Ideas For Teaching Physical Education


A physical education teachers leads her students through stretching exercises.Since the time of the ancient Greeks, educators have understood the importance of teaching physical education. The Greeks believed physical health impacts mental health, something modern educational research has proven true. 

Studies have shown that children need about 60 minutes of daily activity to maintain good health and improve academic performance. Unfortunately, most kids in the United States don’t reach that goal. That’s where teachers can make a difference.

It’s never too early to start teaching students the importance of staying active. That’s why Fresno Pacific University offers a professional development course for K-6 teachers that focuses on teaching physical education in elementary school.

Ideas for a Physical Education Curriculum

Getting kids on the move is the worthwhile goal of teaching physical education. But which activities are best? Teachers must find options that engage students without placing them in danger of injury. It’s also helpful to have activities in the form of games that make PE more exciting and foster teamwork and collaboration.

Outdoor PE Games

Some of the fun outdoor PE games include:

  • Freeze tag: Just like regular tag, but students must freeze when touched.
  • Crazy hoops: Teams work together to collect colored bean bags from a central location and then bring them back to drop into the team’s hoop.
  • Frisbee golf: Students attempt to throw their Frisbee into baskets or buckets around the course using foam Frisbees.
  • Hopscotch: This simple classic gets kids moving and helps them learn balance.
  • Bean Bag relay: Teams compete in a relay race around a track, just like the Olympics. Except instead of passing a baton from one runner to the next, they pass bean bags.

Indoor PE Games

Most teachers will likely find themselves “stuck” indoors, but there are plenty of options for teaching physical education inside, too. 

And Freeze!

This is like musical chairs, except without the chairs. The teacher first explains to students what it means to “freeze” in place. They then play music, encouraging students to move and dance around as they spread out. When the music stops, they must freeze until the music starts again.

What Time Is It, Fox?

This game works well in a gym or outside. It calls on students to use a variety of motor skills. Everyone stands in a line, an arm’s width apart. One student plays the “fox.” Much like “Simon Says,” no one moves until the fox gives instructions. The game begins with the fox saying, “1, 2, 3,” and then the class asks together, “What time is it, fox?” The fox replies with one of the following:

  • It’s walking time 
  • It’s running time
  • It’s hopping time
  • It’s jumping time
  • It’s leaping time
  • It’s skipping time 
  • It’s galloping time

The class does as told until the fox yells, “Stop.” The game repeats until the end, when the fox replies, “It’s hunting time,” and chases the students. They must freeze when touched or they are out if they run outside the game’s boundaries.

Trust Me

Trust Me builds teamwork and trust between students. Everyone pairs up with a fellow student. One partner is blindfolded. The other person then guides them safely through an obstacle course by giving them directions such as, “Take three giant steps forward” or, “Take one step and turn right.” The game fosters teamwork and promotes movement.

Fresno Pacific Physical Education Courses

Understanding the importance of physical education, Fresno Pacific University offers a variety of physical education certificates for PE teachers. They include Coaching for Excellence, Strength and Conditioning and Social Emotional Learning.

The university also offers individual courses on different aspects of teaching physical education. They include: 

  • Teaching Lifetime Fitness
  • Teaching Indoor Team Sports
  • Teaching Outdoor Team Sports
  • Spectrum of Teaching Styles for PE
  • SEL through Sports and Physical Education

The Teaching Elementary Physical Education course focuses on providing PE teaching skills to K-6 educators. In the online course, they learn about numerous lead-up and lesson-focused games. They also study physical education-related topics such as movement learning, curriculum planning, legal liability and class management.


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