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June 4, 2014

Differentiating Curriculum: Tips for the Fitness Fun Theme

Contributed by Jennifer Horner, Education Specialist

We can throw, catch, kick, jump, hop, run, dance, bike, stretch, and balance…but how can we differentiate these to meet each child at their developmental level? Each child is uniquely their own. Some show advanced coordination, speed, and endurance while others are less interested, less coordinated, and continuously building body awareness as they grow. Let’s not forget that our body movements are linked with our brain. Cognitive development grows with physical activity and vice versa. It’s important that we encourage and challenge children at their level. We are all built differently, but movement is good for everyone!

Here are a couple of resources to assist you in developing your classroom game plan for next week’s Fitness Fun!


Coach Heid’s video offers an assortment of basic aerobic movements that can be incorporated into daily doodle dance parties that will help children develop important large muscle groups. The second half of the video illustrates ideas on what to do with hula hoops, scarves, playground balls, cones and even paper plates to develop gross motor skills! This 4 1/2 minute video below offers an assortment of moves and uses for equipment we have on hand that you may not have considered before! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HzlWIUmpkg








How can you differentiate these moves?

  • As children perform moving stretches such as the side to side stretch, wander the space and assist children who need to adjust their feet or stance to achieve the balance and depth of stretch you are focusing on.
  • Challenge Children who have achieved the movement to sink lower or reach further to elongate the stretch. You can always differentiate by challenging students to do the specific movement faster or slower as well.


Invite children to give the ideas below a try to gauge their strengths and weaknesses. Then, as the week unfolds, you can divide students into small groups and repeat specific activities based on their interests and skill level.

  • Start close to the target (basket or box), then gradually move it further away.Blog4
  • Challenge students to throw overhand as well as underhand and switch back and forth.
  • Play catching as well as throwing.
  • Challenge children to bounce a tennis ball into the target by aiming at the floor first. You will need to demonstrate for younger age groups.
  • Try throwing against a surface (such as the storage shed) into the target. Please do not use the building.
  • Try throwing from an elevated area such as the playground equipment. Use arm’s reach supervision to aide children in keeping their balance as they throw.
  • Challenge children to face away form the target and throw backwards over their head. This improves orientation.BLog5
  • Turn a box on its side.
  • Create a color recognition game, using throwing objects that coordinate with labeled boxes.
  • Set up a pyramid of blocks or pool noodle pieces for a fun game of fine motor stacking and gross motor throwing to knock them down!
  • Tape rings together to make a new game that challenges depth perception and eye hand coordination.

Blog7Have additional ideas on how to differentiate Fitness Fun? Please share your ideas in the comment section below!

Comments, suggestions, or ideas to share about any of the June Curriculum? We appreciate hearing what went well and any suggestions you might have to shape future curriculum. BLog6Please complete a program input form at the end of the month with your feedback. Thank you!