One of the many great benefits of online school is that learning can be done from virtually anywhere. This is especially true for Physical Education (PE) class, which is a subject so many elementary school students look forward to in their school day.
What’s not to love? Whether held in your home, in your backyard, or at a local park, students get to play sports and other fun games in PE class, which is good for their overall health, can improve their mood, and can help them focus when it’s time to go back to their academic lessons.
While physical education requirements for online elementary school students vary by state, the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children and adolescents get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
Whether you need homeschool PE ideas, PE lesson plan ideas, or are enrolled in a virtual school and need to meet PE class requirements, here are eight fun outdoor PE games that can be done in your own backyard that will help get your elementary student moving.
1. Obstacle Courses
Obstacle courses are fun for kids of all ages and can be done with one or multiple students. They can also be completed when the weather turns cooler or if there is snow on the ground! Get creative when building the course with things found inside your home and vary the course activities.
- Lay hula hoops on the ground so students can jump from hoop to hoop.
- Fill a container with water and have students run with the container during part of the course.
- Add 10 jumping jacks or have students run around a tree as part of the course.
Fun obstacle courses should use several different muscle groups and improve coordination, making them wonderful outdoor PE games.
2. Simon Says
Simon Says has been around a long time, but still holds up as a fun outdoor PE activity for kids of all ages. In this game, someone is chosen as “Simon,” and they direct students to complete various physical activities, such as hop on one leg or run around the house. If Simon doesn’t say “Simon Says” before giving instructions, any student that does what they’re told is “out.”
In addition to getting kids active, this game promotes good listening skills!
3. Beanbag Toss
Beanbag toss can be played with a traditional wooden beanbag board or with any open-ended container, such as an old coffee can, small wastebasket, or even a laundry basket. Here are the steps to get started with this PE game:
- Simply have your student stand a short distance from the container and have them gently throw the beanbag into the container.
- If they make it in, have them step back to make it challenging.
- If you have multiple students and want to make it more competitive, set up three different containers at different distances, and award points to the player based on which container they get the bags into on their turn.
- Play until one of the players scores 21 points.
4. Snowball Toss
This fun PE game is a variation of the beanbag toss that can be played when the weather gets cold! Have your students make snowballs, then find containers to throw the snowballs into, just like the beanbag toss. You can also have them aim their snowballs at trees, moving the student farther and farther back to see if they can still hit the tree on their turn.
5. Backyard Volleyball
This can be played with a traditional volleyball or an inflatable beach ball. For younger students, you don’t even have to set up a net. Simply create a line with either chalk or string. Students can volley the ball back and forth across the net or line, and score points up to whatever number you choose!
Hopscotch is another fun outdoor PE game that has stood the test of time. To start the game:
- Simply draw numbered squares from 1–10 on your driveway or sidewalk in a board pattern using chalk.
- Your student tosses a stone or other marker to the first square, then hops on one foot into each empty square.
- At the last square, they turn around and go back, leaning over to pick up the marker.
- On the next turn, the student tosses the marker into the second square, and hops through the course the same way.
This is another fun game that can be played with one or multiple students!
This game works well if you have multiple students or are part of an online school learning pod. One person is chosen as “it,” and they chase the other students around, trying to catch or tag them. Once another person is tagged, they become “it.”
This game has several variations, including freeze tag, where once the person is tagged, they freeze until everyone has been caught, and infection tag, where once the person is tagged, they join the person who is “it” in catching the others. Every time a person is tagged, they move to the “it” side to catch the others.
Racing is a fun outdoor game for kids that really gets the heart rate up and is great exercise. Races can be done with any number of students and can also be done when the temperature drops. Just be sure to dress appropriately when holding PE class outside in the winter. Races can happen with students simply running from point A to point B, or you can add variations, such as a sponge race, balloon or snowball relay, or sack race.
More PE Ideas
If it does get too cold to hold PE class outside, there are still ways to stay active! Check out these indoor physical fitness activities for online elementary school students.
Aren’t sure how to schedule PE class into your online student’s school day? Here are some tips for establishing schedules and building a routine in online school.