Social Distancing Game Ideas for Physical Education

By Drew Burris

At the end of July, we finally received the email that we were going back to school in person. I knew this was going to be a game changer. Limited equipment or no equipment was going to be the main focus for my area. This meant I had to take my Scope & Sequence for the year and turn it upside down. Our students were offered the choice to go virtual, which I already had several lessons made for At-Home P.E. when we went virtual in the Spring. This challenge was clear. How do you change a subject, in which you use equipment all the time?


Many guidelines came out over the summer of what could be done and what couldn’t be done, so I started with that.

  • Group play activities turned into individual activities
  • Limited or no equipment for use showed many different ways of creating lessons
  • Students being outside widens the box just a little bit for more for the lessons
  • Sanitizing equipment after use and hands before and after the activity
  • Making sure students were socially distanced during activities
  • Finally, the mask rule. Making sure students were protected with their masks and getting used to having them on.

I started by putting floor decals (I used 7×7 paw prints) down on my floor. You can also use spot markers, or floor tape/floor liquid markers. This way we could use the projector for more things. We always used the projector in previous years, and I felt it was going to be used more this year. I made my lesson visuals for everyone to see, since it helped a lot for teachers back in the spring. Detailed equipment, setup, activity, enrichment/modifications, and even standards connected to the lesson. The visual box provided a nice picture of the lesson.

Shoe Streams

The first activity we did was called Shoe Streams. A huge hit for the PE Community! The only equipment students were using was their own shoes! Students had to make it down the floor and back without touching the floor, but had to be on top of their shoes the whole time. Students using their own shoes and not touching anything else turned out to be a great idea. Almost 10,000 views on social media with comments left and right, so I knew I had to keep creating.


pe social distance game

PE game

Dot to Dot

I submitted an activity called Dot to Dot for a new magazine coming out for games using little or no equipment. Yes, the old Connect-the-Dot worksheet we all used to do, but I added just a little bit of equipment for this one. Again, people loved this one! I received many videos and pictures of teachers having their students playing this. I even received one from a teacher I followed years ago, when I first started Twitter, and that was huge in my book! My students play his activities all the time, and now him having his students play mine, just amazing. The only difference with this one was using jump ropes for each student. No sharing or changing colors was allowed and the sanitizing after took awhile, but students were excited to get back to normal for a bit.


activities for PE

PE activities social distance


One thing that crossed my mind, and I had never done it before was – what if we go Live? Have people watch what is going on in P.E. at this very moment. We played a game called FootLoose. Again, only using their shoes and a hula hoop. Students were seeing if they could flip their shoe off of their foot into the hoop. A word that was thrown to me was brilliant! You could do this outside and inside with students. We had almost 2,000 views and I was thanked for going outside the box and trying something different. I had to play with them because it was neat hearing how excited they were for a game.


footloose PE game

PE game footloose

The Centipede

An activity that I had done with Pre-K students for a quick warm-up last year was called The Centipede. Noodles laid out on the ground for students to jump over. While they’re moving, the line looks like a giant centipede. It got a lot of positives last year and since it required no students touching equipment, it was great for the current times. I stayed off social media for a couple of hours to go get a picture with my daughter for her cheerleading squad. When I logged back in, after less than 21 hours of this video being up, it took off! We’ve had over 12,600 views for the video and almost 700 likes. This one was popular since no equipment was being touched by students, and teachers could modify it to their needs for class.


PE activities social distancing

PE social distance


This activity is called ‘Toe’pedoes. Students flipping their shoe in the air, and trying to catch it before it landed. We decided to take this one outside. The students loved doing a Live broadcast, but we had some connection problems outside. So instead of telling them it wasn’t going to be Live, we pretended it was. This turned out to be great for everyone. All types of problems can occur when going Live, but you have to learn how to move on and continue. We plan on doing more Live shows for the future.


  • Cones (4)
  • Shoes πŸ‘Ÿ

social distance PE

social distance activities

Blast Off

The activity we recently played was called Blast Off! This included more sanitizing, since students had a couple more pieces of equipment to use. Students were pushing themselves off the wall, while on a scooter, to drop their shoe off in a hula hoop. They loved it! A lot of comments from teachers saying it was nice to see the student engaged with more equipment, but it does take more time to sanitize everything.


blastoff activity PE

pe activity

Bubble Bust

Our first projector activity was called Bubble Bust. I created this from PowerPoint in the summer. While students were standing on their paw print, they would see bubbles appear, and they had to jump on them to pop. A simple concept. Teachers loved it. Teachers in classrooms were even using this for brain breaks. Visit the Drew Burris Youtube channel for more ideas!

social distance activity

Balloon Pop

Balloon Pop was a popular one to use as well. PE Bowman created this one on YouTube. He has a lot of great content for students. I’ve created several projector activities from the past few years, and students have been able to do those. If you’d like to check out some awesome videos for virtual and social distancing PE, visit the PE Bowman Youtube channel.

balloon PE game

This is a different era for our profession. In-person, virtual, or hybrid teaching is a style that is a challenge, I wanted to be able to have students still learn, make it a fun environment, and stay as safe as possible. Through the comment I have received, it seems like we’re doing an alright job. We’re only a month into school, but I still have several ideas we can use for P.E.

drew burris pe teacherAbout the Author:

Drew Burris is in his 10th year of teaching Physical Education at Ridge View Elementary in Warrensburg, MO. He has been published on PE Central, published in The Great Activities Magazine, won the 2015 Star of the Classroom, won the 2016 CTA Teacher of the Year, won the 2018 MOSHAPE West Central District Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year, and presents at MOSHAPE (Missouri SHAPE Convention) every year. Drew says the best part of his job is seeing the students learning and also having fun being physically active. Drew has a website: projectphysed.weebly.comΒ with all his and other physical educators content on it. Twitter handle is @projectphysed.

More Great Blog Posts

1 thought on “Social Distancing Game Ideas for Physical Education

  1. Question:
    On the dot to dot what grade levels would you play this with and at the beg. do they all start on their own ploy spot (dot) from the front? And, for the ropes once they lay down the rope they walk it like a tight rope and when they arrive at a dot (poly spot) they have to stay on it and reel up the rope – correct? Lastly, the ropes with having different lengths wouldn’t that cause problems like fairness? Thanks for the help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *