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In many instances , it is necessary to keep the students moving and one way to do that is

to ensure what we teach is relevant . Another way is to include homemade or makeshift

equipment available when the students are at home . But, this should be included as part

of the physical education class , too. It will give the students an opportunity to

demonstrate their creativity and make equipment accessible in and out of school. A part

of that process is to include fitness calendars , which will not only incorporate skills ,

tasks , and activities , but also utilize basic equipment  around the home. The best part of

using makeshift /homemade equipment is that the entire family will be involved.  By

taking any material available in the house or yard , the students will be able to perform

activities that are free , easy to use , and comprise integration , imagination and relevant

media content that interests them.

Recipe . After the students use the fitness calendar and turn it icafeteria staff.  Also, a

fitness bag is sent home with equipment , rubrics ,skills and rules of some lead up games .

 Each week more calendars are chosen to repeat the process . As an incentive to

incorporate  a lifetime of fitness , the students may make up their own calendars using the

makeshift equipment in their homes.

Integration with the core subjects plays an important part of the recipes for success. There

will be many math calculations , reading newspapers , and writing projects . This will be

combined with media content and developmentally appropriate activities to guarantee a

positive learning experience. Here are some ideas , but it must be understood that it is a

creative procedure that will change often and make the” recipe” different and delectable

to the needs and abilities of the students :

Save the phonebooks . Each household receives the thick, yellow book with thousands of

pages . Don’t throw it away just yet or use it  as a door stop . Instead, try using them as a

light weight or place  some about 3 feet apart with a golf tube . This can be used to crawl

under or jump over . Count(math) how many jumps can be made in 30 seconds and then

repeat the performance for  a better score. Challenge the family or have friends complete

the task .

Got milk ? The empty milk jugs can be used as light weights with water or sand  inside.

The jugs can also be used as boundaries , for a slalom course or a fitness circuit .  During

winter months , they can be used as goals for a crab soccer  or mini-hockey game with

foam balls from the craft store . Ask Mom for help and she will be involved in the action


The Hills are alive with the Sound of Silence . No ,its not a movie , but the silent sound

of paper wad balls  being tossed into trash containers or cardboard boxes . It is a safe way

to practice throwing and catching skills , throwing at wall targets made from pizza pie

inserts . Numbers can be drawn on the pizza inserts and use math computations to keep

score . Ask Dad or friends to join in the fun. No serious competition permitted unless it’s

improving  a previous performance. This is one time when a computer typing  error with

a  throw away paper wad will be a good thing. Add masking tape for more a more sturdy

throwing object . Help with the laundry and toss the paper wad balls into  a laundry

basket from varying distances. Even rolled up socks can be used for more distance and

variety .

Soda pop cans. By stacking the cans in  a pyramid shape , you can set up a bowling alley

in a (3-2-1) set up . There are different types of balls that may be utilized such as , a

styrofoam ball from the craft store , a foam ball , yarn ball , or tennis ball . Also, you can

simulate a cup stacking arrangement . Make sure to cover the soda pop can opening with

masking or duct tape. For integration activities , examine the bar code with nutritional

requirements and place them with health ingredients and calories . Do percentages and

math calculations with different labels .

Make it a very GOODYEAR .  Use discarded car tires as a tug of war activity , a target

that is hung from a tree limb , agility station like a football drill , or roll the tire for

distance and strength . With older students , the tire(s) can be used as a weight in various

body positions. Of course , the tires can be used as targets that hang from a tree limb.

Swing the tire for more intense throwing practice.

Good to the last drop . Fill coffee can(s) with loose change for a weight , a goal ,

boundaries , or an indoor basketball hoop . Ask Mom to use a can opener to open up the

bottom part of the can. Ask Dad to screw the can onto a small wood , backboard and then

on a basement wall . Use tennis balls to simulate a basketball shooting contest or game. It

can be placed on a tree for outside play with different types of balls . (yarn ball , foam

ball or rag ball .

Fore . Golf tubes  can be balanced on either hand for a time limit , used inside traffic

cones  with a piece of yarn for a volleyball standard and a balloon  to volley. To practice

for the back yard Summer Olympics , the tubes are just like safe javelins . Place the tubes

on top of traffic cones to crawl under or jump over. The tubes make for a wiffle bat  with 

a balloon or golf practice wiffle ball .

UP ,UP and Away . Any helium type balloon can be volleyed with little difficulty. Put

numbers or letters on each balloon for integrative activities. Bring out a rope clothes line

to play a backyard volleyball game . The rope can be attached between two posts or trees

or held by two players , who may move around and change the height  for a variety of

skills . In  a mini –baseball game , the balloon may be pitched to another person who has

another balloon as a bat .

Hit the beach . Bring out the beach towels , blankets and bed sheets to be used as a

parachute or in a back yard volleyball game . The volleyball may be tossed from beach

towels over  a net. The net can be a jump rope, clothes line or leather strap .


Take the Plunge . Even though it may seem appalling but bathroom plungers make great

ski poles in the indoor Winter Olympics. By using scooters , skate boards or hardware

dollies , it can propel the students through  a slalom course or distance race. A trip to the

hardware store or dad’s tool box can find insulation foam to be ducted taped to the

plunger for a batting tee.

The wheel goes round and round . Used or old bike tubes make great targets  on the

ground for a makeshift horseshoe game. Place a tennis ball inside a tube sock for the

object to be tossed at varying distances  for points for all socks that land inside or close to

the tubes . The” flingo” tube socks can be used like an Ultimate game for easier catching

and throwing.

Two sheets to the wind. Ask Mom or Dad for some used dryer sheets for juggling skills.


STEP ON IT . The steps and staircase can be used as exercise techniques that align with

easy ways to include the entire family in a fitness routine. Every time there is a TV ad ,

you can walk up and down the stairs or steps in any(TV) ad that lasts from 30 –60

minutes. Another fitness idea is to do a STEP TEST on the bottom step by going (up ,up,

down, down ) for 5 minutes or at each commercial. Repeat the drill according to the TV

show or an assigned amount of time.  Help parents clean the house with a sweeper and

with each step , lift the sweeper  with an upward lift(two hands) like  a weight.

Strike it Rich . Any safe ,  flat household object can be used as a striking implement. Pull

out those colored ,plastic golf balls and strike them with  a pizza insert , a book ,a

homemade racquet with old nylons and bent clothes hangar , or a tennis racquet.

The Electric Slide. Any time the wood floors need cleaned use  a moist dish towel and

shuffle your feet to each side on the entire floor area. After this is done , switch over to a

dry dish towel to clean up any standing residue.

Fed Ex and UPS . Each time there is a delivery of household items look for the multi-

colored “peanuts “ that are placed in the box for a safe delivery. Gather all the peanuts

and put numbers or letters on each one. Scatter the peanuts about 5-10 feet away in front

of family members or friends . On a signal , they will have to spell a word or add the

numbers for points .

Soda or pop ? There are plastic inserts that come with a six pack of soda /pop containers.

They can be used as a  safe Frisbee inside the house or when tied together with twist ties

will make a volleyball net .


Do the STOMP . Check the national phone chains for the Pactiv Air cushioning material

that protects the phone in delivery . They are air tight bags that can be used a smash type

activity with some heavy stomping. After there is a break in the bag , seal it with tape and

fill it with water and ,place it in the freezer for a home made ice pack.

Shower yourself with praise.  Check out the shower curtain liners for unique ideas and a

great exercise regimen. This can be a great way to exercise to TV shows like MTV  and

VH 1. Open up the colored markers   and make your own DDR pad with all the arrows ,

directions and movements. Also, the curtain can be used as a target with all kinds of

designs . Place it against the house or a tree and add a ball to throw from varying

distances. To be more creative just take some Velcro and  tape and put it on the ball and

target for play inside . Technology can be added by making a keyboard on the shower

curtain . Use a spelling list of motor skills and use that skill to jump, hop, skip , leap and

twist/turn to each letter to make an assigned word.


This medicine is good stuff . At times , equipment is overused or breaks. In this case ,

don’t throw away a deflated basketball . Ask Dad to cut a small slit on top of the ball.

Then , pursue the house for anything that can be placed inside the ball for a homemade medicine ball . It can be materials from the family work shop , such as , ball bearings , or

lead balls. Make sure to duct tape the opening or sew with a heavy thread. This is a

wonderful  way to include all family members to share memories and working together.

Or, you can bring out an exercise mat or folded blanket to do some ab crunches with the

medicine ball . The ball can be passed at  a short distance for arm strength work .

Exercise is a ball .  Turn on the TV and exercise with the stationary ball at every

commercial or right along with a DVD/VCR tape. Better yet , ask Mom or Dad to help

you make your own  exercise video and play it back on a DVD or VCR player. Who

knows? Maybe you’ll become a TV infomercial star ? 

Let’s go shopping . Don’t throw away those plastic grocery bags ! Use them for a

makeshift safe-type ball , which can be made by stuffing all the bags into one sack. It can

be a volleyball or safe throwing object indoors. Individually , the bags can be used for a juggling object or a mini-parachute with strings of yarn and a fishing weight . Toss the

parachute in the air and do an exercise until the parachute hits the ground. Repeat the

process for a better score .

Carpet deim ! Make  a trip to the floor and carpet store for some remnants and carpet

squares . They are great for a sliding exercise or as skates in floor hockey games in the

Winter Olympics .

Ground control to “Major Tom” . If you want to launch a rocket , that is , a bean bag ,

then use a hardwood board , dowel and bean bag to complete the action. The bean bag

can be made with beans from the grocery store and the covering can be made with sewing

material(cloth) and a few sewing stitches( ask mom for help) Under the  launch board is a

dowel rod attached with screws and glue about 7 inches away from one end. The board is

about 3 feet long and a sturdy board material .Place the bean bag at one end, step on the

board and watch it launch for  a personal catching machine.

The quicker picker upper . Here is what you’ll need for a home exercise program that

ends up more fun than work. Sit in  a chair with a laundry basket nearby. Fold some

socks into a ball . Pick up the socks with both feet and flip them into the basket. Also,

when the legs are straight out , pause for a few seconds , then flip the socks into the

basket. This is great for the abs and thigh muscles. For more variety pick up different

objects and sizes such as , paper towels , Kleenex box or even old phone books.


Crafty . Travel to the craft store and purchase some styro foam block squares and acrylic

paint to use as dice . Roll the dice and exercise the number of times at each roll. Use math

calculations and double or triple the fun.

There is something fishy . Make a trip to the pet / fish store and buy some terrarium sand

in different colors for a throw and catch bean bag . Use a fishing net as a goal for a

Frisbee golf or target game.

Batter up .  Take a two liter soda pop container , attach and duct tape the opening with

PVC pipe or a golf tube  and there will be a bat to strike styro foam balls for home a run

derby game.


Bingo . Ask dad to smooth out a wooden board , and then cut out holes big enough to

throw bean bags or even rolled socks into each hole for points and accuracy. Make a

bingo grid with (x and o ) to keep tabs of the score in the game.

Two scoops of breakfast cereal . Don’t throw out the milk jugs just yet. Carve out the

front portion of the half gallon milk jug to for a homemade scoop game set to throw and

catch inside the “pocket” . At the mouth of the half gallon jug, insert a  wooden dowel or

cylinder of wood for a handle, and use duct tape for a better fit.

It’s a hold up, so sock it to me ! Ask mom for some clip on clothespins for a tag game .

Make teams to try to clip the clothespins on the other teams shirt tails . As an alternative

place tube socks in the back pockets for  a rip  tag game. Try to rip off(take) the socks

from another player.

The Olympics .  Any time it is an Olympic year will be a   good time to simulate the

dream of becoming an Olympic champion. For the indoor games try the following :

·        Shoe boxes – speed skating

·        Cardboard box- bobsled

·        Cardboard slats – skis

·        Scooter /dolie - luge




·        Paper grocery bags – snow shoes

·        Coffee cans , milk jugs – slalom

1.      Golf tube – javelin

2.      Golf tubes and phone books – hurdles

3.      Frisbee/pizza insert plate – discus

4.      Snake crawl – swimming

5.      Chalk lines on side walk – long jump

6.      Arm or leg wrestling

7.      Backyard sports games( Olympics)

8.      Integrate with core subjects( countries culture , geography , time zones and use the metric system for measuring .

9.      Use pedometers and stop watches

10.  Check heart rate and health status concerns




Recipe. Don’t be limited with the amount of available makeshift equipment or creativity . Always be on the lookout for new things to work with and make sure to include all family members . Also, incorporate this type of homemade materials in the regular physical education class.  This carry over will entice the students to be active , encourage independent activity and help with making  a personal fitness plan.