Distance learning from home can be very challenging for students who do not have the necessary physical education equipment. There are lots of videos and resources to create similar items from common household products. Gopher has decided to take the lead and come up with equipment packs that would allow for students to have some PE equipment to be used at home. Online they offer eight different categories of packs: movement and games, sports, physical activity, fitness, limited space, SEL, adapted PE, and a basic pack. Each comes with its own mix of equipment that can be modified for use at any level.
Being that I teach kindergarten through fifth grade, I had wanted to try to choose a pack that had something that could be appropriate for all of my grade levels. Looking through all of the packs, I decided upon the Adapted PE pack.
I received in the mail a box that weighed eight pounds, and was packed to the brim with equipment. This pack contained: one large rubber deck ring, a juggling scarf, yellow rubber yoga mat, tactile ball (that would need to be blown up), one Classic Coat Versa seven inch ball, a box of twenty pieces of sidewalk chalk, a blue five inch vinyl bean bag, a nine foot solid rubber “speed” style jump rope and a drawstring bag.
There was plenty of equipment that can give teachers enough ideas to help with students staying active and working on skills. Considering that this bag did not have everything that I would choose for my kids, there was plenty there that could easily be adapted at home. Here are some quick tasks/ activities that you could use with the equipment that was in this pack:
- Bean Bag Tasks- Finding a personal space, the child can practice various skills with the bag. These include:
- Self toss/catch. Dominant v. non-dominant.
- Balance on various body parts.
- “Tossing” and catching with the various body parts.
- Sliding to a target. Take an empty container (milk, juice, soda) approximately 10-15’ away. Reinforcing stepping with the opposite foot before knocking down the object.
- Sidewalk Chalk Cornhole- Remember the box of chalk? On the driveway/walkway, draw two large squares (or other shape) approximately 15+’ away from each other. Have the child and another person see how close they can get to the middle of their opponent’s square. You can make this as detailed as possible…you have several colors of chalk and enough of it.
- Rubber Deck ring “hockey”- Using a broomhandle, hold the handle like a hockey stick. Students can practice by knocking down a stand up object by using the appropriate cues for striking with a long handled implement.
- Rubber Ring catch- Don’t have a frisbee or other disc? Yes you do. The student can hold and toss the ring like a frisbee. Want an added challenge for catching? Have the student “spear” the ring using their hand so that the ring is caught around the child’s arm.
- Jump Rope- I teach all my students at the beginning of the year how to properly hold and manipulate a rope in personal space. I believe it is a fundamental skill that all students should be able to do before they move on to the sixth grade. After polling the kids in my school, the large majority do not own one at home. That solves this problem.
- “Bubbles Soccer” (Foot/Eye Manipulative Activities)- Have students lay various stuffed animals or other items around an open space. Using the Classic Coat Versa ball as a soccer ball, the student tries to dribble around the space without touching an object. If it touches, their “bubble” (the ball) pops. The child can do three to five toe-touches in order to blow their bubble back up. They then continue on for play.
- Tactile Ball Tennis- After blowing up the ball, this ball is very light and bouncy. Find a partner (parent?) and a flat surface. Using their hand(s), the student practices striking the ball to their partner. See how many times you can rally to each other. Want it more competitive? Use your chalk to set up a court or other playing space.
- “Animal Chase”- Do you have a dog at home? Here is a fun idea to work on fleeing/dodging, agility. Gently tuck one end of the scarf inside your pet’s collar, so that the scarf flows behind like a cape. Try chasing your dog to snatch the scarf from them. This idea may backfire for many reasons (examples: animal chews the scarf, not allowing you to tuck it in, etc.), but can give you some creative ideas with it.
- Making a “foxtail”- Place the beanbag inside of the scarf. Pinch the scarf directly above the beanbag and tie off. You now have a weighted foxtail. With older children you can use this anyway you would in class.
- “Yoga Mat Hockey”- Using the rubber deck ring, get a partner and position each person at both ends of the yoga mat. Getting in a push-up plank position, each person tries to slide or roll the ring across the mat to their partner without falling to the floor. Each person gets only one turn before they stop or return the object.
- “Swat Ball”- Find two sturdy chairs (I used two from my dining room) and drape the yoga mat across the top of them like the top of a tent. Get a partner, kneel or sit outside the chairs. Using one of the balls from the pack (either the tactile or Classic Coat Versa), try to strike by swatting the ball with an open hand. Try to get the ball past their partner with the ball going under the yoga mat.