“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. Instant activities are an effective way to stimulate student learning prior to the day’s lesson.” Click here – (Top 7 Instant Activities for PE)
Instant activities are also a useful means to spiral back to a previous unit. For example, if we cover basketball skills in September, we will incorporate similar basketball skills as instant activities periodically throughout the school year.
What about fitness? We love incorporating body weight challenges, AMRAPs (as many rounds/repetitions as possible), jump ropes, and hula hoops as instant activities. Instant activities help to fulfill our mission of keeping our students thinking and in motion throughout each class.
Below is a list of ten more of my favorite instant activities. Enjoy!
Exercise Creation with Foam Cylinders – “With a partner, create an exercise that can strengthen your core muscles.”
Instant activities allowing students to create with a partner are always popular. Try leaving sets of 2-3 pieces of equipment around the gym. Challenge your students to create a game using the equipment. Give them parameters such as boundary limits and basic guidelines to keep everyone safe.
In the following video, students were challenged to create a core exercise with a foam cylinder. Prior to their arrival, I spread out the cylinders throughout the gym. As they entered I quickly partnered them up. After reading the challenge on our video screen (or whiteboard), they immediately began the task. As the students create, I like to filter through the gym, observing partner dynamics.
Kangaroo Tag – “Welcome to Australia! It’s time for Kangaroo Tag. Green kangaroos are it.”
As the students enter the gym, I hand them a noodle and call out, “Welcome to Australia! It’s time for Kangaroo Tag. Green kangaroos are it.” Students immediately put the noodle between their feet and begin jumping. Anyone with a green noodle is a tagger, while everyone else is a fleer. When tagged by a green kangaroo, the student performs ten mountain climbers on the sideline with hands on the noodle before reentering the game. After one minute, I call out a different color kangaroo to be the taggers.
Roll for Fitness Challenge
I’ve done this with groups of 2-4 students depending on class size. Spread out the Roll for Fitness sheets along with two dice throughout the gym. As the students enter, quickly group them up and immediately send them to a challenge sheet. Partners each toss a die into the air then catch it. They add the two numbers that are facing up. Each number, from 1-12, has a corresponding exercise on the Roll for Fitness challenge sheet.
Note: I’ve used this as a station during prior PE classes. For this reason, students are familiar with the directions, and I’m able to use it as an instant activity.
Click Roll for Fitness Instant Activity for a copy of the challenge.
Evenly space enough paddles with a bean bag throughout the gym for each student.
Instant Activity #1 – Individual challenges
Students practice tossing and catching the bean bag in their own space. I’ll post individual challenges on the screen.
Instant Activity #2 – Partner Challenge
Students toss their bean bags to each other, attempting to catch the bean bag in their hands. I’ll post the following challenges on the screen?
- How many times you can both catch the bean bag?
- Can you toss the bean bag with your non dominant hand?
- Can you toss the bean bag to each other, then catch it with your paddle?
Plank Hand Tag
Students enter the gym and without hesitation begin the challenge. In plank position, each student tries to tap the opposing student’s hand. The first one to tap the opponent’s hand three times wins the round. Each player then searches for another challenger.
Ice Cream Parlor – “The Ice Cream Parlor is about to open. The manager is hiring anyone who can scoop the ice cream into a cone. Be careful not to drop the ice cream on the floor.”
This is a favorite instant activity with my first grade students. Before the students enter the gym, I greet them at the door and tell them that the ice cream parlor is open. Students enter the gym and retrieve a plastic scoop, a yarn ball, and a small cone and practice tossing the ice cream with their scoop into the cone. After a brief amount of time, students will partner up and toss the ice cream to each other. I’ll let the videos speak for themselves.
Individual Ice Cream Scooper
Partner Ice Cream Scoopers
Noodle Fun – “Create as many movements as you can with your noodle in personal space!”
You’ll never know what the kids with discover when given the opportunity to create with swim noodles. Before your students arrive, spread out one swim noodle for each student. Below are two videos showcasing movements create by first graders. I now use their ideas with my other classes!
Noodle Skate Boarding
Noddle Pogo Stick
Freeze Dance – “Find your own personal space and move to the beat of the music. Freeze when the music stops.”
Students enter the gym and begin dancing to the beat of the music. When the music stops, they freeze!
For more INSTANT ACTIVITIES check out one of my previous posts called, TOP 7 INSTANT ACTIVITIES FOR PE!
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