The winter athletic games is a great theme for PE. For my elementary school I have come up with 5 different events, and each one is included in the upcoming 2018 event.
I am a PE teacher at Marion Elementary School in Marion, KS. I teach all students Kindergarten through 5th grade. A few years ago, we had an Olympic theme for our school year. It was very easy to incorporate that into my activities in the gym. The next time the games came around, I decided to create some stations that went along with events that the kids might see on TV. I looked around at my supplies and came up with a few ideas. It is always fun to tie activities in the gym to what is going on in the world around us.
On the first day, I had students watch some video clips that I found on actual events so they could get an idea of what the real sports involved. We also talked about the lighting of the torch and the Opening Ceremonies. We discussed how they were always held in different countries around the world as well. I explained that while I was growing up, the games were only held every 4 years. Now, with them alternating the winter and summer events you get to experience the events every two years – which I love. Now that they had a little bit of background about the games, I explained what events we would be doing and how they would work in the gym without any ice or snow! Below is a list of the events I had planned.
2 Man Bobsled/4 Man Bobsled
In this activity, students get in pairs and sit on two scooters that are attached together (or a two person scooter). If you have scooter connectors these work great to hook the scooters together. You can also use duct tape as an alternative. Students will maneuver around cones through the “track”. They can take turns being in front and back. Scooters are always a hit no matter how you use them. For the 4-Man Bobsled event, I had some scooters taped into groups of 4.
Pairs Figure Skating or Skating
This activity has students skating around the gym or “rink”. Have them hold on to a rubber ring between them and “skate” around the area you set up with cones. For the “ice skates”, you can use anything that glides across the floor easily. We used plastic grocery sacks placed over their shoes and tied at their ankles. I had teachers save all their sacks and bring them to me at school for a while so I had enough built up for all kids in this activity. When one wears out you can just throw it out and use another. Students can also skate on their own if you choose not to do pairs. All of my students seemed to really enjoy this station!
For this activity, first you will set up the nets at one end of the gym. If you don’t have any nets, you can make them yourself or set up milk crates for the nets. For the hockey pucks, you can use soft or foam ones so that students won’t get hurt by the flying pucks. I used foam noodles cut into slices about 1 ½ to 2 inches thick. They weren’t very heavy, so they had to get fairly close to the net. Although the high sticking with the hockey sticks made me a little nervous, I warned the kids about being very careful when at this station. They took turns shooting at the goal.
- Recycled bottles
- Floor tape
This activity works great if you have a center circle in your gym. I created a DIY curling game that worked for my program. Students stand behind different lines designated as the starting spots. I used laundry detergent bottles with a handle, and you can fill them with water, sand, rice, or whatever works for you. Students take turns sliding them towards the center circle. I had point areas taped to the floor on the “target”. Certain areas were worth 1, 2 or 3 points. Each team takes turns sliding their bottle and keeps track of their points. I also made sure to show them some video clips on this sport since Kansas is not a place where curling is a popular sport. If your school has the budget, you can use a real floor curling set.
For the Biathalon event, students will cross country ski around a track you set up with cones. Have students stand on something that glides across the floor, like felt floor spots if you have them. I used carpet square that are cut in half, then turned them carpet side down. Students stand on them and have to scoot/ski them around the track. After making their way around the track, have them “remove their skis” and lay down on the mat for the shooting part of the event. Set up targets with milk crates on the wall. Students will throw foxtails at the targets trying to score points. After three throws, the students get up, put their skis back on and continue around the track. Repeat this activity until the time is up at the station.
Set up a course with cones or some type of markers. Students will use ski poles (you can use either scooter poles or pool noodles) and must “ski” through the course. I had students jumping while zigzagging side to side to move through the course. This adds more movement and goes along with the skiing theme.
The students seemed to really enjoy the different stations that they participated in. I only have 25 minute classes with around 40-45 students, so I had this set up for two days to make sure that all the kids got a chance to participate in all the stations. I plan to try and create more stations as the years go on. I am always looking for new ideas to keep the students engaged and active!
About the Author:
Nicki Case is a Physical Education teacher at Marion Elementary School in Marion, KS. She teaches grades K-5 and is currently in her 7th year of teaching PE. Nicki also taught 6th grade for 20 years before that. During the first 5 years of those 20 in the classroom, I also was their PE teacher.