Early Childhood Physical Activity: What do Our Lesson Plans Teach?


We believe all students require our best effort. Whether you’re a concerned parent or a curious teacher, we know you feel the same.

So when it comes to our youngest students, we know only the most comprehensive lesson plans will do; plans that integrate active movement, life skills, critical thinking—and of course, fun!
That’s why SPARK created an early childhood education manual with 11 instructional units. Our methods are trial-tested and teacher approved, and parents are sure to see improvement in their child’s abilities across the board.

Read on for more information about what SPARK lesson plans teach our students in early childhood physical activity.

Unit 1: Building Blocks

An example lesson in this unit is Starting and Stopping. Students focus on basic movement skills like starting and stopping all parts of the body. Comprehension is also practiced through auditory discrimination and spatial relationships and awareness.

Games like “Motion Memory Goodbye Game” and “Travel! Go Home!” and “Dance Freeze” are fun, keep students engaged with the teacher and with other students, and help strengthen those all-important building blocks.

Click Here for a sample lesson plan from this unit.

Unit 2: Musical ASAPs

When we combine music and physical education, we strengthen extremely important developmental areas for children: rhythmic expression, locomotor skills and balance. This unit focuses on getting students to sing simple rhyming songs like “Knees Up, Mother Brown” while participating in class-wide movements.

Students also learn how their movement affects their own bodies by feeling for their heartbeat. These lessons are vital because these skills help students connect their learning to real-world applications.

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Unit 3: Super Stunts

This unit focuses on getting students to expand their physical abilities using safe activities like “Single Leg Balances.” This activity challenges students to do a variety of maneuvers, including standing on one foot, crossing legs while standing, balancing like a bird on one leg, and many others.

This fun lesson can be combined with other movement activities for extra challenges. For example, include “Travel! Go Home!” from Unit 1 to introduce a kinetic element to the lesson.

Lessons like this focus on balancing, agility, role playing, and lower body strength, which enable children to become more confident in their movements and physical abilities.

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Unit 4: Parachute Play

“Popcorn” is always a PE favorite. Using a parachute, mesh balls, and their own muscles, students create a multi-colored frying pan that teaches them color recognition, group cooperation and upper-body strength.

These skills help students learn to work with others and even to motivate each other as they work toward a common goal.

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Unit 5: Hoop It Up

This unit uses hoops to teach a wide variety of important skills. For example, in the “Musical Hoops” lesson, students will practice sharing, auditory discrimination, creative imagery, and lower-body strength.

Since hoops can be used in a huge number of ways, our lesson plans use this unit to connect many previous and future units to one another. With the addition of music, for example, students combine important motor skills with creativity and critical thinking.

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Unit 6: Ribbons, Scarves, Balloons for Me

This unit expands Unit 5’s hoops theme with a variety of other types of materials. Ribbons and scarves add in another creative element as well as introduce new types of physical abilities (it takes a different set of skills to hold a hoop than it does to hold a ribbon!).

An example lesson here is “Abracadabra” and students learn tossing, catching, and shape recognition—all vital skills for growing children.

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Unit 7: Fluffball Fun

Fine motorskills are essential to the physical development of a young child. By using lessons like “Sit and Toss” in this unit, students use the soft and safe fluffballs to learn tossing, hand-eye coordination, visual tracking, and how to cross their body’s midline.

By using such a lightweight item, our lesson plans encourage correct movement skills without danger of heavier objects. This allows students to become adept at specific movements and abilities that build their confidence in a fun way.

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Unit 8: Beanbag Bonanza

The next step in locomotor skills is with beanbags. This unit expands on the previous units by combining visual and auditory recognition skills to hand-eye coordination and visual tracking.

An example lesson is “Self-Tossing,” which includes a ton of fun games that help students learn to follow instructions and build their independence by working alone.

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Unit 9: Rope Action

Rope lessons are a huge step forward for our young PE students. With lessons like “Introduction to Ropes” students learn behavioral expectations, object manipulation, and pathway recognition.

This helps advance understanding of how objects fit into a space and how they can be used to perform certain tasks. Having these skills at a young age promotes creativity and independent critical thinking in these students.

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Unit 10: Have a Ball

This unit introduces ballistic events and quick reaction skills to students. With lessons like “Bounce and Catch,” hand-eye coordination is again practiced, as is bouncing and catching. These two skills are important to add into the student’s ever-growing repertoire of locomotive abilities, along with balancing, agility and upper- and lower-body strength.

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Unit 11: Fancy Feet

We wrap-up the early childhood PE lesson plans with a unit that focuses on what we find in our shoes sometimes—our feet! An example lesson here is “Kicking for Distance” and it focuses on balance, auditory discrimination, and visual tracking, as well as kicking.

Once young students have practiced fine motor skills, our lesson plans move into establishing large-scale locomotor skills that children use to interact with the world around them, including one another.

Click Here for a sample lesson plan from this unit

Together, these 11 units form a comprehensive instructional plan that teaches young children exceptionally useful skills from sharing and cooperation to identifying colors and sounds to building strength and coordination.