Art & Physical Education Lessons

Art and physical education go well together, naturally.

Art and physical education are usually thought of as different domains, but integrating them can be of much benefit to children. For kids reluctant to learn about art, using physical activity will have them jumping at the chance; for kids who prefer not to participate in gym class, the artistic components of your lessons will keep them engaged and active.

1 Physical activities using pre-made art

Bring in a series of paintings, reproductions or projections of paintings. Have students form into groups of four or five. Each group will choose a different painting and reproduce it physically. It is best to choose paintings depicting people, and ideally, people assembled in a unique or interesting formation. Alternatively or additionally, have the students create a back story to the painting, which they can then act out.

2 Physical activities to create art

These kind of activities are good for a rainy day, when students have unspent energy from not going outside. Hang mural paper on all four walls of a gymnasium, and place different colored markers around the room at the base of the wall. Play music, and allow the students to run around. Each time you periodically stop the music, students must run to the wall, pick up a marker, and draw what they feel. Ideally, each time they will run to a different place, and the result will be a large, multicolored, collaborative mural.

3 Artistic activities about sports

While these activities demand less physical exertion, they still teach students about physical activity. Have students select their favorite sport and draw a scene of someone, or a group of people, playing that sport. Alternatively, have students draw what they think good physical fitness looks like, and what bad physical fitness looks like. Go over the drawings together as a class, teaching students which activities are healthy and which are not.

4 Activities using both sports and art equally

If you want to teach art and exercise together, try setting up an art obstacle course. For this activity, prepare three different art stations, each with a different objective (drawing a picture of a person, creating a Plasticine model of themselves and a gluing activity, for example). Between stations, students must pass through a series of physical obstacles, such as pylons, rope-skipping or cartwheels.

David Coodin began working as a writer in 2005, and has been published in "The Walrus." He contributes to various websites, writing primarily in the areas of education and art. Coodin holds a Ph.D. in English literature from York University in Toronto.