Age-Appropriate Physical Education Activities & Instruction

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  • 0:04 Activities for Children
  • 0:32 Psychomotor Skills
  • 1:24 Cognitive Abilities
  • 2:15 Affective Development
  • 3:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tara Schofield
Physical education is an important aspect of a child's coordination and development, and it helps students engage in exercise. Use this lesson to understand how to tailor activities to each child's developmental level.

Activities for Children

Physical education activities can help children move their bodies, get exercise, and learn to love activity. One of the key factors to creating a positive learning environment is understanding a child's development level and selecting activities that are appropriate for that level. There are some specific areas to consider when choosing age-appropriate physical education activities and instruction strategies for your students. Use the following ideas as a start to brainstorming fun events for your kids.

Psychomotor Skills

Psychomotor skills refers to the ability to complete mental and physical activities that are generally appropriate for children within the same age group. Young children, such as preschoolers, should be able to jump, run, skip on one foot, and catch and throw a ball. The goal is to create strategies that support a child's age-appropriate development. This can be an important factor, especially because some children may be smaller or larger than their peers, causing development to be critiqued by their size rather than age.

Older kids, in grades 3-5, should have solid hand-eye coordination, the strength to pull themselves up, and the endurance to run longer distances. They should also be able to understand working together as a team.

As you develop activities for children, consider their ages and what they're physically capable of doing. It's important to create activities that challenge them but that are within the realm of their psychomotor skills.

Cognitive Abilities

Cognitive abilities refers to a child's ability in terms of brain development, such as perceptual skills, understanding concepts, and processing information. One class of similarly aged children can have a wide variation in cognitive skills. Cognitive strategies should focus on each child's personal ability to process information or instructions and react to what they've been told.

Children with less developed cognitive skills may benefit from basic activities like jumping rope, playing hopscotch, running short distances, and chasing large balls. At this level, the children will need very basic rules that can be easily understood. Students with highly developed cognitive skills can participate in activities that require advanced coordination, such as catching and throwing baseball-sized balls. They can also take part in organized team events and games that have more rules and guidelines.

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