Archive for category: News

Do your students know how to throw and catch a basketball?


In our School Physical Activity and Physical Literacy resource on manipulative skills, otherwise known as “sending and receiving skills”, we cover how learning to catch and throw a basketball requires more advanced neuromuscular development than locomotor and non-locomotor tasks. But, they are also fun to learn—and can be explored through a variety of activities and sports!


Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to support your students as they explore the basics of basketball, one of several sports that can help build those manipulative skills:


Catching Sequence

  • Student stands with arms making a basket and hands facing up. A large, soft ball is then tossed into the “basket”, and the student pulls the ball into their chest. 
  • Same underhand catch, but the student is encouraged to use only hands and fingers to catch the ball.
  • Catch the ball one-handed when thrown from greater and greater distance. 
  • Catch the ball one-handed when the ball is thrown above the head.


One of the first things for students to master when learning to catch is how to maintain eye contact with the ball. As it flies through the air towards them, their eyes have to turn inwards to track the ball’s flight. If they haven’t developed this skill yet, they may close their eyes or turn their face away when trying to catch it. As they build confidence, you will see them maintain eye contact with the ball throughout its flight through the air.


Once they’ve mastered catching the ball, the next step is to try throwing – a skill most students have learned by the end of Grade 2, but can happen earlier or later. 


Throwing Sequence

  • Immature throw: A student faces the direction they are throwing and only uses their elbow and wrist. 
  • Intermediate throw: Incorporates a step, with the student stepping forward with the same foot as they throw with (left foot step, left hand throw; right hand step, right hand throw). 
  • Mature throw: Incorporates a step, with the opposite foot to the throwing hand, and involves starting with the body sideways to the throw, and twisting the body. Once the mature throwing pattern is established, students practice throwing for greater distance and with greater accuracy.


When your students can confidently throw and catch the basketball, it’s time to incorporate some fun games into your gym time! Try these three activities from PLAYBuilder to further develop those throwing and catching skills:  


Basketball Dribble Weave



  • Place participants into groups that provide maximum movement and participation.
  • Line them up on the end line. Give each participant a ball.
  • Place about six cones or poly spots in a line in front of each group, with about a couple feet in between cones/poly spots.
  • Stress that this is not a race.


  • The first person in each line dribbles forward and weaves in and out of the cones/poly spots to the other end line and back. Then, the next person in line goes.
  • While the participants are waiting for their turn, they can dribble on the spot to increase movement.
  • Continue for an allotted time period.
  • You can challenge the participants to go a little faster as they become more comfortable.


Basketball Shooting Cues


Share these helpful cues with your students to help them learn how to shoot a basketball. 



  • Bend knees, eyes on target.
  • Balance the ball in your shooting hand, with the other hand on the side as a guide.
  • Straighten your knees and elbows.
  • Snap wrist.
  • Follow through.


Basketball Passing Practice 



  • Place participants into pairs with a ball.
  • Have them stand several feet away, facing each other.

Instructions & Cues

  • Partners practice the chest and bounce pass (cues below).
  • They may count to see how many passes they can get in a row.
  • If it’s too easy, they may step back. If it’s too hard, they may step closer together.

Chest Pass

  • Body faces the target.
  • Thumbs to chest.
  • Step towards the target.
  • Extend arms fully, releasing the ball.
  • Thumbs now point downwards.

Bounce Pass

  • Body faces the target.
  • Thumbs to chest.
  • Step towards the target.
  • Extend arms fully, releasing the ball downwards.
  • Ball should contact the floor two thirds of the way to the target.


That’s just the beginning! As your students continue developing their basketball skills, you can easily slot these activities into your school day with PLAYBuilder – which is free for BC educators!

Access PLAYBuilder now!

What does the word inclusion mean to you?

In today’s classroom, inclusion is a hot topic. At the most basic level, inclusion refers to the intentional, ongoing efforts to ensure that every individual can fully participate in all aspects of physical activity and learning throughout the school day. It’s not the sort of thing you can accomplish in one day, but requires constant diligence as we all consider the needs of our individual students. Each student has their own lived experiences, and while some barriers to inclusion are obvious, others are completely invisible. 

Here are four things to keep in mind, when practicing inclusion in the context of physical literacy and physical activity:

  1.  Be proactive
  2.  Use inclusive language and design
  3. Avoid uncomfortable team selection processes
  4. Focus on personal empowerment, and helping students set and pursue individual goals

When putting together a physical activity for your students, it’s essential to keep in mind their intersectional identities. When it comes to race and ethnicity, remember to:

  1. Choose a broad range of activities from all parts of the world
  2. Empower students to share games/activities, and to lead
  3. Let students help set the rules for how to show respect to each other
  4. Plan units and activities to align with and respect cultural holidays and traditions

Consider cultural and religious backgrounds of your students as well. Some students may share openly, while others may not. Try the following when establishing respect with and amongst your students during activities:

  1. Present different motivations for physical activity
  2. Provide non-contact options for games like tag
  3. Provide cooling and hydration breaks
  4. Choose activities from different cultures
  5. Celebrate and respect different holidays and traditions

As more newcomers arrive in Canada, it’s important to consider the additional barriers and struggles that students from other countries may face. For instance, they may have never experienced a typical Canadian winter and could be unfamiliar with our winter sports. To foster inclusion for newcomers:

  1. Give instructions both verbally and visually
  2. Keep families informed of weekly plans
  3. Explain all parts of an activity and do not assume all students know the “basics”
  4. Teach your students how to dress for all weather

For more ideas and information about inclusion, and to ensure your school is all on the same page when it comes to inclusion in physical activity, book our Physical Activity and Physical Literacy for Everyone: Setting the Stage for Inclusion workshop for your school, or for a group of teachers in your area! Workshops are free to educators across BC.  


When you’re empowering your students to develop their physical literacy, their learning goes well beyond the gym and your P.E. class—it can be seamlessly incorporated into all aspects of your class’s daily schedule. It’s possible for students to read, move and learn, all at the same time. How can we think about physical literacy beyond the gym? An innovative program in B.C. has some ideas!

Learning to love movement through literacy

When kids take part in the free Active Stories program now running in the Nicola Valley, literacy and physical activity go hand in hand. Children learn to use their imagination while moving their bodies, exploring fundamental movements at the same time as developing their improvisation and creativity skills.

As explained by Lia Moyes Larson, chair of Literacy Merritt and the Nicola Valley Society, in a recent news article, Active Stories gives instructors the chance to pair their love of literacy with engaging physical activities. While they listen to the narratives being read aloud, participants get to run, jump, and use their bodies for dramatic play in tandem with the story. By having students move in a way that reflects the meaning of a word, the storytellers can increase comprehension, memory and recall in their audience. At the end of the session the kids get to choose a book to take home with them.

Additionally, children who typically have issues with sitting still have their need to move addressed in a positive way. Engaging with books in this fun way helps them to get their wiggles out, all while taking in new information.

Using School Physical Activity and Physical Literacy resources

Programs like Active Stories are great inspiration for the ways we can all incorporate physical literacy across the school day! If you’re looking for more ideas on how to get your kids moving in new environments, here are some ways to increase their physical activity and develop their physical literacy from our resources Developing Physical Literacy on the Playground, Physical Literacy in the Classroom: Activities to Keep Your Students Moving! and Cross-curricular Activities.

5,4,3,2,1: This is a great way to get students physically engaged between lessons. Have your students do an activity for each number in a countdown. 


  • Five jumping jacks, 
  • four squats, 
  • three hops on one foot, 
  • two laps around the classroom, and 
  • one high five.

If you like: This activity involves quizzing students about their preferences and getting them to perform physical actions based on their answers. Ask your students questions about what they like, and have them perform an action based on their answer. 


  • “If you like going to the beach, hop on one foot.” 
  • “If you like summer more than winter, do three squats.” 
  • “If you have a dog, do a stretch on both sides of your body

Grip strength: Create some stress balls by filling balloons with sand or flour, then have students squeeze them while reading poems, practicing spelling or multiplication tables, or rehearsing rhymes or chants. This activity will help them develop the strength they need to use an outdoor play structure.

Let’s make a math story: 

  • Brief students on how they’re going to make a math story as a group. First talk about different kinds of movements they can do and demonstrate them as a group (e.g., lunges, jumping jacks, high knees). Ask students if they know any other movements they could do. 
  • Now that you have some ideas of movements, write on the whiteboard (or just use hands and memory if outside or in the gym), and call on students to share a number and a movement (e.g., “Jake says we’re going to do 5 pushups, how many more do we need to make 10?”). 
  • Have students call out numbers and movements until they complete the full math story (e.g., “Okay, we have 5 push-ups, 3 jumping jacks, and 2 squats. Did we make 10? Let’s check.” And count up as a group). 
  • Have the students complete their math story by doing all of the movements! (e.g.,“Now that we’ve made 10, we can do all of the 10 movements together. Count with me and let’s go!”).

Looking for more activities to try with your students? PLAYBuilder has hundreds of free, curriculum-based activities, free for BC educators! Even better? PLAYBuilder can build a whole term plan for you, with just six clicks. Sign up today:

The snowy season has arrived, and your students will be eager to venture out into the cold. For educators, this is a perfect time to encourage different types of activity, as moving in different ways helps build strong bones, muscles, hearts and minds, and helps develop the three fundamental movement skills: locomotor, non-locomotor and manipulative.  For more on the importance of different types of activities for your students, download our resources Encouraging Different Types of Physical Activity and Different Activities, Different Beginnings

Looking for some new ideas for activities to try with your students? Here’s a few ways to keep students engaged and physically active this winter, and encourage those important different types of movement in their day: 

Outdoor Activities

  • Build a snowperson or snow fort

Students can create their own version of Frosty the Snowman, or construct a snow fortress.

  • Go on a winter photo scavenger hunt

Make a list of interesting winter landmarks, then send your students off to draw pictures of what they see at those spots around your playground!

  • Have a snowball-throwing contest

Students can compete to see who can throw the farthest, and with the most accuracy.

  • Sledding

All you need is a slope and a  sled. This will keep students tromping up and down the hill for multiple rides.

  • Take a winter hike around the block

Lead your students on a guided tour, pointing out things to discuss later in the classroom.

  • The Amazing Race

If you’re looking for something more ambitious and hands-on, you can host your own winter version of The Amazing Race – you can take inspiration from this version on our website, and use the passport as needed! Select as many challenge activities as you would like the teams to complete around your school yard and list them on the passport. We recommend between 6-8 activities. Activities should have students climbing, jumping, running, etc. In all, students should be using different equipment in the schoolyard to use different fundamental movement skills.

Not all students will be keen or able to get outside, and with lots of lessons happening in the classroom it’s a good idea to prepare some activities for the indoors as well. Here are some fun games to play with them, from our Physical Literacy in the Classroom: Activities to Keep Your Students Moving resource

Indoor Activities

  • Number lines

Create a number line with sidewalk chalk outside or painters tape inside. Have your student say the numbers as they walk (or hop!) over them, as they learn to count. (Example: Ask your students to say their three times table, hopping on each number in the series that is on the number line.)

  • True or false

Ask your students a true or false question about a topic they are learning. Have them move differently depending on their answer. (Examples:  “The largest organ in the body is the skin.” True = jumping jacks, false = lunges.)

  • Whiteboard Workout

Have your students perform several activities one after the other, and time them to see how long it takes to complete the circuit. (Example:  10 toe touches, 10 squats, and 10 jumping jacks)

Looking for more fun activities for your class?  PLAYBuilder has 900+ activities to keep your students engaged and having fun while they develop their physical literacy! Even better? PLAYBuilder can even plan your entire term of physical activity with Term Planner — and it’s all free for BC educators! Register today.

We may be heading into the winter, but the beautiful game of soccer is in the air! Since the 2022 FIFA World Cup is well underway in Qatar, we’ve decided to highlight some of our favourite soccer activities from the PLAYBuilder platform. These activities will get your students moving and learning fundamental skills—all while having a blast!

PLAYBuilder Picks:


Duration: 5 Minutes

Age range: 6-12


  • Place participants into groups that provide for the maximum amount of movement, participation, and safety. Line them up on the end line of the playing area. Give each participant a ball.
  • Place about six cones or poly spots in a line in front of each group with just less than one meter apart between cones or poly spots. Stress that this is not a race.

Instructions & Cues:

  • The first person in each line dribbles forward and weaves in and out of the cones or poly spots to the other end line and back. Then the next person in line goes. While participants are waiting for their turn, they can dribble back and forth on the spot to increase their movement.
  • Continue for an allotted time period. You can challenge the participants to speed up little faster as they become more comfortable.


Duration: 7 Minutes

Age range: 10-13


  • Participants are spaced around a circle 10 yards in diameter with 2 players in the center.

Instructions & Cues: 

  • The object of the game is to keep the people in the center from touching the ball.
  • The ball is passed back and forth as in soccer.
  • If a center player touches the ball with a foot, they are awarded a point.
  • No player may hold the ball longer than 3 seconds in order to keep the ball moving.
  • Rotate two new players in the center after every 30 -60 seconds. 


Duration: 5 Minutes

Age range: 6-9


  • All students should have a soccer ball.
  • Use cones to mark the playing field. 20×20 meters is recommended. Adjust accordingly to number of students, age, and skill level,
  • Pick two students to be noodle stoppers.
  • Noodle Stoppers start with noodles in their hands in the middle of the playing field.

Instructions & Cues: 

  • Students with soccer balls try to dribble across the playing field without a noodle stopper taking the ball away from them.
  • Noodle stopper’s goal is to hit the ball of the students dribbling with their noodles.
  • If your ball is hit by one of the noodle stoppers, you must grab a noodle and become a noodle stopper.
  • Goal of the activity is to be the last student still dribbling their soccer ball.

Now that you’ve seen a few of the soccer activities available on the SPA-PL PLAYBuilder platform, it’s time to get playing! Click on any of the three PLAYBuilder picks to see more and start planning your soccer activities.

Louis Riel Day is just around the corner on November 16. And while we can all research and discuss the day’s history in our classrooms, there are also opportunities to learn through physical activity! 

Louis Riel was a Métis leader and politician who advocated for the protection of Métis rights and culture in the mid- to late- 1800s; he was also a founder of the province of Manitoba. Louis Riel Day gives us all a chance to celebrate Métis culture, recognize the contributions of the Métis to Canada, highlight the struggles the Métis continue to face, and commemorate the legacy of Louis Riel himself.

How can we do that and incorporate physical activity and physical literacy? Why not try our Intro to Jigging, the Métis Dance resource, colouring pages and videos with your students!:

Intro to Jigging, the Métis Dance

Join Cree and Métis knowledge keeper Madelaine McCallum and youth in learning the Métis jigging Basic Step and several Fancy Steps to the music of the Red River Jig. Download the print resource and colouring pages to support your learning!


Looking to learn even more fancy steps? Sign up for PLAYBuilder to access even more steps through the Indigenous PLAYBuilder content pack—sign up is free for BC educators! Register today. 


Increasing knowledge on Indigenous perspectives of health and wellness to support Indigenous students in a culturally safe way, is something we can all do as educators to create welcoming spaces for students and learn more about the land where we each live, work and play today. 

In celebration of Indigenous Ways of Knowing, and with International Inuit Day on November 7, here are three Inuit games and activities to try with your students: 

Two Foot High Kick

A traditional Inuit game focusing on jumping, balance and coordination. 


  • Tie one end of a rope around a beanbag and the other end through a basketball hoop or have students hold a floor hockey stick with the rope tied to the end away from their body. The beanbag should hang just above the knee. 
  • If you tie a piece of faux fur to a string tied to a long stick, that is an excellent representation of the Inuit game piece. 
  • Place mats around the area where students are jumping in case they fall. 
  • Educators are encouraged to take students through a dynamic warm up focusing on the major muscles in the legs (quads, hamstrings). 


  • Place students in groups of 4-5. 
  • Students line up, and face either the student holding the rope or the beanbag hanging from the basketball hoop. 
  • On the educator’s signal, those students must jump off the ground with both feet, kick the beanbag with one foot, and land on two feet. 
  • Switch students holding the rope so everyone gets a turn. 
  • Increase the beanbag height with the progression of skill. 

Cues for Jumping and Kicking 

  • Bend your knees to increase explosive power in the legs for jumping. 
  • The higher your jump, the more time you have to kick the beanbag. 


  • Ensure students are kicking the beanbag one at a time. 
  • Make sure holders of the rope have their arms extended to avoid being kicked.

Cultural Awareness 

  • Teamwork, bonding and good energy are Indigenous views. 
  • Students should be aware that hunters always went out as a team and the success of the hunt depended on them all working together. When doing the activity, students should be encouraging each other, not seeing who is the best.

Dog Sled Races

Fun activity developing cooperative skills. 


  • Divide students into teams of 4-6. 
  • Use cones to mark the distance teams must travel. 
  • Teams start at one end of the gym, single file, and must travel the full distance of the gym before returning to the start position. 
  • If playing on the land, teams start at the designated start line single file, and they must travel 20-metres before returning to the start position. Instructions 
  • The first student on each team runs the full distance of the gym (or 20 metres), turns around, and runs back to their team. 
  • The following student in the line holds onto the first student’s shoulders, creating the sled; both students face forward. 
  • Students will then run the designated distance and back to their team, still holding onto the shoulders of the student in front of them. 
  • Each time the sled returns to the team, they pick up another student and run the designated distance, maintaining contact at the shoulders with the student in front of them. 
  • If the sled breaks, teams must start all over from the beginning. 

Cultural Awareness 

  • Inuit people depend on the team; it’s the strength of the bond, not the race, that is important. 
  • The bond we create helps the survival and cooperation of people in our circle on whom we depend. Bring good energy and positive thoughts for each other and ourselves. 
  • Honesty and integrity are more important than winning. 
  • Teamwork, bonding and good energy are Indigenous views. 

Toe Jump Relay

Students work on balance, hopping and body control. 


  • Using cones, mark a playing field. 
  • Divide students into teams of 4-6.; divide those teams into two subgroups. 
  • Subgroups start on opposite sides of the playing field. 


  • Toe jump relay starts with one student from each team holding one set of toes while hopping across the playing field. 
  • Teams try to complete as many successful relays as possible within the time limit. 
  • Educators are encouraged to have students switch hands and toes. 
  • Students can hold onto their ankles if it’s too challenging to hold their toes. 

Cultural Awareness 

  • The Inuit have always enjoyed a variety of games and sports. 
  • Skills developed by these games were often those necessary for everyday survival in a harsh environment. 
  • Thus, the game aims to develop physical strength, agility and endurance.

These and more Indigenous activities can be accessed through the downloadable resource Games Celebrating Indigenous Ways of Knowing or on PLAYBuilder—sign-up for PLAYBuilder is free for B.C. educators! 


The School Physical Activity and Physical Literacy project’s Indigenous resources have been created in partnership with the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (I·SPARC). I·SPARC is committed to meeting with communities for input and knowledge-sharing surrounding these resources and their delivery, to ensure B.C. educators have access to relevant resources that consider the First Peoples’ Principles of Learning.


As fall sets in across the province, students’ attitudes towards physical activity can start to change—just like our own! While fun is easy to experience when it’s sunny and warm, the rainy BC days can impact all of our enthusiasm for play and enjoyment of activity, especially outside. 

How can we encourage our students to stay motivated and confident in being physically active, when the weather isn’t always on our side? A great step is understanding what motivates students:

Keep Activities Engaging and Social

Students love participating in activities that provide fun and friendship; these should always be prioritized when planning movement opportunities. Social elements of physical activity have an impact on the motivation component of physical literacy. By choosing activities that students like and involving them in some of these choices, you can associate fun with physical activity.

There are some things that most students don’t find enjoyable, too. Try to avoid: 

  • long waits for their turn, 
  • complicated instructions, 
  • overly competitive games, 
  • games that frustrate because the skill requirements are too great,
  • games that aren’t fair, 
  • elimination games (e.g., dodgeball), 
  • repetitive activities, and 
  • norm-based standards.

Ensure Activities are Developmentally-Appropriate

Students have the most fun when the activity is in their challenge zone. If the task is not difficult enough for their skill level, they become bored. If the activity involves a task that is too difficult for their skills, then they often find it frustrating; Sometimes, students won’t want to do an activity or skill because they are not developmentally ready, either physically or cognitively. ]

Modify the rules or equipment to keep activities challenging enough so that students can master them 60-70 percent of the time, and try not to force a student to do something they seem to be resisting. 

Show Your Support

Students thrive in environments where there is lots of support and encouragement. They typically prefer personal development and improvement over competition.

Educators, coaches, parents and peers also all play a vital role in the physical literacy process—because nothing beats positive feedback! Reinforcing a student’s achievements through observations, compliments or questioning helps a student feel a sense of pride in their improvements and growth. 

Help Students Make Sense of Emotions

After your next physical education class or classroom movement break, try asking your students these questions: 

  1. How are you feeling after that game? 
  2. You two were working well as a team! How did that make you feel? 
  3. What do you think we could have changed to make that activity less frustrating?  
  4. How did you feel when you lost that game? 
  5. You have improved your catching. How does that make you feel? 
  6. You looked like you were having fun. What did you like about that activity? 
  7. What was it like to be the last one to be tagged? 

These questions help students put words to their emotions. If the experience wasn’t positive for them, help them understand why and develop ways that it could be more enjoyable next time

Learn more about the confidence and motivation components of physical literacy in the following resource, and dive deeper into motivation itself through our Building Motivation for Physical Activity activity booklet.

We all know and experience how busy educators are. Between teaching, lesson planning, assessment, supply shopping, etc.,  having some simple shortcuts to get tasks done makes our days a lot easier! 

With its new Term Planner feature, PLAYBuilder is an essential tool in your teaching toolkit–and a quick, simple way to build out your plan for PHE this year.

Planning out your term can be a time-consuming process due to the intricacies associated with developing a meaningful plan that covers the curriculum. Luckily, PLAYBuilder can build out a PHE term plan tailored to your favourite activities in just a few clicks!

Simply log into your PLAYBuilder account and click “New Term Plan”. You will then be guided through a series of steps that help the feature design a plan that fits your customized request. 

Don’t have an account yet? Create your account today:


Term Planner is a feature that will continue to grow and improve as it develops. Please feel free to try it out, and let us know how it’s going through our feedback form!

As teachers, we’ve all witnessed and experienced the impacts of the pandemic on our students’ mental health, focus and enjoyment of learning. Moreover, the pandemic took a toll on students’ activity levels—data recently shared by the CBC, alongside information on how important schools are in promoting healthy behaviors as we move back into our pre-pandemic routines. 

The article shared some important insights from Sarah Moore, a researcher at Dalhousie University’s School of Health and Human Performance: “In April 2020, a month after the pandemic was declared, a cross-country survey by Moore and other researchers found […] movement numbers had plummeted, with less than three per cent of Canadian kids meeting guidelines. In a follow-up study six months later, and after students began returning to in-person school, they found that figure had risen to about five per cent.”

As we all look to get back into our ‘normal’ day-to-day life, school can be an ideal space to change those sedentary behaviors learned during the pandemic. His published report, shared in the CBC article, explores the ways teachers can incorporate movement into the school day. His suggestions include: 

  • Taking scheduled and unscheduled movement breaks;
  • Incorporating different types of movement; and
  • Incorporating movement-based learning. 

Moore also speaks to the idea of thinking creatively about movement for kids, and we are here to help achieve just that!

The School Physical Activity and Physical Literacy project has simple, fun activities to support those movement suggestions and keep your students active and developing their physical literacy. Here are a few fun and free resources to get you started: 

For more activities, and to learn more about how you can support physical activity and physical literacy in your classroom and school, visit the resource section of our website. You’ll be sure to find a multitude of ready-to-use activities. For even more fun, sign up for a free PLAYBuilder account, where you’ll get instant access to a combination of over 900 printable activities and lesson plans for B.C. educators, which are all but guaranteed to be popular amongst peers.