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Spring is here, and it’s time to get your students moving and grooving on the playground! Developing physical literacy has never been more fun, and we’ve got three exciting activities perfect for K-7 students. Let’s embrace the sunny weather and keep our students active and engaged!

  1. Softball Diamond Locomotor Fun: Use your softball diamond to warm students up and develop their locomotor skills. Create the following sequence of movements: run forward to first base, side-shuffle to second base, mini-step backward to third base, and side-shuffle to home base. Take it up a notch with a “Follow the Leader” game, where the leader changes movements at each base. It’s fun and challenging!
  2. Playground Circuits Adventure: Transform your playground into a circuit of physical activities. Get creative with balance walks on beams, push-ups on benches, hanging from bars, and even running up the slide! Let students enjoy a themed circuit or an exciting “Amazing Race” obstacle course. Teamwork and excitement are guaranteed!
  3. Playground Games Galore: Introduce students to various playground games that enhance their physical literacy. Play tag on the structure or challenge them to traverse the playground without touching the ground. Let their imaginations run wild during recess or lunch breaks! And don’t forget classic games like four square, hopscotch, kickball, gaga ball, British Bulldog, and red Rover – building physical skills and friendships!

Ready for more playground activity ideas? Download our Developing Physical Literacy on the Playground poster! Visit our Indigenous resources, classroom resources, and school resources webpages for more activities, like our new Playground Resource, that will empower you as an educator in promoting physical literacy and well-being among your students.

Let’s make this spring an active and joyful one for all our K-7 learners. Happy playing!

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a holistic approach to education that recognizes the importance of nurturing students’ emotional and social well-being alongside their academic development. Integrating SEL into the school day can create a more supportive and inclusive learning environment where students feel valued, respected, and safe.

Did you know SEL can be incorporated into physical activity and physical literacy development?! This blog provides practical tips from PLAYBuilder (a digital platform with 1,000+ activities, free to BC educators!) on incorporating SEL into your students’ physical literacy and physical activity development.

Cultivate Cooperation in Physical Play

Cooperation is an essential aspect of personal and social responsibility. By encouraging cooperation during physical play, teachers can foster teamwork, effective communication, and problem-solving skills in their students.

Encourage Students to Be Helpers

Promoting a culture of helping others during physical activities nurtures empathy, compassion, and a sense of community among students. By seeing the positive impact of their actions on others, students will develop a deeper understanding of the value of social-emotional skills.

Foster Empathy Through Group Activities

Incorporating group activities that encourage students to focus on others can enhance their emotional intelligence and strengthen their relationships with peers.

Cooperation, helping others, and focusing on the well-being of peers not only enhance physical literacy but also contribute to the growth of socially responsible and empathetic individuals.

Tips like those mentioned above are available through the Grade 1-7 lesson plans on PLAYBuilder — a free digital platform for BC educators with over 1,000+ activities.

Even better? Some activities from PHE Canada specifically encourage social-emotional learning on PLAYBuilder, like this one!:

SEL Activity – Mindful Breathing

Grade Levels: K – 6

Curriculum Outcome: Describe and assess strategies for promoting mental well-being (Mental Well-being)

Equipment: Beanbags

Setup: None

Starter Activity: Balancing Beanbags

Get the students moving around the playing space while balancing beanbags on various body parts, such as their head, shoulder, foot, etc. To challenge them, ask them to move at different levels, directions, and speeds – high, low, zig-zag, backward, slow motion, etc.

Main Activity: Mindful Breathing with Beanbags

  1. Have the students find a comfortable spot to stand or sit.
  2. Each student places a beanbag in front of them on the floor or holds it in their hand if they are standing.
  3. Instruct the students to trace their fingers around the beanbag, starting at the top and following a speed set by your demonstration.
  4. While moving their fingers along the sides, students should breathe in, and when moving their fingers across the top and bottom, students should breathe out.
  5. Encourage the students to focus on their breath and pay attention to their belly, shoulder, and neck movements during inhalation and exhalation.
  6. Alter the speed of tracing the beanbag, switching between long and fast breaths. Ask the students how they felt when taking short, sharp breaths compared to longer, more focused breaths.
  7. Slow down the breathing exercise, and encourage the students to stop tracing their beanbags. Ask them to close their eyes and imagine something they are grateful for or their favourite place while practicing mindful breathing.

Modifications: Soft Ball Breathing

Instead of beanbags, students can use soft balls and slowly squeeze them as they inhale, releasing them as they exhale.

Wrap-up Activity: Sharing Emotions and Thoughts

  1. Allow the students time to resume movement. They should start by wiggling their fingers and toes, move to their wrists and ankles, and gradually involve their entire body.
  2. Form a circle and invite the students to share their emotions, feelings, or thoughts after the mindful breathing session.
  3. Discuss the positive impacts of incorporating mindfulness into their daily lives, such as stress management, positive self-talk, relaxation, and gratitude.
  4. Encourage discussions on the following questions:
    • How can mindfulness help your physical and mental health?
    • Did breathing with the beanbag change your mood?
    • How did choosing something you are grateful for or a favourite place help with your mindful breathing?
    • In what ways can mindfulness improve your relationships?
    • What else can you do to practice mindfulness (e.g., journaling, speaking with a trusted friend or adult, spending time in nature)?

For more activities focusing on social-emotional learning, sign up for PLAYBuilder today or watch this TED Talk from Caige Jambor.

Among the essential aspects of physical literacy, locomotor skills are crucial as they enable students to engage in various physical activities throughout their lives.

In this blog post, we will explore actionable items to enhance locomotor skills and encourage indoor and outdoor physical activity.

The Importance of Locomotor Skills

Locomotor skills involve moving the body from one place to another and serve as building blocks for various physical activities. Students with proficient locomotor skills can easily participate in sports, games, and recreational activities promoting a lifetime of active living. To ensure students’ well-rounded development, they should be exposed to different environments, such as indoor gyms, outdoor fields, water, ice, and air.

Ways to Develop Locomotor Skills

  1. Explore Different Directions and Speeds: Help students master locomotor skills in various directions – forward, backward, and sideways. Additionally, teach them to control their speed, going slow, fast, stopping, starting, and even freezing. Practice these variations to enhance their overall movement capabilities.
  2. Vary the Levels: Engage students in moving at different heights, from staying low to the ground to reaching their full height. This variation enhances balance, coordination, and body awareness. For example, encourage hopping low and fast or hopping as tall as possible.
  3. Implement a Learning Sequence: Follow an effective learning sequence for teaching locomotor skills. Begin with isolating the skill, allowing students to focus on mastering it step by step. For instance, start with simply hopping on one foot and landing on the same foot repeatedly. Then, add variety by challenging them to hop forward, backward, and sideways using both feet.
  4. Incorporate Games and Activities: Once students have grasped the locomotor skills, incorporate them into fun games and activities—design obstacle courses or relay races that require hopping, running, and other locomotor movements. Using the skills in these exciting contexts automates their use and makes the learning experience enjoyable.

By providing a diverse range of activities, exploring different environments, and following a structured learning sequence, we empower our students to become confident movers and engage in many physical activities. 

Learn more about locomotor skills in our Building Locomotor Skills resource, and find locomotor cues on PLAYBuilder!

Looking for exciting and inclusive activities that utilize the equipment already available in your gym? With just soccer balls and large cones or pylons, you can create a dynamic and engaging physical education experience that fosters teamwork, improves aim, and enhances fundamental movement skills. 

Get ready to utilize your gym equipment to the fullest as we explore these cone activities perfect for any classroom or gymnasium setting! Try these three activities from PLAYBuilder to get you started—they’re great for grades K-7 with some tailoring to your student’s abilities!: 

  1. Cone Skip Relay: Let the fun begin with the Cone Skip Relay! Divide your students into groups of three or four and set up six cones in a line, leaving a meter of space between each one. Instruct the first participant in each group to skip around the cones and then run back to their team. Waiting participants can practice skipping on the spot as the relay continues, ensuring continuous movement and active participation!
  2. Kick at the Cone: Boost your students’ kicking skills and accuracy with the Kick at the Cone activity. Provide each participant with a soccer ball and set up large cones or pylons as targets. Assign each student a target cone and have them stand 2-3 meters away from it. Instruct them to kick the ball at their designated cone, aiming for accuracy. Challenge their skills by increasing the distance or adding a competitive element with a time limit or first-to-five format.
  3. Guard the Cone: Promote passing, trapping, and shooting abilities with the Guard the Cone game. Create groups of 5 or 6 students and assign each group a cone to defend. One participant acts as the goalie, protecting the cone, while the others form a circle around it. The offensive players pass the ball, attempting to kick and knock over the cone. Frequent rotations of the goalie ensure that every student gets a chance to showcase their skills!

These three cone activities offer a fantastic way to engage and challenge your K-7 students while promoting physical literacy and fundamental movement skills. Incorporate these exciting cone-based games into your lesson plans, and watch your students’ enthusiasm and abilities soar as they have a blast while learning and growing together!

Find more great, quick and easy activities to try with your students on PLAYBuilder— a digital platform with 1,000+ activities, free to K-7 educators!

Predisposition to specific physical activities may vary among children, but it is essential to understand that predisposition is not destiny. Instead, it serves as a guide to help us offer a diverse range of opportunities that cater to the individual needs of our students. 

In this blog post, we will explore actionable steps teachers can take to foster physical activity and promote a lifelong love for movement and health in their elementary school students.

Embrace Diversity in Physical Education 

Incorporate various physical activities in the curriculum to cater to students’ diverse interests and capabilities. Traditional sports are essential, but don’t shy away from introducing lesser-known sports or those from different cultures. This approach not only encourages inclusivity but also opens doors for students who might excel in non-mainstream activities.

Foster Exploration Through Intramurals and Informal Competitions

Beyond formal PE classes, organize intramurals and informal competitions that allow students to explore and develop their interests further. Create opportunities for students to participate in various activities and discover their strengths and passions.

Encourage Play and Experimentation

Recess and free-play are vital components of a child’s day, offering unstructured time to explore physical movement. Provide novel equipment and a safe space for students to experiment with different activities and develop their skills.

Distributed Practice for Skill Development

When teaching physical skills, consider employing distributed practice instead of mass practice. Distributed practice involves revisiting skills on different occasions, allowing the brain to consolidate learning over time. This approach is more effective for young learners and those with less motivation for physical activities.

Provide Constructive Feedback

Correcting errors is an integral part of helping students improve their physical skills. Offer constructive feedback promptly after mistakes, focusing on specific adjustments to enhance their performance.

In conclusion, every child is unique, and their predisposition to physical activities varies. By embracing inclusivity, fostering exploration, and using effective teaching strategies, we can nurture a lifelong love for movement and health in our elementary school students. 

For more on predispositions, and how to support your students’ varied abilities and interests, check out our Predispositions resource. Looking for activities to try with your students’? Register for PLAYBuilder — it’s free to B.C. educators! 

Here are some further resources to check out as well: 

As educators, we are responsible for providing a comprehensive and inclusive learning experience for our students. Indigenous games are a source of physical activity and an opportunity for students to learn the deep-rooted spiritual significance and traditions of the First Nations peoples. 

Cultural Awareness and Inclusivity

Indigenous games hold deep-rooted spiritual and cultural significance for many Indigenous communities, including the Haudenosaunee, the originators of lacrosse. Traditionally known as Tewaarathon, or “little brother of war,” lacrosse is more than just a sport; it is a highly ceremonial event to honour the Creator. Through these games, communities come together to celebrate, heal, and support one another, especially during times of loss.

By incorporating Indigenous games into our physical education curriculum, we create an opportunity to honour and respect the diverse cultures of our students. Introducing the historical context and significance of lacrosse helps students understand the deeper meaning behind the game, going beyond the surface of athletics. Educators can instill cultural awareness and appreciation while fostering essential movement skills.

Incorporating Lacrosse into Your Class’ Learning

This blog introduces two exciting activities from the resource “Games Celebrating Indigenous Ways of Knowing”. These activities not only focus on developing essential movement skills but also introduce the sport of lacrosse to students:

Popcorn Lacrosse

“Popcorn Lacrosse” is a dynamic tag game that embraces the excitement of running with a lacrosse stick while maintaining control of the ball or beanbag.

  • Set up a 20-meter playing field and equip students with lacrosse sticks and balls. For our younger students (K–3), provide beanbags for cradling, while older students (Grades 4–7) can use lacrosse balls. 
  • Designate one or two students as taggers, and let the game begin! 
  • The objective is simple – students must travel across the field without getting tagged. 
  • A tag occurs when a tagger pops the ball or beanbag out of a student’s stick. 
  • If tagged, the student joins the taggers’ team and tries to pop the beanbag from other students’ sticks. 
  • The game continues until only one student remains – the ultimate popcorn popper champion!

Cradle the Rock

“Cradle the Rock” takes students on an exhilarating obstacle course designed to develop agility, balance, and endurance. 

  • Create a course with cones, hurdles, and directional changes not exceeding 20 meters. Divide students into teams of 3–4 and provide each team with a lacrosse ball. 
  • On the educator’s signal, the first student on each team races through the obstacle course, cradling the lacrosse ball in their stick. 
  • Dropping the ball requires the student to start over. 
  • Once they complete the course successfully, they pass the ball to the next teammate in line. The first team to have all members complete the course wins the round.

Incorporating Indigenous games like “Popcorn Lacrosse” and “Cradle the Rock” not only fosters essential movement skills but also serves as a gateway to understanding the rich cultural heritage of Indigenous communities. By embracing diversity and inclusivity in our physical education programs, we create an environment that respects and celebrates the traditions and history of Indigenous peoples. 

Looking for more activities like these? Visit the Indigenous Resources webpage on our website, to access resources like Linking Indigenous Cultural Sports and Activities to Physical Literacy.

As teachers, we play a crucial role in shaping our students’ physical literacy, giving them the skills they need for a lifetime of staying active. However, teaming up with parents is key for several reasons:

  • Consistency and Learning Reinforcement: Working together ensures a consistent approach to physical literacy at home and school. This consistency reinforces what kids learn, making their education more solid.
  • Collaboration for Community Building: A strong parent-teacher partnership builds a supportive school community. When parents get involved, it creates a positive environment for everyone.
  • Role Modeling for Healthy Choices: Parents are powerful role models. When they prioritize a healthy lifestyle, kids are more likely to do the same.
  • Individualized Support: Parents can offer personalized support based on their understanding of their child’s needs.This tailored approach enhances the child’s physical literacy journey.

The Parent-Teacher Physical Literacy Partnership

  • Communication Is Key: Open communication is crucial. Regular updates through newsletters, emails, or conferences keep parents in the loop. Parents need to understand why physical literacy matters for their child’s well-being!
  • Educate and Involve: Share resources with parents about the importance of physical literacy.Get parents actively involved in supporting their child’s physical education!
  • At-Home Activities: Provide parents with practical, age-appropriate activities to do at home. Simple exercises, games, and outdoor activities help kids practice what they learn in school.

Looking for resources to share with your class’ parents? Check out the new handout available on our website! This two-page document simply defines physical literacy, explains the fundamental movement skills, and even provides a handful of great at-home activities for parents to try to support their children’s continued development of physical literacy.

Ready to turn your classroom into the ultimate hub of excitement and engagement? We’ve just released our new “Classroom Tips & Tricks” resource, with great ideas to bring your classrooms to life and support your students’ physical literacy development.

Benefits of Physical Activity and Physical Literacy Throughout the School Day

By infusing regular physical activity and nurturing physical literacy throughout the school day, including in your classroom, students are in for a host of benefits:

  • Improved attention and self-regulation through regular movement breaks
  • Sparked creative thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Reduced anxiety and stress levels
  • Enhanced social-emotional well-being
  • Developed movement skills
  • An overall experience of fun and enjoyment through being active

Incorporating the Classroom Tips & Tricks Resource

Use the new “Classroom Tips & Tricks” resources to turn your class into a place where learning and moving go hand in hand! Here’s a sneak peek at some of the ideas in the resource:

  • Warm-Up Leadership: Empower students to lead warm-up activities, fostering confidence and motivation.
  • Active Learning Stations: Integrate physical tasks into lesson stations. 
    • Create a math station that involves jumping or hopping while solving problems
    • Create a literacy station where students act out stories or use body movements to represent vocabulary words.
  • Physical Activity with Environmental Awareness: Integrate eco-friendly projects like gardening, tree planting, or park cleanup. Foster discussions about sustainability and taking care of the environment.

Curious for more? Download the full resource here and get ready to create a classroom atmosphere where learning is not just a mental exercise but a whole-body adventure.

Classroom Tips & Tricks” is a great addition to the ongoing toolkit of ideas and activities available through the School Physical Activity and Physical Literacy project, including resources like: 

We are thrilled to introduce the new Playground Circuit resource, now available on our website, designed to make physical activity enjoyable while still developing those fundamental movement skills outside. The Playground Circuit resource is a dynamic and interactive toolkit that offers a range of physical activities designed to enhance your students’ physical literacy while they have fun on the playground. It combines traditional playground equipment with creative circuit exercises to challenge their agility, coordination, balance, and strength. 

Why Use the Playground for Circuits?

  1. Multi-Functional Equipment: Playgrounds have various structures like swings, slides, monkey bars, and climbing walls. These offer endless possibilities for designing diverse circuit activities that target different movement skills.
  2. Fun and Engaging: Children naturally enjoy playing on the playground. By incorporating circuits into their playtime, we create a positive association with physical activity, making it a fun and enjoyable experience.
  3. Promotes Social Interaction: Playground circuits often involve group activities, promoting student teamwork and social interaction. They learn to support and encourage each other while having a blast.
  4. Develops Cognitive Skills: Circuit activities require students to follow instructions, remember sequences, and think creatively, enhancing their cognitive abilities.
  5. Outdoor Learning Benefits: Spending time outdoors has numerous benefits for students, including improved focus, reduced stress, and increased vitamin D absorption.

How to Implement Playground Circuits

Using the Playground Circuits resource, you can create a variety of circuits for your class to try out! Simply:

  1. Choose a Circuit Design: Select a set of circuit exercises suitable for your students’ age and abilities. Ensure a good mix of activities targeting different movement skills.
  2. Set Up Stations: Identify different areas on the playground for each circuit activity. Place clear instructions at each station.
  3. Demonstrate Proper Technique: Before starting, demonstrate each exercise to ensure students understand how to perform them safely and effectively.
  4. Time and Rotate: Assign a specific time duration for each circuit station. When the time is up, have students rotate to the next station.
  5. Monitor and Encourage: Supervise the activities, offering encouragement and feedback to keep students motivated.

Playground Circuits are a fantastic way to engage your students in physical literacy while enjoying the outdoor playground.  Access the new Playground Circuit resource on the website, and check out PLAYBuilder’s playground activities to continue supporting active learning and physical development with your students today! 

Using the project’s Linking Indigenous Cultural Sports and Activities to Physical Literacy card set, you can engage your students in cultural activities and reflection questions to support their physical literacy development. 

When it comes to Indigenous knowledge, it is important to understand where students are in their traditional activity experiences. For various reasons, many Indigenous students do not have access to traditional activities. We encourage educators to lead group discussions to develop an understanding of where their students are in their traditional activity journey. 

Play music, head outdoors if possible, and most importantly, have fun! Here are a few ways you could use the cards with your class: 

  1. Create Student-led Games: Allow students to lead the designing and conducting of physical activities inspired by the cultural activity card set. Encourage creativity and inclusive participation.
  2. Mentorship and Guessing Game: Organize a mentorship role where students share their knowledge of a specific cultural activity with their peers. 
  3. Storytelling and Physical Literacy: Invite students to share personal stories of how physical literacy has impacted their lives. Encourage them to envision a future where physical literacy is central to their well-being.
  4. Lessons from Ancestors: Reflect on the role of parents, grandparents, community members and Elders in physical literacy experiences. Encourage students to think about the lessons they would like to pass on to future generations.
  5. Self-Reflection and Growth: Help students appreciate their progress in becoming physically literate individuals. Emphasize that learning takes time, and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way.

By integrating the First Peoples Principles of Learning, we celebrate diversity and foster a deeper connection with physical literacy. Let’s embark on this journey together, recognizing the importance of cultural heritage and the growth physical literacy can bring to our lives.

Access the Linking Indigenous Cultural Sports and Activities to Physical Literacy card set here.

I•SPARC would like to thank the hard work and commitment of the working group for this resource, composed of Indigenous leaders, educators and physical literacy experts.