie tag runs itself from tht point on. Once you see that all students are now zombies, the game is over. 



3. Glow in the Dark Ball Toss:

Objective: Be the 1st team to get the glow in the dark ball(s) from one end of the gym to the other using parachutes (or sheets), without dropping the balls.

How to Play: Students get into teams of 8-12. Half of the students use 1 parachute, and the other half uses another. They work together, using the parachutes, to catapult the glow in the dark balls to the parachute in front of them. Students may not use their hands to catch the balls. If the ball drops on the floor, the team must start back at the starting line.

You can use the FireFly™ Flow in the Dark Dodgeballs and 6" or 12" diameter Parachutes for this activity.


Check our more great Halloween Games & Activities


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