Wednesday, 7 December 2022

Winter Holiday Games

Submitted by: Sonia Sheehan, HPEC Vice President Communications 

Looking for some ways to get your students active that promotes aspects of the upcoming winter holidays?  Try out some of these games that have been tried and tested with K-4 students.

1.     Holiday Winter Guess:

Create 4 choices of holiday winter actions (snow angel – lay on the ground and perform snow angels, candy cane – stand with arms curled forward, reindeer – gallop in a circle with hands overhead as antlers, snowflake – stand with arms and legs stretched out wide and sway from side to side).  Create a slide show with a random order of the 4 holiday winter actions or have the 4 holiday winter actions written in large letters on separate pieces of paper. Have students perform a movement or fitness activity (jumping jacks, squats, lunges, running on the spot, side sliding, bicep curls, etc…). When students hear “Freeze”, they must stop the movement or fitness activity.  When students hear “Make your Holiday Winter Guess”, they must choose one of the holiday winter actions to perform.  Provide students with a 5 second count down to complete their choice.  Teacher will reveal either the slide with one of the holiday winter actions or randomly show one of the pieces of paper with the holiday winter action.  The object of the game is to match the holiday winter action the teacher shows.

If you match the activity = complete a holiday dance celebration move and earn 1 point

If you do not match the activity = complete 1 lap skipping around the gym

2.     Reindeer Switch:

Set up hula hoops or poly spots (reindeer homes) for all students to stand in, except 3-4 students of the class.  The students without a hula hoop/poly spot/ reindeer home are the lost reindeer. When the teacher calls “Reindeer Switch” all the reindeer need to move and stand in a new reindeer home.  Any students without a reindeer home are the lost reindeer for that round.  Challenge students to try to find a reindeer home quickly and safely each time the teacher says “Reindeer Switch”.  To add a cooperative twist, remove some reindeer homes to have two reindeer in each home.  When students hear “Reindeer Switch” they need to find a new home and each home can have 2 reindeer before it is full. 

3.     Tree Topple:

Equipment: bowling pins (or an item that can be knocked over) to represent holiday trees and bean bags

Set up: 2 equal teams on each side of the activity area, 10 holiday trees/bowling pins on each side of the gym, bean bags randomly scattered throughout the area to chop down the holiday trees

Objective: With each team staying on their own side, students will slide the bean bag along the ground to the other side of the gym to try to “topple” the trees over.  Try to be the first team to topple all the trees on the other side.  

Extension: If a student topples a tree over with a bean bag, the student will run over to the other side, pick up the tree that was toppled over, bring it back to their side and add it to the standing trees on their side.  Try to be the team with the most trees on their side.


4.     Winter Would You Rather:

Create a list of two winter items/activities for students to choose from.  Teacher will call out the two items/activities and students need to choose which item/activity they prefer.  Have students move to the corresponding side of your activity area based on the item/activity they choose.  Reveal what activity will be performed based on the item/activity chosen by the student.

Item/Activity Choice #1

Item/Activity Choice #2

Ski = 10 jumping jacks

Snowboard = 10 chicken jacks

Play snow soccer = 10 squats

Play on the playground = 10 lunges

Ice skate = 10 raise the roofs

Sled/toboggan = 10 flosses

Play ice hockey = 10 air punches

Play ringette = 10 high kicks

Build a snowman = run around in a circle 5 times

Build a snow fort = 5 squat jumps

Open presents = do your favourite dance move

Give presents = run on the spot with fast feet

Snowshoe = side slide across the activity area

Cross Country Ski = spin 3 times each way

Sing holiday songs = 10 arm curls

Watch holiday movies = 10 lunges

Bake holiday cookies = 10 jumping jacks

Eat holiday cookies = 4 air punches and 4 high kicks

Run = touch your toes and reach up 5 times

Walk = show your best robot moves

Sleep in an igloo = 5 squat jumps

Sleep in a tent = 10 high kicks

Play video games = run across the activity area

Play outside in the snow = play an imaginary musical instrument

Eat a candy cane = 10 skier jumps

Eat a gingerbread cookie = 6 squat jumps


5.      2 Sided Santa Says:

Similar to Simon Says.  Try to include winter or holiday type activities.  Choose 2 students to be “Santa” on opposite sides of the playing area.  Have half the class face each of the 2 Santas.  Students need to complete an activity if “Santa Says” to do the activity.  Students are not to complete the activity if Santa does not say.  If a student does an activity that Santa did not say, that student would leave the game they are part of and join the Santa on the other side of the activity area.  Students will continue to move from game to game as the Santas try to trick the students into doing an activity that Santa did not say.  Switch the student Santas throughout the game.

6.     Snow Run:

This activity needs to take place outside. Students challenge a partner or group to see who can run the fastest to a certain part of the field or outdoor area while running through the snow. Take a little rest and then snow run to a new location in the field or challenge a new partner or group to a snow run.


7.     Pass the Present:

Equipment: a variety of tossable items that can represent presents (examples include: a variety of balls, bean bags, deck rings, pool noodles, etc…)

Set up: Students in groups of 3-4 with a winter holiday team name (example team names: candy canes, elves, snowflakes, snowballs, toys, reindeer, gingerbread, etc…) and some type of holiday winter celebration move (the celebration move can be a dance move or a fitness move)

Challenge: groups work together to complete the designated number of passes of their present in the designated way (if the present is dropped the counting starts again from zero), once the group completes the designated number of passes with their present, complete a holiday winter celebration move and then change the present used for passing and move onto the next round featuring a different way to pass the present

Recommended Designated number of passes by grade level:

Grade 1: 10 passes

Grade 2: 15 passes

Grade 3: 20 passes

Grade 4: 25 passes

Suggested Rounds of Designated types of Passes:

Round #1: Underhand pass

Round #2: One bounce pass

Round #3: Jump up and down before pass

Round #4: Under the leg pass

Round #5: Spin in a circle and then pass

Round #6: Moving while passing


8.     Snowball Target Practice:

Equipment: gator balls to represent multi coloured snowballs or crunched up pieces of recycling paper to represent snowballs, a variety of buckets or baskets for targets, bowling pins as targets

Set up: place the buckets, baskets, and bowling pins around the activity area as targets and each student has their own snowball (gator ball or crunched up piece of paper)

Objective: Challenge students to see how many targets they can knock over (bowling pins) or get their snowball in (buckets or baskets)

Additional Challenges:

·       Throw your snowball from further away from the target

·       Alternate between underhand throw and overhand throw to the target

·       Try a trick shot throw to the target (under a leg throw, over the shoulder throw, backwards throw, etc…)

·       Set a time limit: how many targets can you hit in 1 minute time, 2 minute time, 3 minute time


9.     Protect the Snowmen:

Equipment: gator balls to represent multi coloured snowballs, bowling pins to represent the snowmen and if available, build large snowmen by putting one exercise ball on top of another exercise ball with some type of stand or base at the bottom of the snowman and inbetween the two balls of the snowman

Set up: Divide the class into two teams with one team on each side of the activity area, 6 – 8 snowmen at the back of each side, a centre line dividing the two teams and snowballs (gator balls) scattered throughout the playing area

Objective: Work as a team to throw the snowballs at the other team’s snowmen and knock over all the snowmen on the other side.  Continue until one team has no snowmen left standing

Modification: If a snowman is knocked over, the team that knocked it over can run and get the snowman and stand it up on their side.  See which team has the most snowmen at the end of the game.

Modification: Add a snowman rebuilding process.  If a snowman is knocked over, a student can pick up the snowman, run one lap around the gym while holding the snowman, and then put the snowman back up on their side to continue in the game.


10.  The Great Toy Hunt:

Equipment: wide range of random PE equipment, scooters, mats, list of toys for groups to find in The Great Toy Hunt, hula hoop for each groups toy chest

Set up: Scatter random PE equipment on one side of the activity area, students in groups of 3 with a winter sleigh (made of 3 scooters under one folding gymnastic mat), each group with a list for the Great Toy Hunt (See a sample list below) and a hula hoop for their toy chest

Objective: Work as a team to gather all the items from Toy Hunt List.  Toys can only be gathered one at a time.  To gather an item, one group member must ride on the sleigh, one group member must safely push the sleigh and one group member holds the Toy Hunt List and indicates which toy to find and bring back to the team toy chest.  Once an item is gathered, the group members switch jobs.  Challenge your group to gather as many toys as they can on the toy hunt list.


Toy Hunt List:

Collect one of each item

Bowling Pin

Gator Ball

Table Tennis Paddle

Poly Spot

Bean Bag



Tennis Ball

Pool Noodle


Whiffle Ball


Juggling Club



Rubber Chicken

Cup Stilt

Fluff Ball


Thursday, 24 November 2022

HPEC Conference 2023 News, Lethbridge May 4-6, 2023:


HPEC Conference 2023 News, Lethbridge May 4-6, 2023:

Do you want your conference fee covered by HPEC? 

Apply for a grant to have the chance of winning a free HPEC conference registration.

Apply Here:

HPEC Membership Conference Grant - deadline to apply is January 15:

HPEC Pre-Service Teacher Grant - deadline to apply to January 15:

Conference Keynote:   Laval St. Germain

Pre-Conference Sessions: Thursday, May 4, 2023

Conference Sessions: More details to come!

Conference Registration: Coming Soon!

Conference Socials:

Thursday May 4, 2023 Evening HPEC Past President Reception

Friday May 5, 2023 HPEC Conference Friday Evening Social

Theme: Beach party

For all HPEC Conference 2023 Details visit:

Thursday, 2 June 2022

Physical Education Resources for National Indigenous Peoples Day – June 21

Submitted by: Sonia Sheehan, HPEC Vice President Communications

In recent years I have explored ways I can include Indigenous knowledge, traditions, activities, and games into my elementary physical education teaching.  With National Indigenous Peoples Day approaching on June 21, sharing what I have learned seems timely.  My exploration into Indigenous knowledge, traditions, activities, and games began with attending professional development sessions and searching for appropriate resources to strengthen my understanding of Indigenous Games.  Once I increased my knowledge of Indigenous Games, I investigated what could I share with my students.  With most of the Indigenous activities and games being “new” to me, my students and I learned alongside each other as we participated in the activities and games for the first time together.  Quickly we found a sense of community, enjoyment, pride and practicality in the activities and games we played.  I would like to thank all the people who have shared their traditional knowledge with me through workshops, online resources, and videos.  Here are a few of my favourite Indigenous Games, Activities and Resources I would like to pass along to you:

1.     Sharing Circle, a traditional way to provide an opportunity for all to share promoting equality, trust, respect, honesty, and a sense of community.

2.     Tatanka, Tatanka, a traditional game simulating the buffalo hunt with the head buffalo, Tatanka, trying to tag all the other buffalo.

3.     Run and Scream, a traditional Blackfoot game teaching tolerance, patience, and the importance of lung capacity.

4.     The Blackfoot Movement Story, found on Be Fit for Life Resource webpage, provides a link between movement and learning about traditional Indigenous culture and knowledge.

5.     The Blackfoot Movement Story Extension Resource, also found on the Be Fit for Life webpage, provides nature inspired activities that reinforce the Blackfoot Movement Story.

6.     Animal Muk, an Inuit game, played in a circle formation where the person in the middle makes animal noises to try to make the people in the circle laugh.

7.     An Amazing Resource to support teaching Traditional Games: Be Fit for Life: Move and Play through Traditional Games Lesson Plans:

Recently I attended the Ever Active Schools Shaping the Future Conference and the closing keynote by Dr. Pamela Toulouse on the topic of “Embedding Truth and Reconciliation in K – 12” finished with a powerful video showcasing a group of Indigenous youth performing a song.  The lyrics of the song offer a valuable resource to help educate our students.  This video is the N’we Jinan Artists with students selected from the Surrey School District in British Columbia performing, “Show us the way”.

Wishing you and your students an educational National Indigenous Peoples Day!

Thursday, 12 May 2022

9th Annual Physical Education Summer Symposium

Date:           Tuesday August 23, 2022

Time:          9:00am – 12:00pm  

Location:    FFCA SWE Campus – 898 Sylvester Cres. S.W. Calgary

                   Session 1: 9:00am-9:55am

                   Session 2: 10:00am-10:55am

                   Session 3: 11:00am-11:55am

Session presenters include: FFCA Physical Education Specialists, Athletics Alberta Mini Legends Program and Ever Active Schools.

 Please join us for this excellent physical education professional development opportunity on Tuesday August 23 at FFCA SWE Campus, 898 Sylvester Cres. S.W.  There is no cost to participate in this event.  Please complete your registration through the google link:

Registration Link:

.**In registering for this workshop you are voluntarily providing your personal information and consenting to its collection, use and disclosure for all purposes connected with our participation as a member of the workshop. **

   Session Descriptions:


Session #1: 9:00am- 9:55am

Session Title: Amazing New Games from Physical Education Social Media Connections 

Presenter:  Sonia Sheehan, FFCA Southwest Elementary Campus Physical Education Specialist, HPEC Vice President Communications

Description: Twitter is an excellent professional development tool.  Come to this session to learn some amazing new games that I discovered while following physical education teachers from across the globe.  The games have been tried and tested with my own students (K-4, but can be adapted to higher grades) and have proven to be some of the new favorite games students are asking to play.  Some of the games will include: Life Sized Battleship, Team Guard Your Castle, Bank it - Bounce it - Make it, Star Wars, Sinker Ship, Cannonball, Spin the Pin, the use of scorekeeper XL, and Frogger.  Connections to the new Alberta Physical Education and Wellness curriculum will be highlighted.


(indoor session)


Session #1: 9:00am- 9:55am

Session Title: Introducing the NEW Outdoor Learning Quickdraw!

Presenter: Kaitlyn Mitchell, Ever Active Schools Health and Wellness Consultant

Description: Ever Active Schools’ newest resource is the Outdoor Learning Quickdraw.  Formatted as a deck of cards like our popular Physical Literacy and Social and Emotional Learning resources, the Quickdraw is designed to help teachers in any subject area with planning outdoor activities; from a one-time lesson to building a whole unit.  Come prepared to go outside and try activities from each of the four suits: Physical Literacy, Teamwork, Outdoor Skills and Environmental Action. 


(outdoor session)


Session #2: 10:00am – 10:55am

Session Title: Lacrosse

Presenter: Brain Broad, FFCA NWE Campus Physical Education Specialist

Description: Want to learn how to teach a great sport to your students? Lacrosse is an exciting sport that can be learned by most grades. Learn how to teach a non contact version of this game, and tons of mini games. Your students will learn both hand-eye-coordination and invasion game strategies and tactics. It is also one of Canada’s national sports and will fulfill the cultural games section of the new Physical Education and Wellness curriculum. 


(indoor session)


Session #2: 10:00am – 10:55am

Session Title: Become Legendary with the Mini Legends Program (brought to you by Athletics Alberta)

Presenter: Tracy Lockwood, Athletics Alberta 

Description:  Teaching the basics of Track & Field is extremely important for the development of Physical Literacy. The activities you lead and the skills you teach will build the foundation upon which countless sport and physical activity skills will be developed. Get ready to "become legendary" because in this session, you will participate in track and field-type activities from the Athletics Alberta Mini Legends Program. These activities teach the fundamental movement skills of running, jumping, throwing and so much more!


(outdoor session)


Session #3: 11:00-11:55am

Session Title:  K – 4 Spatial Awareness Games That Hit A High Number of the New Curriculum Outcomes

Presenter: Melissa Brooks and Andrea Wilcox, FFCA Northeast/ Southeast Elementary Campus’ Physical Education Specialists

Description:  Join us for a session of low organized games that surprisingly match a large number of outcomes of the new curriculum. Old favorites like Giant, Wizards & Elves, Charlie Wants a Home, Squirrels tails, Bench ball, Catch 5, relay races and others have a function both during class and for recess play. How each game connects to the curriculum will also be explored so you will not only walk away from the session with some game ideas but hopefully a better understanding of the Physical Education outcomes of the new Physical Education and Wellness curriculum.  


(indoor session) 


Session #3: 11:00-11:55am

Session Title: OUTDOOR GAMES 

Presenter: Lara Talamini and Jason Deis, FFCA North Middle School Campus Physical Education Specialists

Description: You can never have too many outdoor games up your sleeve! In this session we will run through a variety of games that can be played outside (or some inside, too), with minimal or basic equipment. They work for both large and small groups, and can be used with students of any age. We will also show you how to make connections to the new Grade 5 and 6 PE curriculum. Come prepared to join in and try each of the games with your colleagues!


(outdoor session)


Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Teaching Sexual Health Online Workshops

Submitted by: Jocelyn Graham, MSc, Health Promotion Facilitator, Alberta Health Services

Whether you cringe or are ecstatic, teaching sexual health is one of the most important subjects that will impact students for the rest of their lives. We want to bring you all the help we can and that’s why we are excited to announce that our free online workshops are back! This series of sessions is designed to support Alberta teachers in teaching the human sexuality outcomes and to improve knowledge, skills and comfort in the classroom.

There are 6 sessions to choose from in the April workshop series. Each Zoom session is from 3:30-5:00 pm. Teachers can sign up for the complete series or register for any combination of sessions individually. There is no obligation to attend every session – just pick the ones that are relevant to you!

More information and registration is here:

·         Why Sexual Health Education Matters – Tuesday  Apr 5

·         Sex Ed for Today’s Classrooms – Wednesday Apr 6 

·         How to Answer Questions in Sexual Health Classes – Wednesday Apr 13

·         Teaching Jr High Sexual Health with Confidence – Wednesday Apr 20

·         Teaching Elementary Sexual Health with Confidence – Tuesday Apr 26 

·         Teaching CALM Sexual Health with Confidence – Wednesday Apr 27

If you have any questions, please email us at:

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Fostering resilience in schools and classrooms: 10 ways to help students thrive

 Submitted By: Norah Fines, RD 

Health Promotion Facilitator, School Health & Wellness Promotion, Alberta Health Services

As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its third year, Alberta school communities are looking ahead to a brighter future. Research from across the province demonstrates that students have experienced increases in a number of mental health concerns, such as stress, anxiety, low motivation, hopelessness, aggression, bullying, self-harm and suicidal ideation during the pandemic¹. Schools will continue to play an essential role in supporting the mental health and well-being of students. This task may feel daunting for just one individual, however simple actions can have a big impact on students’ mental health and well-being. To help educators in Alberta, AHS has a new website, Healthier Together Schools, which offers evidence-based strategies for improving school wellness in the areas of mental health, physical activity and nutrition. The Take Action cards include a wealth of ideas, resources, and background information to support whole school, universal approaches to health and wellness.

Here are ten tangible ideas that you can use to support student mental health and resilience in your school and classroom:

1.         Set up peaceful places, including virtual platforms, for students to take time away, talk through challenges, or calm down. Welcome everyone

2.        Make sure all students have an adult ally - Set up advisory time, where small groups of students have designated time to connect with a school staff member who checks in with them daily (if possible) and acts as their advisor and champion throughout the school experience. Support healthy relationships

3.        Work with students to co-develop agreements about school norms. These are statements generated by students and agreed on by the school community to describe 'the way things are around here.’ Support healthy relationships

4.        Facilitate youth action projects so students feel listened to, valued, and respected. Help them identify issues that matter to them, support them to collect perspectives from peers, and empower them to create meaningful change. Amplify student voice

5.         Take mindfulness to the next level, by encouraging students to reflect on mindfulness practices – they can log or chart their experiences, journal or talk to an Elder or trusted adult. Try mindful practices

6.        Learn about the evidence-based, high-quality learning opportunities and classroom ready resources available to you. Start with those from the Alberta Mental Health Literacy Project, offered by Alberta Health Services in partnership with school authorities. Build mental health literacy

7.         Role model social emotional skills in your interactions with students. For example, show your class how you handle frustration, and how you calm down. Develop social emotional skills

        Physical activity, especially in outdoor settings, also plays an important role in promoting mental health, reducing stress and supporting students’ well-being². To round out the list of ten ideas, here are three more tips for inspiring students to be more active throughout the school day:

8.         Be intentional about connecting with students who may not have had positive, inclusive recess experiences (like those new to Canada or those who have a physical disability). Engage diverse student leaders as a core strategy for re-activating recess and to get kids moving more throughout the school day. Reimagine Recess

9.         Plan short bouts or bursts of physical activity for when students’ energy or attention levels drop. If you’re already a physical activity burst guru, mentor another teacher at your school to incorporate more movement in their day.  Move more, Sit Less

10.     Take a small step by moving a daily activity from your classroom outside. Take a leap to learn from the land and honour reconciliation. Embrace Nature

Remember, no matter how young or old we are, how tall or small, or where we come from in the world, our mental health is on a continuum.  Daily actions in the classroom environment can have a big impact on how a student manages their stress, how they see themselves fitting in the world around them, and how they develop lifelong skills that support positive mental health.

             1. Children’s Services. (2021, December 16). Child and youth well-being review final report. Alberta Government. Retrieved January 10, 2022, from

2. Vaillancourt, T. et al. (2021, August). Children and Schools During COVID-19 and Beyond: Engagement and Connection Through Opportunity. Royal Society of Canada. Retrieved January 10, 2022, from C&S PB_EN_0.pdf (


Friday, 28 January 2022

Teaching Elementary PE During the Pandemic

 Submitted by: Jillian Shaw, HPEC Secretary

This may be a huge challenge for several people as you are working with a population that is still trying to understand the world around them. Constantly repeating yourself saying things like: hands out of your mouth, don’t touch that, hands to yourself, etc. and on top of what we were originally worried about regarding germs were being shared, now we add COVID-19 on top of it. 

I am a K-4 PE teacher in Calgary. My school has roughly 400 students who get PE 4 or 5 times a week. Each class I teach is 30 minutes long and has anywhere between 40-60 students. Since two classes are in the gym at the same time, I teach with the divider down so students stay within their cohort. This has created some challenges but after teaching like this for 2 years, I have developed some strategies to make it more manageable. Here are some tips that I have implemented in my elementary PE program to assist in sanitizing, minimizing contact, and maximizing the fun!

Establish Routine

Since my classes go by quickly I need time to sanitize equipment before the next class uses the equipment. I have set up a routine with my students, so they are engaged in an activity while I finish sanitizing equipment. Each week we have an exercise of the week. This exercise can be anything (lunges, plank, burpees, etc.). At the beginning of the week, I will go over specific things to look for in the exercise (flat back, arm or leg position, etc.). Students partner up and provide feedback to their partner about how to improve their form. Throughout the week the partnership will develop goals for each other and work on their functional fitness. After that warm-up activity, we will move on to the game which is focused on our unit at the time. This is where most of the equipment will be used. To wrap up the class students will place the equipment in the “yucky bucket” to get sanitized and then we will play a tag game. To avoid tagging each other, we play “everyone is it” and kick hula hoops along the floor to tag people. If a hoop hits your foot then you are tagged. While students are playing tag I can begin sanitizing the equipment for the next class.

Don’t cancel just modify

The pandemic has made us rethink how we teach and has potentially led to the cancellation of activities. One thing that I have challenged myself to do is not cancel PE or school activities, just rethink and modify how we go about them. For example, I know my students love tag but we were unable to play it the traditional way. By adding in the hula hoops my students almost prefer it to traditional tag. It allows them to jump, dodge, and add a different type of strategy. For our year-end play day, we did a “choose your challenge”. As a staff, we created a list of challenges for classes to perform on our play day and a folder where teachers dropped photos in. The following day we had a virtual assembly and shared a video that had all the pictures that were taken throughout the day. By doing this students/classes were given choice in what challenges they wanted to dive into and do it at their own pace. It did not look like our traditional play day but the feedback from students and staff was remarkable. 

Go easy on yourself

If you are anything like me, there have been several times where you have gotten frustrated because you think the program you are offering isn’t that great or you know how awesome your program/games were pre-pandemic. The thing that I remind myself of during these times is thinking about what is important. The first thing that is important to me is relationship building. Even though my programming may look different, am I still able to build those meaningful relationships with my students? Second, I look at the programming and think of the big picture. Are my students having a positive experience in PE and feeling safe? If the answer is yes to both of these questions, then we are in great shape! I prioritize these questions and the rest is just me being hard on myself. So take some time to reflect on your students and how they are reacting to your program rather than focusing on yourself and how you feel about the program. 

These 3 tips have helped me navigate teaching PE during the pandemic and I hope they have sparked some ideas for yourself or at the least made you feel like you are not alone in navigating how to teach PE during the pandemic.