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October 2006 Vol. 8 No. 8

There are 16 inclusive and cooperative activities presented in this article, including activities for aquatics, gymnastics, large group activities, and golf. The activities are appropriate for outdoor or indoor, and individual or group participation. Further, all activities are easily adaptable to meet the needs of all students.

Each activity provides many suggestions to change rules, adapt equipment, and modify for (high to low) physical abilities. These inclusive activities are an excellent means for developing physical fitness, social skills, and increasing self-esteem. Inclusive activities are a fun way to improve muscle strength, motor coordination, and cardiorespiratory endurance.

Physical educators should be prepared to provide appropriate instruction for individuals with disabilities, while maintaining a safe environment. Do not let students with disabilities just be "score keepers" or "goaltenders." Their involvement should be more than a "token" gesture. This article should allow educators a way to challenge students with disabilities, and overcome challenges when teaching in a inclusive setting.

Finally, there are supportive web sites for the activities presented, new course information to help pass the APENS certification, and a IDEA update.

Phillip Conatser
Adapted Section Editor

Speed Stacks
  Supportive Web Sites
Adapted Aquatics
American Association for Active Lifestyles and Fitness
American Red Cross
International Paralympic Committee
Special Olympics
Year of Sports for Physical education
USA Gymnastics
Golf for Individuals with Disabilities
Rules Modification for Golfer with Disabilities
Disability Golfers Article
Toledo  PE Supply
 Aquatic Activities


Objective -
Swimmer(s) are to blow a ping pong ball as far as they can for a given length of time or distance.

Swimmers should be in water depth based on there ability (waist, chest, deep water). Have the swimmers place the ping pong ball in front of them and a start command is given. If distance is used, have different distances depending on their ability and have them swim to something of interest (e.g., boat, tub, net). If a given amount of time is used (e.g., 3 minutes), allow them to move as far as possible. A start/stop signal could be a whistle but music works better and is more stimulating. Swimmers are not allowed to use any other part of their body to move the ping pong ball. In some situations, have two or three swimmers working together to move the ping pong ball.

Ping pong balls (colored) or other small floating toys.


Swimmers are to retrieve all the objects from the pool, and place on pool deck in a limited or unlimited amount of time.

Place floating and/or submerse objects/toys in the pool. Have swimmers help place/throw toys into the water. Note, the more toys retrievable the better. Have swimmers start from pool side and with a starting signal (e.g., whistle, music) begin retrieving toys and placing on the pool deck or in baskets. If there is an unlimited amount of time, then after all the toys are retrieved the game is over, and/or if there is a time limit (e.g., 10 minutes) then swimmers can help count all the toys retrieved. During the retrieving process swimmers can walk, swim, and/or dive to obtain items.

Colored balls (various sizes), noodle boats, fish, diving sticks, diving eggs, frisbees, kick-boards, mask, snorkels, etc.


Swimmers are to bob or swim with a flotation tub around them as far as possible in a set amount of time.

Have swimmers start from the side of the pool, and with a starting signal (whistle, music) have them move as fast and far as possible in a set time (e.g., 5 minutes). If swimmers reach the other side of the pool have them return. Swimmers should work on moving in a straight-line or staying in their lane. However, swimmers could move around an obstacle course, with a buddy, or as a relay race. Further, swimmers could move to retrieve and return toys from the other side of the pool. Note: the object is to move in the water which could be achieved in many ways (e.g., arm(s), leg(s), arms-legs, bobbing, walking, prone or supine).

Tube, flotation ring, noodle, lifesaver, Personal Flotation Device (P.F.D.)


Everyone works as a team to pass each student over or under a "wire" without touched it.

Two team members are allowed to start on the opposite side, but must return to be passed over the "wire." No throwing, or jumping over the "wire," only being passed over by a teammate. If needed, one team member can return to the other side to physically help the last swimmer over. Very the wire height depending on their ability level. If the objective is to swim under the "wire,." no teammate should assist if possible. Swimmers can very the distance from which they attempt to start swimming under the wire, as well as the depth of the wire can change depending on ability. If any teammate touches the wire the team must start over.

Rope, pole, noodle, floating net, or hula hoop,


Understanding Children's Hearts and Minds: Emotional Functioning and Learning Disabilities - As mainstreaming and inclusion become increasingly pervasive, it is especially important for all teachers to understand the interaction of emotional concerns and learning disabilities and the impact of that interaction on children's functioning.

Loneliness among Children with Learning Disabilities - Few things are harder for a parent to witness than a child who tries repeatedly and unsuccessfully to make and keep friends. Research reveals that children with learning disabilities (LD) are more prone to loneliness. Read more...

Read also "For Students With Learning Disabilities: A Parent Guide."

The Effect of Disabilities on Play Skills - This information was presented at a developmental conference. The training covered the topics of developing play and social skills in Pre-School children with special needs. It was a well rounded presentation with broad applicability.

With Christmas just around the corner, it's not to soon to check out the National Lekotek Center's Top 10 Things to Consider When Buying Toys for Children With Disabilities. Also check out these disability resources for selecting appropriate toys.

Does anyone have any fun games for a visually impaired student. This is my first experience with a visually impaired student and I am looking for some exciting activities for the student to do while in class. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Please share in the forum.


Have as many students as possible stand or sit together on a platform.

Students should be placed in 2 or 3 groups with everyone in the group trying to get on the platform. There are several variations on how the activity could be conducted: (a) a time limit getting on and staying, (b) a race between teams getting on the platforms, (c) how long can a group maintain their balance once on the platform or (d) what is the maximum number of students that can get on a platform.

Once everyone on the team(s) gets on the platform, they should stay in that position for a minimum of one minute without anyone in the group falling off. The game could have students passing balls or colored ribbons to each other, and/or have students move from front to back or side to side while maintaining their balance on the platform. Music could be introduced as a means of starting and stopping the activity.

Raised platform, tire, mats, or balance boards.



Students are to balance on a beam, while switching places one or two at a time.

Students should first sit on the balance beam at a given number or color spot, with some distance placed between them. Students should be comfortable in their position. If the balance beam is close to the ground, students can sit on the beam with their feet on the ground. A command is given to change number(s) or color(s) with those students at that location changing/switching position. Student(s) will move along the beam to their new destination. The other students that are sitting can help. As student(s) are going over students that are sitting a spotter may be needed for assistance and/or safety. After all students have had a chance to change position the game is completed.

Balance beam, log, railroad tie, 2x4 lumber


Students leaning against each other for support, while traversing two different balance beams placed at varying distances.

Partner students together (buddy), and have them face to face holding hands on separate balance beams. Balance beams or tape on the floor should be positioned in a "V" shape. Note: the starting position distance is close together and final position distance is further apart. Partners will move slowly hand-in-hand as the distance between them increases and they begin to use their partner for balance. Positioning of the balance beams should be maximized to challenge the partners ability to reach the ending position. All partners should have several opportunities to perform the objective. Mats under the beams or spotters could be used for safety.

Balance beam, log, railroad tie, 2x4 lumber, or tape and mats.


Have students partner up and cross a balance beam, each starting from opposite ends.

Partner up students and place each pair on teams. Teams should be no larger than 5 partners (10 students). Each team will need to successfully cross all partners. Partners will start on opposite ends and move (walking, crawl) toward each other until they meet in the middle. Partners will need to maneuver around each other without falling off the balance beam. If ether partner falls off they must start over.

Balance beam, log, 2x4 lumber, or tape, and a mats if needed.


Students are to stand or sit on a balance beam, while transferring objects from one end to the other end.

Students are to stand or sit, maintaining their balance on the beam while passing objects such as balls, frisbees, or water in a cup to the opposite side. There can be a set number of objects to travel across, or a time limit can be set to see how many objects can be successfully passed to the other side. There should be a basket or bucket at each end for object retrieval and deposit. Students are allowed to help each other as needed for balance and passing objects. If two balance beams are available then a race could be introduced.

Balance beam, log, railroad tie, 2x4 lumber, parallel bars.

 Large Group Games


Students on opposing teams throw objects at large balls propelling/moving the balls to opponents side.

Place students on opposing teams separated by a volleyball net, and at a start signal have students throw objects (e.g., beanbags, rubber rings, small nerf balls) at several big balls (big beach balls, therapy balls) placed under the net. Each team should start with the same number of objects to throw (more objects the better). The net should be at a height close to the height of the largest big ball, but allowing it to roll under. Note: the purpose of the net is to help shield the other team from flying objects.

Some students could be designated as retrievers of objects/beanbags, and other students could be only throwers. Space permitting, two or three games could be going at once whereby each game represents different ability levels (i.e., high, medium, low). If someone has trouble throwing, they could kick the big balls, or they could strike the big balls with a hockey stick. The game is over if (a) all the large balls are in one teams court/area or (b) an allotted amount of time (20 to 30 minutes) has expired.

Volleyball net(s), big beach balls, therapy balls, beanbags, rubber rings, small nerf balls.


Students are put in opposing teams, with each team trying to remove all objects from their side to the other teams side, by throwing items over a net.

Split the class into two opposing teams. A volleyball net, stacked mats, or tables could be used as a barrier between the two teams. Place objects (e.g. balls of different size and color, frisbees, badminton birdies, balloons, beach balls) on both sides of the net, and on a starting signal students on each team should throw the objects over the net, trying to remove all objects from their side. The more balls etc., for students to throw the better (40 to 60). Note: balls etc., should be soft, small in size, and thrown up and over the net to help prevent injury. If a student is touched by an opponents thrown ball (before hitting the ground) that student will need to temporarily leave the game and perform a exercise (setups, pushups, jumping jacks, etc.) before reentering.

The game duration should be about 20 to 30 minutes. If some students are not having success: (a) have designated objects/balls only used by those students, (b) have several opposing teams of high, medium, and lower levels and/or (c) the height of the barrier/net could correspond with the teams' ability level (i.e., high, medium, low).

Nets, mats, balls, frisbees, birdies, balloons, etc.

 Large Group Games (continued)


Students are split in four teams and instructed to defend their goal and make balls in opponents goals.

Students should be organized into four teams of equal or unequal sizes with two goals positioned like a regular soccer game and the other two positioned on each opposing sideline. Place 20 or more balls (soft) in the middle of the field. Each group starts from their goal. Upon a starting signal, each group attempts to kick or strike (hockey stick) as many balls possible in to all opponents goal while defending their goal. Ball(s) acquired in goals can be kicked or thrown back into play. The game is usually times (20 to 30 minutes) and at the conclusion each group can add up all the goals scored. The size of the playing field, goal size, and group size will very the difficulty level. Some individuals may need assistance to increase kicking or striking opportunities therefore, certain ball(s) could be designated for their use only (e.g., all the red balls). Further, if these individuals and their designated ball(s) become separated other group members could retrieved the ball back to that player.

Soft soccer size balls of different colors, four nets.


Students are to push a large ball(s) toward designated players moving within a circle.

Students are to create a large outer circle (facing in) and a smaller inner circle (facing out) with one or two large balls (e.g., beach ball, therapy ball) and several students between. Following a starting signal, students between the two circles are trying to not be touched by balls, while students making up the inner and outer circles are trying to push the balls toward the students inside. If a student pushing a ball makes contact with a student inside, then those two students need to switch positions.

The game is over after everyone has had a chance to flee from the balls. Ball size, circle sizes, number of balls, or number of students between the two circles fleeing from the balls will vary the difficulty level. Increasing participation for some students could mean positioning them in the inner circle, and pushing the ball have a buddy help them during fleeing, and/or allow them to be touched several time with a ball before having to switch positions. Further, there could be several separate games at once, with one game made-up of higher skilled and another game made-up of lower skilled students.

Large beach ball, large therapy ball.

 Golf Activities


Students are to putt or chip several balls nearest to a line marked on the ground.

Students are to putt or chip (e.g., oversized club) at balls (e.g., golf ball, whiffle ball, tennis ball) from a starting line toward an ending line. Scoring zones are marked on a field (blacktop, sidewalk, grass field, gym floor) with each zone representing a higher value score nearer to the ending/last line. If a ball passes over the last line or the ball goes out of bounds no score should be given. Students can strike opponents’ ball but both balls will be scored where they stop. Usually each student or team putts or chips six balls, repeating the process until a certain score (21 points) is obtained. Difficulty should very depending on individual ability. Club size, ball size, playing field size, zone size and points can all very ability level.

Golf clubs, whiffle balls, golf ball, tennis ball, tape or rope, playing area.


Students are to chip golf balls over an obstacle into a soccer goal or net.

Students attempt to strike (#8, #9, WP, WS, Club) three to six golf balls (whiffle golf balls, tennis balls) over an obstacle (e.g., lake, sand, tennis court, mats) into a soccer goal or between two poles, trees, or football field goal. Scores are obtained by going over the obstacle, going into the net, and/or going into the net at different heights. Ropes or string could be placed across the goal posts, with each zone representing a different point value. Game is over after every student or team has obtained a certain score.

Rope or string, Golf clubs, soccer goal, obstacle to cross.


Students are to putt golf balls from a start to a finish line while maneuvering around obstacles.

Place students in groups and at a starting signal have each member putt a golf ball (e.g., whiffle or tennis ball) around obstacles (e.g., cones, Flags, poles) from a start to a finish line. The race could be timed or have each team count up the total amount of strokes used to complete the course. To help equalize competitiveness between groups use different size balls and clubs, change distances between the start and finish line, have less or more obstacles to maneuver around and/or group sizes could be smaller vs larger. The game is over after everyone has complected the course.

Golf balls, whiffle balls, or tennis balls, golf club or oversized plastic golf club, and cones, flags, or poles


Adapted Physical Education National Standard

New course designed to prepare individuals for successful completion of the APENS certification. This on-line experience is a great, exciting, and easy way to advance your credentials. The course is endorsed by APENS and NCPERID. Register now at: New Mexico State University Adapted Physical Education (NMSUAPE) or contact Dr. Scott Pedersen (505) 646-2071.

For more information on what adapted physical education is, what are the National Standards, why take the exam, how to become certified, and exam dates and places for APENS - visit:

 Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) officially launched a New Web Site. For information, a "one stop shop" for IDEA 2004 can be found at:

Here is the final version of IDEA Part B regulations in the Federal Register, and for more information on IDEA 2004 visit NICHCY.

 Contribute Your Ideas
If you have ideas, comments, letters to share, or questions about particular topics, please email one of the following Adapted PE Section Editors:
PE Central
Phi Epsilon Kappa
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