The printable activities below were inspired by an incredible PE teacher at my kids’ elementary school. Each month, the homework she gave was an exercise calendar for the kids to fill out. They would write down anything they did to get exercise outside of school, and indicate if it was cardio, strength training, or endurance. I think she had a target amount of exercise, but it was mostly about having them track their movement. For my kids most of their exercise came from an after school recreational soccer program, but the rest usually came from our walks to and from school, and we learned that the act of tracking their exercise made us more likely to walk instead of drive to school to help them get in a few more minutes on their calendars each month.
I was surprised and pleased by how this teacher’s simple exercise calendar changed my family’s habits. Even after that PE teacher left the school we kept up our walking routine, and as my kids moved on to middle school and high school farther away from our house, both of them rode their bikes in part to keep that morning exercise routine going.
These lessons inspired me to create some printables (and phone apps) to help kids want to keep moving, and hopefully help other PE teachers inspire their students the ways ours inspired us. If you’re a teacher, you can even get a teacher discount.
1. Walk To School Bingo
I made this bingo board for our elementary school’s Walk To School week. We printed this board on thick card stock and gave a copy to every kid in the school so they could carry it with them to mark off each item they saw on their walk (or bike) to school. At the end of the week they turned in their completed boards as an entry to a drawing for a small prize.
I eventually made the bingo activity work on phones too for easier portability. You can use this exact bingo board printed or on your phone for free, or you can make a purchase to design your own walk to school bingo board.
2. Fitness Bingo
This bingo board is meant to inspire kids to try different kinds of activities and find out what they like. Enjoying physical activity is the most important thing to helping anyone do it consistently. I love to walk, and kept trying and trying to get my kids to join me on walks to keep them moving, especially through Covid when our options were so limited. My oldest quickly learned that he much preferred to play sports with his friends – he spent his teen years playing football, soccer, basketball, baseball, and frisbee with his friends every chance they could get. My younger son plays on a soccer team, but rarely met his friends at the park for pickup games like his big brother did. Eventually, though, he discovered that he loves lifting weights. He’s now a regular at the gym. I may never get him to take a walk with me again, but he’s active and taking care of his body, and that’s what matters.
There are lots of ways you can use this BINGO board. As a PE teacher, you can assign it as homework, and have kids try things on the list to get 5 in a row. As a parent, you can do the same, or encourage them to work to block out the whole board. Better yet, do it with them! If you need a little randomness built in because they won’t pick, try rolling a die 2 times. The first roll chooses the column. The second one chooses the row. If they roll a 6, they can to pick a column or a row.
You can print as many copies as you want of this bingo board as is, or you can make a purchase to edit it with your own set of activities.
3. Fitness Challenge
The idea behind this printable is to track your child’s activity over time for a few reasons. First, it can help them figure out what activity they are most likely to do consistently. If you have them pick 5 activities they think they like, they may be surprised to see which of the five is the one they fit in most often. Second, the act of tracking an activity can also be an inspiration in and of itself. I recommend having a child track their activity for a month, and see what happens. At the end of the month, talk to them about if and how they’d like to change their approach. They may want to switch out activities based on what they’ve learned, or they may want to give themselves specific goals for the second month, like try to do one activity 10 times to complete the whole chart, or try to do all of the activities 5 times, or maybe just try to improve on their previous chart by a certain number of squares.
You can print this chart as is for free, or you can make a purchase to be able to edit it and choose your own activities.
4. Scavenger Hunt
I came up with this idea during Covid when I was trying to get my 12-year-old son moving again. Between online school, the cancellation of soccer, and the draw of online video games with friends, I was desperate to help him stay healthy and active. He was a little old for this, but it still helped some! When we did the first list, we altered our route just a little bit in order to see everything on it. That helped us walk a bit farther. He liked the idea of the animals, but it was hard to know for sure where to go to see a squirrel or a cat and he gave up. The last list required some serious thinking about where we might find the signs, and got us walking around parts of our town we wouldn’t have explored otherwise. It was fun! I think his favorite, though, isn’t shown here. I created a list of colors, and asked him to find an object of each color somewhere on our walk. When he completed that, we narrowed it down to searching for flowers of each color. It was fun to walk around finding the best gardens in the neighborhood.
You can try all of these for free here, or purchase the Picture Lists to make your own lists.
5. PE & Science Crossover
This last one is just a twist on the scavenger hunt shown above, but it has the added benefit of combining exercise and science. Take your kids on a walk, and have them fill in a square each time they see one of the things on the list. They’ll be creating a bar graph that will let them visually see which item they spotted the most often on the walk. For a little more learning, this is a great opportunity to introduce them to the scientific method. Ask them to plan a route, and then make a prediction about which item they will see the most often. They can write down their prediction (or hypothesis) on the back of the paper so they’ll remember. If you want, they can also explain why they chose the item they did. Then on the walk, show them that they are collecting data as they go. After the walk, have them analyze the data by looking at the graphs to say which item they saw the most often. Then have them draw a conclusion about whether or not they were right, and why or why not.
If they’re engaged, talk about their observation, and have them make a new prediction that they can test on their next walk, and let them design the experiment by choosing a new route, or going at a different time of day, or putting different items on the list – whatever is interesting to them.
If you’re a teacher assigning this, you can have all the kids collect data in their neighborhoods, and then compare results. Talk about why the results might be different for each student.
You can get a PDF with all 5 of the activities for free on Teachers Pay Teachers.