Instant activities are designed to actively engage students in PE class the moment they walk through the gymnasium doors. Usually posted on a whiteboard or monitor, instant activities involve every student with very little teacher involvement. They’re typically high energy, but can also take on a cooperative component. Typically lasting about 5 minutes, instant activities are an effective way to stimulate student learning prior to the day’s lesson. Below are a few instant activities your students might enjoy.
Plank, Paper, Scissors, Shoot!
Plank, Paper, Scissors, Shoot is based on a game called Head Honcho by JD Hughes. To begin, students pair up at the first of 5 levels. I use the lines on my gym floor to divide each level. You can also use spots or cones. When the music begins, each pair plays rock, paper, scissors while holding a PLANK position. The winner of the challenge advances forward to the second level, while the loser remains at the first level. Students quickly find another challenger within the same level. Once a student reaches, then wins at the fifth and final level, he receives a winning ticket. He returns to the first level to repeat the process. I’m sure your students will enjoy working on their core strength while playing this fast-paced game!
Hula Hoop Fitness Timer
This is another instant activity that works well for all ages. As students enter the gym they each pick up a hula hoop and find personal space. Next, they spin their hoop on the floor, then perform an exercise of their choice until the hoop completely stops spinning. Once the hoop falls to the floor, they choose a different exercise and repeat the process. You can also specify the types of exercises wherever you post the instant activities (aerobic, lower body, etc).
The Race to 3
I love using my old coffee cans for a variety games. One of my favorite “coffee can” games is the Race to 3. Before the students arrive I set up the cans throughout the gym, each with two hollow plastic balls. When students enter the gym, they immediately pair up and go to a coffee can. The object of the game is to be the first to bounce a ball into the can three times. Once a match is over, each player MUST shake hands and say, “good game.” The winner of the game stays and raises his hand while the loser travels to find another person to challenge who is seated with their hand up. I use this instant activity as a way to reinforce SPORTSMANSHIP with my students. It also happens to be an all-time favorite among students.
Good old-fashioned jump rope is one of THE best instant activities. It gives students an opportunity to work on their coordination, timing, and creativity while getting a significant workout! Long rope challenges in groups of three or four are also a fun way to increase hearts rates while enhancing teamwork and cooperation.
Build and Take Shelter
Hula Hoops are one of my favorite pieces of equipment for PE. Build and Take Shelter is another reason why. This instant activity can be modified for any grade level. Prior to PE class, I space out several groups of six hula hoops. I will also set up one hula hoop sphere in the center of the gym as a visual. Upon entering the gym, students are instructed to find a group of three, then Build and Take Shelter. Their mission is to work together to build a sphere. Once the sphere is completed, each student must climb through without knocking it over. Once each player has crawled through successfully, they repeat the process. Students also have the option to try and fit each member in the sphere at one time. This makes for a great photo!
For older students, you can make this challenge more competitive. Before class, the teacher can spread out spots throughout the gym. Each group must Build and Take Shelter on as many spots as possible in five minutes.
As teachers, we all want to increase students’ ability to concentrate, enhance hand-eye coordination, and build self-confidence. Juggling can benefit all three. Juggling is an awesome instant activity, after you’ve taught the basics in prior classes. We teach juggling from kindergarten – 6th Grade. With our students we begin with scarves and later progress to bean bags, juggle bugs, and sometimes juggling pins. You’ll be shocked at how quickly your students will pick up this skill with a little practice and determination. Juggling is another one of our students’ favorite instant activities.
Partner AMRAP (As Many Rounds as Possible)
Finally, anything fitness related makes an outstanding instant activity. Popular with our program is a partner AMRAP. As students enter the gym, they read the whiteboard and get to work. Partner AMRAPs can include a variety of exercises and skills relating to your present unit. Check out one of my previous posts called Top 5 Motivating Fitness Routines to see a video of a basketball AMRAP.
Although these are seven of MY favorite instant activities, there are certainly hundreds of more that are equally effective. Please share some of your ideas!
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