The first day of school is filled with jitters for students and educators alike. Including fun physical education activities gives everyone an outlet to release some of the nervous energy and creates an ice-breaker environment where students and teachers have the opportunity to get to know each other. Think outside the box when it comes to PE activities in the first days of school.

Simon Says

Simon Says is a simple game that most every child has played. Aside from the fun aspects of this game, it also teaches children to listen to the teacher and follow instructions. These are important lessons to emphasize at the start of each school year. You don't need any special materials to start a game of Simon Says and you can adjust the game based on the age and ability of the class. Give students the opportunity to lead the class as well, helping them develop leadership skills and become more confident in speaking to their new classmates.

Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt is an activity that builds teamwork and sportsmanship. These are great lessons to start the year with. The area to scavenge can be small or vast depending on the size and age of your class. For a school-wide scavenger hunt, you may need administrator approval and parental assistance to chaperone the students. This activity is a suitable physical education lesson for elementary students where the scavenger hunt may be to learn about the school and PE classes. For example, the scavenger hunt may be to find a "hand ball," helping kids learn where the ball box is. Something may be left for them at the jungle gym or the baseball diamond.

Switch and Rotate

Switch and Rotate is a game developed for fourth grade students and older. You will need several cones and a field or gym to play this game. Students pair up, alternating as leader and follower. The skills tested in this physical education lesson are correlating visual cues to their own physical movement. If a follower is not one arm's length from the leader when "stop" is called, they have not been attentive enough in following.

ABCs of PE

The ABCs of PE is a lesson plan that can integrate language arts concepts into a physical education lesson. For each letter of the alphabet, there should be a corresponding sport or physical activity that starts with the same letter. This is ideal for younger grades such as K-2 where students are learning the alphabet and language arts fundamentals. Creating "alphabet soup" stations throughout the week challenges students with a mini-obstacle course while performing letter and word recognition. For example, "B" might correspond to a "bowling" station with pins set up.