Education Cheat Sheet: Tips for Fitness at Home from a P.E. Teacher

Virtual classes and more time at home usually meant increased screen time (for parents too). Here are some fun ways to add new energy to a simple game of tag for the entire family.


Education Cheat Sheet Fitness Ideas Pe Teacher Photo Hawaii Baptist Academy

Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i Baptist Academy


We’re all looking forward to a new, and largely in-person, school year. Our kids are excited to see friends and spend some time with other students this fall. But there will still be challenges to keep the health and safety of our kids at the forefront as COVID-19 numbers continue to fluctuate. So how can you encourage active play time in groups safely, whether it is as a family or with new friends in the neighborhood at school? I love the game of tag because you can add so many variations and create almost entirely new games. Here are some ideas to freshen it up while keeping kids playing safely.


1. Play with foam noodles or frisbees. Tag is one of the best games to get young ones moving and interacting with one another, and it can be done without any contact. Just replace hands with foam pool noodles or foam frisbees. In addition to keeping everyone healthy, you’ll avoid the headache of tags that are too hard and often result in crying, arguing or tattle-telling. If you don’t have either of these items, paper plates, a rolled-up piece of construction paper or car wash sponges are all excellent replacements.


2. Find a safe space. Grassy areas are great for little ones since they frequently fall. Being outside in an open space also allows you and your students to get some fresh air and not worry about ventilation.


3. Try some variations. For example, try Math Tag. After a child is tagged, both the child and tagger show a number using their fingers. The first person to add the numbers together and give the sum is the winner. The loser takes the frisbee/noodle and tries to tag someone else. Students can use any type of math like addition, subtraction, multiplication or division. Another great variation of this game is Manners Tag. When a student is tagged, they must sit on the ground with one hand up. In order to get unfrozen, another student must come over and ask, “May I please help you?” The sitting person must answer, “Yes, thank you for your help.” After demonstrating good manners, the frozen student is free to run around again.


For more tag ideas, check out my book, Easy P.E. Games for Classroom Teachers. Each game comes with a lesson, a skill focus and a teaching point to help develop students cognitively, emotionally and physically. The book is available for purchase on Amazon for $4.99, or it’s free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription.


Joseph Aguiar received a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a teaching credential for K-12 physical education from Point Loma Nazarene University. He has been an elementary physical education teacher for 20 years, including the past 18 years at Hawai‘i Baptist Academy.