How to Get Family Involved in Your PE Program

Are you looking for ways to involve family in your PE program? By inviting parents and other family members to attend PE class at your school, it helps encourage students to participate. Scheduling family time is a great way to inspire both family and students to stay physically active and learn different activities together as a group.

PE teacher Mary Cluley shares some great ideas below, including Playing with Pops in PE, Movement with Moms, and Gigglin’ and Groovin’ with Grandparents.

Family Time for Physical Education

To make sure we have attendance of the parents and grandparents, I create a flyer that goes home in the student Monday folders about a month before. View the samples here.

I choose the games for each of these activities for many reasons. First, different activities are for different age groups. I also like to choose active games, and take into consideration space requirements regarding safety. And lastly, it must be FUN for all!

Playing with Pops in PE

family night PE

About 90% of the dads in our school come during their child’s PE class! Some of the activities include Build Up, Hot Potato Tag, Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, Mushroom Ball, and Oogedy Boogedy Tag. The dads all seemed to have such a good time!

Build Up

This is a fantastic game I got from my TAHPERD Conference in December 2017. Have 4 large cones with a photo of a diamond, club, heart and spade taped to each. Place them in the corners of a large square. Have buckets in the middle of the square with 3-4 decks of cards in them. Begin the game by asking the class to spread out around the outside of the square. Students run around the square 1 time then go to the middle to choose a card. If they get a spade, they go to the spade cone and wait for someone else with a spade to get there. Then they do “rock, paper, scissors” and whoever wins, gets the card or cards. Then, BOTH students run around the square again, then go to the buckets to get a card. At the end, the winner is the student who has the most cards! I always play music during this activity too.

Hot Potato Tag

Students get into 2 groups, passing a ball or any silly object around the circle, sitting down. When the music stops, whoever has the ball stands up and tries to tag people with it (not throw it at them). When someone gets tagged, they go to the mats and get in the pushup plank position until the game is over! Then we re-start the game. If it is too long, I’ll just end the game and start over. The dads and students loved it this one!

Goldilocks and the 3 Bears

All players are in a long line. Get a regular sized chair, and a chair from preschool. Choose a Papa bear, a Mama bear and a Baby bear. It’s great if you choose those in the group who are the most animated!  At the beginning of the game, everyone in the line shouts, “WHO’S IN THE HOUSE?” I stand behind the 3 bears, and I tap one on the shoulder and if it is Papa bear, he loudly says, “PAPA BEAR!” and the student can take 3 steps forward. If “Mama bear,” 2 steps forward and “Baby bear,” 1 step forward. The students get closer and closer to the 3 bears. At some point, I shout out, “GOLDILOCKS!” and everyone runs back to the line and the 3 bears are trying to tag them. Make sure you have a lot of room for this game, so everyone stays safe!

Mushroom Ball

This is a crowd favorite! Here is a link to the instructions on

Oogedy Boogedy Tag

This activity is from the PE Central website. Here is the link to the instructions.

Movement with Moms

Movement with moms in PE

Dance Theme

I always include a dance or two for the Movement with Moms program. We women seem to like to dance! This year I did the “Waka Waka Walk,” which was basically follow the leader to the Shakira song, “Waka Waka.” I also like Jim Gill’s CD’s, and for preschool and 5k we did “Family Good bye” and Swing your Partner” which are really fun songs.

Glow in the Dark

Divide everyone into groups of 7 or 8, and hand out glow in the dark balls. The group practices making up a patterns with the balls. Then when it’s competition time, they create their pattern and the first team to sit down is the winner.

Gigglin’ and Groovin’ with the Grandparents

grandparents in PE

This is something I do once per year, and we always have a good turnout! I think of more “low-impact” activities for this event. I also like partner activities because I am a grandparent myself and I love looking into the eyes of my grandchild with love!

Touch & Pass

To play “Toe, toe, knee knee, shoulder shoulder pass”, sit in a circle and each have a critter or something soft, and we touch that body part then PASS. We do it in a large group to include everyone. It is really fun!

Mirror Movement

Put on the song, “Hey, that’s what I like about YOU!” and the grandparent and student face each other and copy the movement of the other. For example, on “Hey”, they did a big wave, then on “You”, they point to each other, and then starting with the grandparent, they could do whatever movement they wanted (for example, raise the roof, jumping jacks, dab, etc.) and the student would mirror the movement, and then it would be the students turn.

grandparents in PE

I hope these ideas help you keep your classes active and FUN!

*NOTE: Many of my ideas come from TAHPERD Conference manuals, along with Twitter and Facebook, PE Central, lots of different websites, and various PE books. Most are not my original ideas.

Mary Cluley, Wichita Falls, TX

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3 thoughts on “How to Get Family Involved in Your PE Program

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  3. This is so great! So many great ideas and what a wonderful way to get your community involved. Notre Dame is lucky to have Mrs. Cluley.

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