Health and PE for Homeschoolers
I remember health classes when I was in elementary and high school. Ugh! The same goes for the PE classes I was required to take. I mostly remember being bored. We played a few games of dodge ball (which most of us actually enjoyed) and watched a few videos about making healthy food choices. (which most of us didn’t enjoy or find very helpful). Other than those things, though, health and PE classes were mostly an exercise in patience and endurance!
When my children were in elementary grades, I wanted to make our health and PE classes something they would actually enjoy. I wanted my children to learn useful information and life skills they could use to help them live healthy lives even after they became adults. One of the best ways I found for doing that was by making healthy choices a part of our lifestyle. (Stay with me! It’s not as hard as it sounds!)
Keep reading for more information about homeschool PE and this printable nutrition game to help teach your children to make healthy food choices!
Many families participate in seasonal team sports, and that’s one good way to incorporate movement into your children’s everyday lives. But if you choose not to do team sports or if, for some other reason, that doesn’t work for your family, there are lots more ways to make health and PE easily work into your homeschool and daily life!
Incorporating Movement Into Your Homeschool Day
One fun and easy (yes, easy!) way to make PE a part of your homeschool is by taking advantage of several of the suggestions you’ll find in our article 13 Homeschool PE Ideas. This article actually includes 13 categories–not just 13 ideas–of ways to make PE fun and doable for your family.
I think you’ll find a few (if not lots!) of ways to make PE something your kids will look forward to. Some require no equipment at all while others require equipment. Some are completely free while others may require some sort of investment. Some are games. Some are individual activities. Some are best for groups. No matter what your situation, I think you’ll find some suggestions that are perfect for you!
Start with a Routine
One of the best ways to start incorporating PE and nutrition into your day is by making it a regular part of your homeschool routine–just like math or reading.
Morning Reading Time and Breakfast
On a normal homeschool day (when my kids were younger), we started the day with breakfast. I usually read a living book to my children while they ate. This was a great way to multitask, and my kids (even though two are adults and one is a teenager) still have fond memories of our reading time each morning.
After breakfast, I took advantage of their well-restedness (I’m not sure that’s even a word!) and took an hour or so to do more formal sit-down lessons with them while they were able to pay attention and weren’t yet restless and wiggly.
Once “the wiggles” set in, it was time for homeschool PE! We didn’t call it PE. We just called it outside playtime, but I knew it was actually our time for fulfilling our homeschool PE class requirements while helping them get some energy out so they could focus on school later in the day.
My kids did do some team sports, but we did the majority of our PE at home most of the year. I mainly used the ideas I shared in 13 Homechool PE Ideas. This worked well for us and allowed us to enjoy our PE time together doing fun activities as a family.
Homeschool Health Classes
After my kids had plenty of outside playtime to work out the wiggles and get some exercise, we came back inside to get a bit more sit-down work done.
When we studied food and nutrition (which I think is important for children of all ages!), I wanted them to learn to make healthy food choices in a way they would enjoy. I remember my boring nutrition textbooks from my own school days, and that’s really all I remember–how boring they were! I wanted my kids to learn to make good choices in a way they would enjoy and remember!
Food Groups and Nutrition Game
Most kids love playing games! It’s a fun way to learn new information and practice previously learned information. (In fact, gameschooling is a great way to motivate children who aren’t really thrilled with doing school.)
That’s why I love this Food Groups and Nutrition Game! It’s a way to make learning about different food groups part of your game time, and it’s a way to start conversations about healthy food choices. Most kids feel condemned if you talk to them about healthy food choices right after they chose to eat a bowl full of Cheetos or a plate of cookies, but if you have conversations about healthy food choices at other times of the day, I think you’ll find your children are more willing to actively participate in those conversations and not feel like they’re in trouble.
How to Play
This game is really easy to play!
- First, print the downloadable nutrition game and have it ready for your children to play.
- If you plan to play it over and over, and you probably will, you might want to laminate it to make the game last longer.
- Also, if you have more than three children, you might want to print two copies of each of the food item sheets so you have enough to go around.
- Have each player roll the die and collect their food items to fill their plate.
- When they run out of room on their plate, they can start trading items when they roll.
- When they feel they have a healthy meal in front of them, they declare their meal to be balanced, and Mom (or Dad) gets to look around the circle, talk about each child’s selections, and choose a winner.
- Alternatively, you can have children (especially older children who are better able to determine what’s a healthy diet and what isn’t) weigh in on their own plates and discuss why their plates are or aren’t healthy.
- Include discussions about whether junk foods and sweets should or shouldn’t be included in a healthy diet. Does the amount of exercise a person gets make a difference in the kinds of foods that person should eat? Are there other factors to consider?
Homeschooling health and PE doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. Simply get your kids outdoors, use a few of our 13 Homeschool PE Ideas, and tie in educational activities like this nutrition game when you can! Click the button below to go to our store to find your copy of the game.