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As students come back from the summer break, a great way to encourage physical activity is to get out and enjoy those last days of sunshine! And while the playground has the obvious benefits of being a play space to explore individually, you can also encourage your students to develop their physical literacy with more structured activities. 

Even the most basic playground can be used to develop physical literacy and keep students physically active. All that is needed is a bit of creativity! Here are a few great ideas you can use your school’s playground in fun, engaging ways: 

Playground Games 

Do your students know how to use their playground? Playground games such as tag on the play structure or challenges like traversing the playground without touching the ground show students play possibilities that they can use during recess or lunch breaks. Introduce your students to traditional games like four square, hopscotch, kickball, gaga ball, British bulldog, and red rover. 

Softball Diamonds

Softball diamonds are great for warmups and developing different locomotor skills. Run forward to first base, side shuffle on the left to second base, mini-step backwards to third base, and side-shuffle on the right to home base. Try Follow the Leader around the bases, where the leader changes movements at each base. 

Playground Circuits  

Your playground structure is great for circuits! Be creative in how you use what you have. Try including exercises like balance walks on beams or stumps, push-ups on benches, hanging from bars, or running up the slide. Use these as a themed circuit.

Amazing Races 

Have your students explore the entire schoolyard with an Amazing Race challenge, incorporating various tasks that use different equipment and obstacles. Activities should have students climbing, jumping, running, etc. In all, students should be using a variety of equipment in the schoolyard to use different fundamental movement skills.

Looking for more ways to use your playground and develop physical literacy? Download Developing Physical Literacy on the Playground and share it with your school! And, if you’re looking for more ways to incorporate physical activity in your class, sign up for PLAYBuilder for free! You’ll gain instant access to an online platform that has 900+ cross-curricular games and activities to implement into your school schedule.

The B.C. physical health education curriculum looks at more than physical activity, unlike in the past. The curriculum has developed and is now built to promote long-lasting motivation for physical activity in students. 

Why is this change important and how do educators make this change in their own lessons?

First, it is important to know what physical literacy is and its role in students’ participation. Physical literacy is the physical competence, confidence and motivation to be active for life. To be physically literate, students first must learn the basic skills for movement, called fundamental movement skills, such as running, jumping and throwing. In many cases, there is a focus on how well a student does the movement rather than how to build motivation for the student to work toward doing the skill correctly and yet the definition contains both physical competence and motivation. 

Why is motivation important?

If students have a higher level of motivation to participate in physical activity, they are more likely to be involved and be physically active. Physical activity offers many physical benefits like better focus on the classroom and better sleep quality. So how, as educators, do you build motivation in students? 

How do you build motivation in your students?

When students participate in an activity that is too difficult, they become discouraged and are less likely to connect with the activity or push themselves. When students participate in an activity that is too easy for them, they can become bored and uninterested. Implementing games and activities into your classroom that offer an equal amount of challenge and the student’s skill levels will offer more opportunities for children to become self motivated. 

Check out the booklet Building Motivation for Physical Activity to learn more and use PLAYBuilder for games and activities you can use to increase the chance of flow for your students!

What is a piece of equipment most schools have many on-hand? Balls! Most schools have a lot of different types, from yoga balls to tennis balls. Balls are a great piece of equipment for games and activities that get your students moving objects. Students must learn many types of skills from propelling objects through the air, like throwing a baseball or kicking a soccer ball. Any age can learn new skills and PLAYBuilder is a great resource to find what you’re looking for. 


PLAYBuilder is a lesson-planning online tool that offers countless games that use balls to build skills. Here are some easy and fun activities from PLAYBuilder! 


Poison Ball

Participants practice throwing at a target as a team.

Grades K-7


  • One large yoga, omnikin, or big beach ball 
  • Smaller, softer balls for throwing at the target. 


  • Place the large ball in the middle of the playing area.
  • Split participants into two teams and have them stand along the end line of the playing area, facing each other (and the balls).
  • Give a few softer, smaller balls (e.g. Rhinoskin dodgeballs) to the participants on both sides.

Instructions and Cues

  • Participants one-hand overhand throw their ball towards the large ball and try to knock the large ball over to the other team’s side.
  • Participants can run to get the smaller balls around the playing area, but can only toss towards the larger ball when standing on the end line.
  • The team that knocks the large ball over the other team’s sideline first is the winner. 


Circle Ball Pass

Students practice sending and receiving a ball in a circle.

Grade K-1


  • 1-3 balls. Large, light, squishy balls that are easy for the Grade K-1 students to pass. 


  • Students stand in a circle.

Instructions and Cues

  • Students start by passing one ball around the circle to the person next to them using two hands.
  • After a while, add another ball, possibly upwards of 3.
  • Yell “Switch!” and students must reverse the direction of the ball.
  • Consider telling the students to back up a step and try throwing and catching.


Beat the Ball 

Students practice throwing, fielding, and base running. 

Grade 5-7 


  • Softer, smaller balls (e.g. Rhinoskin dodgeballs),
  • Cones.

Set up

  • Participants work in partners or groups of three.
  • Each group has two markers (i.e., rubber dots or cones) about 10-25 feet apart.
  • One marker represents home plate, where one participant with a ball stands ready to throw.
  • The other one or two participants spread out in the field, facing the thrower. 

Instructions and Cues 

  • The game starts with the participant at home plate throwing the ball hard into the field, and then running immediately to the field marker and back to home plate.
  • If the thrower is able to touch the field marker and make it back to home plate before the fielders, the thrower scores a run.
  • If the fielders catch the ball or retrieve the ball, and are able to touch the field marker before the thrower makes it back to home plate, no run is scored.
  • Participants switch roles every play. 


Interested in accessing more activities like these? Sign up today for PLAYBuilder! It’s free to use for B.C. K-7 educators, and features 700+ activities and 100+ lesson plans aligned with the B.C. Physical and Health Education curriculum. 


As educators, we have to find a balance between keeping students interested and engaged while also building fundamental movement skills. Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) is an approach that uses play to build skill development. There are six important concepts within the TGfU approach: 

  1. Teach games through playing games
  2. Break games into their simplest format
  3. Participants are intelligent performers in games 
  4. Every learner is important and involved 
  5. Participants need to know the subject matter
  6. Need to match participants’ skill level with the challenge 

So how do we actually use these concepts as educators? 

Instead of teaching specific sports during gym class, the TGfU approach highlights teaching skills that are used in multiple sports. For instance, target games transfer to softball and goalball, net games transfer to volleyball and basketball, striking games transfer to baseball and soccer, and territory games transfer to rugby and football. Your students will feel more confident performing hundreds of other movements from the TGfU approach. 

This is only the tip of the iceberg. 

In our workshop, Teaching Games for Understanding, gain the knowledge to teach skills in a tactical context with a fun approach. Learn what teaching for understanding is and how it can develop student physical literacy by applying your new skills. If you want your students to think about how to use their skills, this is the perfect workshop.


Book a workshop today! 


As the days become longer and the weather gets better, we can begin to welcome spring with open arms. What better way to do so than getting your students moving, or even better, jumping?

PLAYBuilder is a digital library that offers 100s of fun games and activities to strengthen your students’ locomotor and non-locomotor skills. Jumping is an important skill for sports like basketball, long jump, high-kick ball and hundreds of others. 

Here are three great ways to build this locomotor skill: 

Jump the Pond 

Grades K-7


Hula hoops


Place hula hoops zig-zagging up the playing area in sections.


  • Demonstrate the proper form for a two-foot horizontal jump. Have participants practice their two-foot jump in a safe space.
  • Place participants into groups of three and line up behind the first hoop in their section.
  • Instruct participants that these circles are islands and they must jump from island to island to not fall in the “water”.
  • If they fall in the water, participants do five jumps on the spot before getting back on the island they fell off. Emphasize that technique is more important than speed.
  • As soon as the first participant is halfway through, the next participant can begin.
  • When all participants make it to the other side, they turn around and try to make it back without falling in the water.
  • While participants are waiting for their turn, have them balance or perform an exercise to increase movement.
  • Ensure that participants use proper jumping form (knees bent, arms swinging back when crouched and forward when taking off, land softly on the balls of their feet followed by their heels, then the arms come back down).

Jump Tag 

Grades 1-7


  • No equipment necessary!


  • Leader picks several people to be taggers and gives them a pinnie to wear or a soft object to hold to signify them as taggers.
  • Place several objects around the periphery that are various heights.


  • If someone is tagged by a tagger they must find three different objects to jump over before they can join back into the game.
  • Switch taggers every couple of minutes.
  • Game continues until the teacher feels it’s appropriate.

Number Jump Race 

Grades 2-3

What you’ll need

  • Number lines, floor tape, cones with numbers on them,  laminated number cards, chalk. 


  • Have a number line for each pair of students.
  • Students stand on each side of the number line, starting at zero.
  • Give each student one dice.


  • Students roll their dice at the same time.
  • The number shown on their dice is how many jumps forward they make, ensuring to land on each number along the way.
  • They continue this pattern until someone gets to 20 first and wins the game.

There are 100s of more great activities to play in the gym, out in the school-yard, or even in the classroom that you can access on PLAYBuilder. Sign up today for free as a B.C. educator! 



We know movement is essential at a young age, but why? Lots of reasons!

Various types of physical activity help develop fundamental movement skills. And, students who are developing confidence, competence and motivation around fundamental movement skills are more likely to stay active and engage in other physical activities.

Bonus? Physical activity offers various benefits for the bones, heart, muscles and mind, making incorporating different physical games and activities into the school day important!


Types of Physical Activity & Their Benefits

  • Running, jumping or hanging from parts of the playground strengthen students bones, heart and muscles.
  • Running, jumping rope or other heart-pumping  activities build stamina and can improve students’ sleep! 
  • Squatting, spinning around and other stationary movements strengthen the brain-body link.
  • Playing with small toys, crayons or other small items help develop fine motor skills.
  • Any type of moderate or vigorous physical activity improves learning, memory and focus!


Ways to Support Development During the School Day

Physical activity isn’t just something for gym time—lots of the above activities can be incorporated throughout your school day! Intertwining physical activity and other subjects helps build brain and body development.

Looking for more opportunities to incorporate physical activity in your class? PLAYBuilder, an online platform, has many cross-curricular games and activities to implement into your school schedule! 


Students can get restless inside all day. 

What are some ways to release your students’ energy indoors, while also developing physical literacy? 

PLAYBuilder, a digital lesson planning platform, offers access to 700+ games and 100+ lesson plans for K-7 educators— including those that are adaptable or made to take place in a gymnasium or classroom!

Here are some great examples of indoor games found on PLAYBuilder:

Follow the Lines (Grade K-7)

What You’ll Need

No equipment necessary!


  • As students enter the gym ask them to find a spot somewhere on a line and stand still. 


  • Upon your signal, students can try to move only on the lines. Students can change lines anywhere two lines intersect, but cannot jump between lines.
  • Any time two students meet each other when traveling, they must do a dance move, then turn around and change directions without passing each other. 
  • Emphasize the importance of being able to balance on the lines as they move around the gym.

Beanbag Balance (Grades K-4)

What You’ll Need



  • Have participants spread out.
  • Give each student a beanbag.


  • Call out different body parts (e.g., shoulder, back, knee, foot, stomach, thumb, etc.) and have participants balance their beanbag on said body part for five seconds.
  • Try to pick funny/challenging body parts to keep it fun.
  • You may add a rule that if the beanbag falls off (i.e., they must do five jumping jacks or another appropriate exercise).
  • You may also increase the time they have to balance the beanbag.
  • For an extra challenge, have them try to move while balancing the beanbag.

Locomotor Relay Race (Grades 1-7)

What You’ll Need

  • Cones or poly spots


  • Places participants in groups of three to ensure maximum participation.


  • Tell them which locomotor skill they will be performing each race.
  • On your signal, the first student goes to the end line and tags the next student in line, until all three have finished.
  • Start off easy and move to more challenging skills each race(e.g., walking, running, hopping, skipping, galloping, sliding, etc.).
  • Stress the importance of technique over winning. If they perform skills wrong, teach them and have them do it over again.
  • Encourage good sportsmanship.


Looking for more activities and games like these? Sign up for PLAYBuilder today! 

Winter is here in B.C., and finding ways to keep students active and engaged, without always braving the winter weather, can be challenging particularly with COVID considerations. 

Looking for some indoor-friendly, COVID-safe activities? PLAYBuilder is a great tool to help build lessons that are fun and support the development of physical literacy.

PLAYBuilder is a free digital platform that contains over 700 games and 100 lesson plans for educators teaching K-7! There are even activities with limited equipment and reduced contact to stay COVID-friendly. This online tool is free for B.C. educators! 

Register for an account today!


Here are some examples of COVID-safe activities accessible on PLAYBuilder:

Freeze It! (Grades K-7)

What You’ll Need

No equipment necessary!


No setup necessary!


  • Participants travel freely in general space, trying different locomotor movements chosen by the leader being careful to stay apart from one another.
  • Leader will call out a number that indicates how many body parts the participants are to balance on for five seconds. For example: If three is called out, they may balance on two hands and one foot. For five body parts they may balance on two hands, two feet, and their head.
  • Encourage creativity and remind them of the balancing cues. If someone is very creative, highlight them to the rest of the class.

Alphabet Balance (Ages 3-6)

What You’ll Need

No equipment necessary!


No setup necessary!


  • Leader yells out different letters of the alphabet.
  • Participants try to make their body into the shape of that letter.
  • Encourage the use of different levels. For example, participants may lay on the floor to create the shape or stand up.
  • Leader may ask them to spell a short word, or try guessing their letter for added fun.

If You Like

What You’ll Need

No equipment necessary!


No setup necessary!


  • Ask participants questions and give them an exercise they must do if it applies to them.
  • Examples below:
    • If you like strawberries do 5 squats
    • If you like swimming do one lap
    • If you have a pet do 5 hops on one foot
    • If you have green eyes balance on one foot for five seconds
  • Ask volunteers to give examples
  • Try to pick things that apply to the majority so they get a good warm-up.

*For all activities, ensure that your students are maintaining proper social distance and are adhering to the current COVID-19 safety guidelines in your region and school. 

These activities, as well as others accessible on PLAYBuilder, can help build on your students physical activity and physical literacy.

Ready to explore more activities like these, for your students? Register for PLAYBuilder today:


For educators, short movement breaks throughout the day can help develop students’ physical literacy, improve focus and increase learning. But it can be a challenge to find a variety of activities that your students will enjoy that still encourage the development of physical literacy through fundamental movement skills. 

Here, we share five easy and fun movement breaks you can do with your students to give them a reset during the school day and encourage their development of physical literacy. 

Are you looking for more activities? The Movement Activity Cards available for free on our website feature dozens of games to incorporate in your classroom, including those listed below:

Balance Clock 

Students start by balancing on one foot. Next, they swing the raised foot in front and behind them. Once they have mastered that, ask students to swing their foot from side to side across their bodies while standing on one foot. Using their arms as the hands of a clock, can they make 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00. 

Challenge: Those that have mastered these balances can try them with their eyes closed.

Desk Olympics

On small pieces of paper, write down various Olympic sports (e.g., swimming, canoeing, cycling, sprinting, rowing, etc.) and place them in a bucket or hat. Draw one of the sports out and have students do that sport for 20 seconds while staying at their desks.

Try doing a few desk Olympic sports during the movement break. 

Challenge: Can they do the sport using five or more parts of their bodies?

Skier Jumps 

Have students stand with their feet together. They jump from side to side, swinging their arms up with each jump, and land with their knees bent. 

Challenge: How many Skier Jumps can they do in 30 seconds?

Place Value Movements 

Try this fun way to reinforce place values. Give students an exercise and a number. For example, say “jumping jacks” and “698”. Then, tell them to do the number of jumping jacks in the 10s column. 

Depending on the age of the students, use larger or smaller numbers. Change the exercise frequently.

Ball and Cup Catch 

Give each student a small ball (e.g., table tennis ball, plastic ball, or tennis ball) and a cup. Students throw the ball up and catch it with the cup. This activity works hand-eye coordination. 

Challenge: Ask students to practice this while standing on one foot. Try throwing the ball with the non-dominant hand. Create a large circle of students. Give the ball to one person to toss across the circle to a friend. They are to call out the student’s name, who is to catch the ball in their cup. 

For more activities, download the Movement Activity Card set and look through our Classroom Resources, School Resources and Additional Resources.

Sport and physical activity can bring students of all cultures together. When students share an engaging sport or physical activity experience with classmates from the various cultures and countries represented in the B.C. school system, they have the unique opportunity to make friends with people from all sorts of backgrounds. The more diversity they encounter, the more they will learn to respect all of their peers equally. 

What does diversity look like in physical activity?

In practice, that means:

  • a school physical activity culture that values diversity and response to the diverse social and cultural needs of its community; 
  • a physical activity culture that promotes understanding and respect; 
  • a participation environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence;
  • equitable access and equal opportunities to participate in quality physical activity; and 
  • a recognition that adaptations may need to be made for activities and rules, and more! 


How can you promote diversity through activity? 

There are many ways to support diversity and inclusion of all of your students within physical activity. With the Beijing 2022 Winter Games coming up, here are a few Olympic-themed suggestions: 

Hold mini-Olympic celebrations 

Assign groups of students to represent different nations. Make national flags and learn about assigned countries and their sports and recreational activities in social studies.

March in an opening ceremony and compete in a range of diversity-themed events. Hold a closing ceremony with teams mingled.

Build on the Paralympic Games

Diversity includes celebrating the games and sports played by persons with disabilities. Demonstrate that sport is for all by profiling Paralympians on the class bulletin boards, inviting an athlete with disabilities to visit the class, or teaching a sport like wheelchair rugby or goalball.

For more ideas around promoting diversity through physical activity, and opportunities to learn more about the importance of diversity, download the following resource: Lasting Impact: The Importance of Diversity.

Are you interested in learning more about physical activity and physical literacy and their importance for your students? Check out our other classroom resources and the various professional development opportunities available through the School Physical Activity and Physical Literacy project.