Are you just starting out in the world of adapted physical education or are a general physical education teacher teaching a unified physical education class? Maybe you are a parent looking to update your play toys at home? Then check out the list below. It has some of my favorite things for getting the “ball rolling”. Excuse my teacher puns.
Teacher tip from someone that has made purchasing mistakes: Check the size of the piece of equipment you are purchasing. If you are a visual person, be sure to get out a ruler or tape measure to see if those dimensions work for you. Also, if you are ordering equipment for a standardized test, have those requirements in your hand to triple check what you are ordering.
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Polyspots are a must have for any adapted physical education or general physical education classroom. These help designate places for students to stand on, make great items for retrieval relays, and this set features numbers which will be perfect for station work.
For home use, I have used them for showing my own children how to line up as we are getting ready to leave the house. I make sure to give the door some space so no eager little ones are opening the front door and letting themselves out. I use them for turn taking when playing games in our backyard and for number recognition.
I would scream this one from the top of a mountain. The Flaghouse Airlite ball is remarkable. It has NO BLADDER! It is all fabric, making it incredibly lightweight. It requires an air pump to blow it up (I use an air mattress pump) and it stays inflated with rough play for at least 45 minutes before a quick blow up to get it at max capacity again. The large 70 inch ball has strap hand holds for easy lifting and grabbing. Linking multiple options below.
For home use, this has been the hit of every get together. It is a hit with every generation, I have used this for ages 15 months to 73 years old. I do not recommend using this outside in strong winds.
Floor tape is a great way to add sections to the gym, hallways, or pavement for activities and testing purposes. It can also be useful for taping down bailing twine for a tactile perimeter for activities for students with visual impairments.
For home use, check to see if this tape is compatible with the surface you plan to use it on. I recommend testing the tape first on a small section of flooring that is not easily visible prior to laying out a long strip. I use floor tape at home to create paths that my children can follow using a combination of movements. It is great for making targets on the floor to throw bean bags into at home.
I can never have enough balloons. Any sport that requires a racket, replace that ball with a balloon. Volleyball takes a ton of coordination, use a balloon and slow it down. Add bells to the inside of a balloon prior to blowing it up allows for students with visual impairments to hear the ball. Add a small washcloth to the inside of a balloon prior to blowing it up, to add some weight. Using yellow and/or red balloons might be useful to some individuals with visual impairments. Be sure to note if your school allows latex balloons. If not switch to Mylar, use a straw to inflate and scotch tape to seal up the hole.
Punch balloons are great to practice dribbling for basketball. Be sure to check your school policies and student allergies prior to using latex.
This one will seem odd to some. I didn’t always have access to a lamination machine at each of my schools or it was not the right fit for a project. I always have a roll of this stored in my car, at home, and at my desk. I constantly was using this for laminating student and staff photos, creating new pictures communication cards, covering worksheets to be used over and over.
I LOVE this piece of equipment! One of my first purchases and it has been a must have. Baseball tees have an everyday use in my classroom. I use the adapter in baseball tees or in traffic cones. It holds oversized balls for students to strike with their hands or with implements. Beach balls and oversized cloth-covered volleyballs all fit in this insert. It could also be used as a place to put beanbags or other small objects for students participating in games with pick-up and retrieval.
Beanbags will forever be a staple at home or at school. Great for tossing, catching, retrieval, and of course, they are used in many evaluations for APE services.
These ultra soft sensory balls are easy to catch. They pack small and light for travel and make catching less intimidating for students. When general physical education teachers wanted an alternative for students who tend to bite equipment but were not ready for a harder ball, this was a good option. Foam balls and balloons can be unsafe for certain students.