Rivendell Physical Education

Runs, Kicks and Smiles

These days even adults play kickball, that classic kids’ game. We worked on improving our kicking skills, and learned the sometimes complicated rules for outs and base running. We do simplify things a bit (no lead-offs or steals, no balls or strikes so everyone gets a chance to put the ball into play).

However, springtime Colorado weather can get in the way. We had to be creative to practice our kickball skills indoors during bad weather… and in spite of that, we still got snowed on one day! But we managed to get in our kickball games in the end.

Working Together

Teamwork and cooperation are skills that can be practiced just like physical skills. We did a unit of cooperative games, where kids had to work together rather than compete. The activities used lots of fun manipulatives: balls, hula hoops, scooters, foam bricks, the “nuclear waste transfer” game, and everybody’s favorite, the parachute!

Jump Up, Jump Up and Get Down

Not only is jump rope a time-honored kid activity, it’s also a fantastic workout. Timing, coordination, endurance and stamina are all part of it. We did all sorts of rope activities, from individual ropes to snakes (wiggling the rope on the floor to jump over for preschool & Younger Kids), long rope with two turners, jump rope rhymes, tricks with two people and one short rope, Jump the Shot, even using hula hoops for various jumping activities. I think the kids were amazed that you can have so much fun with just a simple piece of rope.

12 Days of Fitness

We finished up the year with a short unit on fitness. We talked about different sorts of activities you can do to stay fit: aerobic activities like running, anaerobic activities like lifting weights, or activities that combine elements of both. We learned about supercompensation, the principle that helps your bodies get more fit as you continue your exercise routine. And we learned some tips to help make fitness more interesting and engaging: try lots of different activities, do your workouts with a friend or a group, and even inject a little competition into it!

One way we made things interesting was to sing “The 12 Days of Fitness”. Of course, it goes to the tune of “12 Days of Christmas”. Going through the entire song was quite the workout. Here are the exercises if you want to put on some music and try it at home:

  • 12 Seconds of Plank
  • 11 Slalom Jump
  • 10 Mountain Climbers
  • 9 Frankensteins
  • 8 Bodyweight Squats
  • 7 Side Bends
  • 6 Jumping Lunges
  • 5 Jumping Jacks!
  • 4 Times Touch Your Toes
  • 3 Burpees
  • 2 Tuck Jumps
  • And a Yoga Pose of a Tree!


Everybody loves playing on scooters, and since we did our basketball unit earlier this year, I decided to combine the two. Basketball played on scooters was a big hit.

Pretty Good Minton

Striking an object with a bat, stick or racquet is an important skill. This fall, we tried our hand at badminton. We learned how to serve, forehand and backhand strokes, the overhead smash (which, at the pro level, can propel the birdie over 250MPH!) and rules and scoring.

We even snuck in some math for Middle and Older Kids: Switch sides every time both teams’ scores add up to a multiple of five. It makes things more fair so both teams have to work with wind and sun conditions, and exercises mental muscles as well as physical ones!

Hoop Dreams

This fall we are doing a unit on basketball. Dribbling, passing shooting and defense all involve many of the basic skills we practice. Plus, bouncing a ball is fun! We have various sizes of basketballs and heights of hoops to accommodate players of all ages and sizes.

After practicing our skills with games like keep-away and fun games like HORSE before we get into the rules and actual games. We modify the rules a bit (no stealing, minimal contact, no blocking shots) so everyone gets the chance to practice the skills we are learning.

The Basics

We always start the year with fundamentals, especially with preschool. Locomotor skills (running, shuffling, skipping etc.) and throwing skills are a couple of the things we’ve worked on. The preschoolers practice both underhand and overhand throws, using bean bags with hoops as targets. Game on!


“Athletics” is what Europeans call track and field events: running, jumping, and throwing. Every spring, all levels from preschool to Older Kids work on these fundamental skills. We do sprints (50m, 75m, 100m and 200m), long jump and triple jump, and softball throw (and Older & Middle Kids get to try the shot put!). Maybe some Rivendell kids have the Olympics in their future!


We studied yoga recently as part of our topic unit on Asia. From focus and mindfulness to low-intensity exercise to “power” yoga requiring strength and balance, yoga requires a lot of skills. We did series of poses (vinyasas), told yoga stories, did yoga games, and even partner poses with others.