ABC-123: Cross-Curricular Ideas for Physical Education

For me, the BEST part of teaching physical education is the ability to integrate so many topics on health, wellness, sports, fitness, and YES the basic fundamental ABC-123 skills.

Take a look at these quick, easy activities that enhance the ABC-123’s of your PE class.  Getting ready for an observation? Check out these activities, for extra content.  Have fun!

Top 3 Answers to WHY  “add” Math and ELA activities to your PE Lessons?!

Reason #3: Use for transition activities at the end of your lesson.

Reason #2:  Collaborate/coordinate with a classroom teacher’s curriculum?

Reason #1: Anything can be taught or emphasized through activity and movement!

1. Word of the Week (K-5)


Use a space or bulletin board in the gym for higher-level sight words. 

For example, the word endorphins can be used at the beginning and during your PE lesson.  I like to refer to a word and tie it into your lesson. It reinforces the activity and gives an extra ELA focus word.  Explain the meaning and have the word posted. Refer back as often as the word comes into what you are doing in your lessons. Even your younger students can grasp the word!  It is that easy!

2. Grab some leftover newspapers! (K-2)

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Hand a large newspaper sheet out to each student as they walk into class.  Have them lay it out in self space.

Ok, it is time to move!  Have the students carefully jump over their own newspaper on the floor.  Go OVER, AROUND,  BACKWARDS, SIDEWAYS and BEAR CRAWL AROUND.  Practice clockwise and counterclockwise.  Practice reverse. Have your students place the paper across their upper body.  How fast do they have to move to keep the paper on them without it falling?   Practice moving in self-space.  No hands to help!  There is science in that!

The newspaper is back on the floor, self-space.  Have students use their fingers (phalanges) to point to the letters in their first name. Give them time to find and say each letter out loud. When ready, find and spell out their last name. Younger students can look for just specific letters or easier site words. Make sure you are walking around supporting their effort. In best-case situations, students close by can help each other.

Time for some MATH! Look and identify numbers on the newspaper page.  Say them out loud.  Look for even numbers, look for odd.  Another math concept is identifying the shape of your paper.   Let’s fold the newspaper in HALF (1/2) The shape is now a _________?  Each fold creates a new shape. Fold corner to corner, and we have a triangle shape.  Bunch and crumble the paper into a sphere shape and practice your throwing technique.  INDOOR SNOWBALL FIGHT! Safety isn’t much of an issue with paper snowballs!  Place the snowballs into the garbage and you are ready for your next activity.

3. Math is EVERYWHERE!

“ADD IT UP” (K-5)


Face a partner or someone near you.  Put one fist behind your back.  Decide how many fingers you will “show” your partner on the signal “GO”. * None, or your fist =0, or 1-5 fingers.  See who can add up the total fingers being shown between you and your partner.  This can be played several times, with new partners, using double fists, using multiplication.  This is a super activity that reinforces math facts, it’s quick and a great activity while you are waiting for the teacher to pick up their class.  Time on task…100%.


The same concept with your partner.  If the sum of the two hands is an EVEN number, they are” it”.  One your partner gets tagged.  Stop and start over with the ADD IT UP part.  Switch partners every few minutes.



Quick math activity. Each student receives a playing card.  They face a partner with the card behind their back.  On the word “flip”, they will flip and show their partner their card.  The student with the lower numbered card shown will have to complete a fitness activity (ex. 4 jumping jacks).  They THEN will switch cards with that partner, and move on to find a new partner.  If partners have the same face card, they both complete the exercise! And then move on


Create your own “school’s paper money”. I found mine at the dollar store. 
*Laminated paper money is suggested. 

I used whiteboards to list the exercise and then the repetitions required to earn the school money.  These are examples only. 

The more work you do, the more money you earn.  The harder you work, (difficulty of activity) the more money you earn.  Great life lessons!! I usually place students on a team for this.  That way they can strategy, and give each other support! This activity allows the students to contribute in their own comfort zone. 

After the specific time allotment, have the students together count up their earnings. 

Allow time to have a class discussion about what worked and what was challenging in this group activity

Safety considerations: Cones placed by the whiteboards (to prop them up)

Equipment: 7 DIFFERENT Exercises written on whiteboards, Dry Erase Marker, Created paper money, Personalized School Bank “Sign” to organize the paper money, *Pinnies for 5 Teams, and something to hold their earned money.

What are your favorite math or reading activities?

These are some of my favorite cross curricular activities to do with my students. I encourage you to share some of your own favorite activities in the comment section below!

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