Making PE Fun and Accessible for All: Ensuring Enjoyment for All

Published on 30th January, 2024

PE has the potential to be so much - it can be a transformative experience that promotes physical, mental, and emotional well-being. In today's fast-paced world, where mental health issues among children are on the rise, it is crucial that we make PE fun and accessible for all.

Primary School children in PE high five

PE has the potential to be so much – it can be a transformative experience that promotes physical, mental, and emotional well-being. In today’s fast-paced world, where mental health issues among children are on the rise, it is crucial that we make PE fun and accessible for all.

Monday 5th February starts off Children’s Mental Health Week. To help with Addressing Child Mental Health and Wellbeing, we have a dedicated section in our additional resources… But, it is important that we look at how PE plays its part and how to make PE fun and accessible for all!

Let’s make PE fun and accessible for all

Every child deserves the opportunity to enjoy physical activity and reap the benefits it can provide. Let’s explore creative and inclusive ways to make PE enjoyable for every child, ensuring that they have a blast while improving their mental health.

Recognising the importance of Physical Education for every child

Physical education plays a vital role in the overall development of every child. It provides opportunities for them to improve their physical fitness, develop essential fundamental movement skills, and enhance their cognitive and social abilities. However, it is not just the physical benefits that make PE so crucial.

Time and time again, research shows us the positive impact physical activity has on developing the whole child; including this recent review on Physical Activity and Academic Achievement carried out by WHO/Europe “as part of its drive to ensure that young people get at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day.”

Regular exercise has been linked to improved mood, reduced anxiety, and better self-esteem. In a world where mental health issues among children are on the rise, it is more important than ever to prioritise PE and make it accessible to all.

By recognising the importance of physical education for every child, we can create a positive and inclusive environment that encourages and motivates them to participate. Here are some strategies and ideas to make PE fun and engaging for all pupils regardless of their abilities or interests.

Creating an inclusive and engaging PE program

Creating an inclusive and engaging PE program is essential. This can be achieved by offering a variety of activities that cater to different interests and abilities. This could include team sports, individual sports, and artistic sports. The Long Term plan in our resources sectionA Full PE Curriculum is a great example to use as a starting point. The template can be downloaded and edited to ensure it works for your school and your pupils.

Example PE Long Term Plan

Teachers should implement adaptations to PE lesson plans to accommodate pupils with additional needs. Our plans offer differentiation and progression throughout; suggesting modifications such as using alternative equipment or altering the playing area and/or movement type. Visuals, simplified rules and lots of demonstrations will also help make activities more accessible for everyone.

Creating a safe and supportive setting where children feel comfortable trying new things and taking risks is also crucial. Lots of praise and positive reinforcement will help to create this environment.

In addition, incorporating technology and interactive tools can add an element of excitement to PE lessons. Dance videos, fitness trackers, and pupil video analysis can make physical activity more engaging and enjoyable.

By focusing on inclusivity, adaptability, and innovation, we can ensure that every child, regardless of their abilities or interests, is able to fully participate and have fun in PE.

Fostering a supportive and encouraging environment

It is important to provide constructive feedback and praise efforts rather than focusing solely on outcomes. Rewarding effort, attitude and hard work is as important as ability. By emphasising progress and improvement, pupils are more likely to view physical education as a positive experience, regardless of their skill level.

By developing a supportive and encouraging environment, physical education can become an inclusive space where every child feels empowered to participate and enjoy themselves.

Celebrating individual achievements and progress

Another effective way to make physical education fun and accessible for all is by celebrating individual achievements and progress. Recognising and highlighting the accomplishments of each pupil, regardless of their skill level, can boost their self-confidence and foster a sense of pride.

We can create a system that acknowledges individual milestones, such as mastering a new skill or improving their overall fitness. This can be done through class rewards, PE Star of the Week certificates, mini-awards, and lots of verbal recognition during class. By doing so, children feel valued and motivated to continue their physical education journey.

Example PE certificate to celebrate individuals and

It is important to remind pupils that progress looks different for everyone. Encouraging them to set personal goals and track their own progress allows them to see their own improvement over time. Sharing success stories with the class can inspire others and create a positive atmosphere of encouragement and support.

Ultimately, celebrating individual achievements and progress not only makes physical education more enjoyable but also helps children to develop a growth mindset, where they see challenges as opportunities for improvement.

Working together to ensure every child has a blast during PE

One of the key aspects of making physical education fun and accessible for all is promoting teamwork and cooperation. When children work together to achieve a common goal, they not only have a great time but also develop important social skills.

Many aspects of PE already incorporates teamwork opportunities, particularly sports like Netball, Orienteering and Tag Rugby. Encourage them to communicate, discuss strategies, and support one another, to create a sense of camaraderie. This helps everyone feel included, valued, and motivated to participate.

Promote a culture inclusivity with your class. Every child should feel welcome and accepted in school, and PE is no different. Emphasising the importance of respect and empathy towards one another, regardless of their differences in skill level or physical abilities, creates a positive and supportive environment where children are more likely to support and uplift their peers.

Let’s make PE Fun: a positive and enjoyable experience for every child!

In conclusion, making PE a positive and enjoyable experience for every child is not only possible but crucial for their overall development. By implementing team-building activities and promoting a culture of inclusivity, we can ensure that every pupil feels valued, motivated, and included in their physical education classes.

As educators, it is our responsibility to create an environment where all children can thrive and have fun. Teamwork and collaboration, not only enhances their social skills but also encourage them to support and uplift others. This creates a positive atmosphere and also helps in building long-lasting friendships.

By creating this enjoyable environment, we are not only promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, and helping improve mental health and wellbeing, but also setting the foundation for a lifetime love of physical activity!

Children’s Mental Health Week is the 5th to 11th February. Please visit our resources Addressing Child Mental Health & Wellbeing – PE Planning or check out our blogs for further information on these resources… PE Blog – PE Planning.

As always, if we can help with anything, PE related, please do get in touch!