By GreatSchools Staff
Whatever you thought of gym class, the current debate over childhood obesity has made PE more relevant than ever. As the website for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign informs us, kids need “60 minutes of active and vigorous play every day to grow up to a healthy weight.” Some schools are even using video games to lure kids to the gym. In an ideal setting, P.E. doesn’t just improve fitness — it also reduces stress, strengthens friendships, and improves self-confidence and self-esteem.
Is your child getting the physical education he needs? Check out our grade-by-grade guidelines to see what kids should be learning in PE.
Second graders can use their burgeoning imaginations to explore new athletic abilities. “Second graders are very creative,” says physical education specialist Amy Kaiser. “In PE that creativity can be displayed in many ways and can be encouraged by [letting] students create their own ‘animal walks,’ tumbling routines, or games.”
Whether it’s walking and running; hopping, jumping, and leaping; or galloping, sliding, skipping, and turning — second graders are expected to build on the physical skills they learned in first grade. They should have time to practice combining these movements and try transitioning between them. Kids can use these skills to run relay races, play tag, or explore obstacle courses. Dance classes offer an artistic alternative.
Sports are a good way to keep students active. In soccer, children learn to dribble, pass, kick, and trap the ball. Playing softball, they’ll swing bats and learn to pitch. Teachers can help by breaking down the steps involved in throwing a ball. They should demonstrate how to stand, when to transfer weight, and how to follow through smoothly. On the basketball court, children should get practice shooting and dribbling.
PE should also teach warm-up and cool-down exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups, and stretches, which can help children get comfortable with starting an exercise routine.
Second-graders should learn to appreciate the importance of a healthy lifestyle and learn to care for their bodies by getting enough sleep, eating well, and committing to regular physical activity.
Children in second grade should become more capable of cooperating with others during games and sports. They should learn more problem-solving skills, such as how to resolve a conflict by saying “Sorry.”
As Kaiser observes, “Rock, paper, scissors is the great equalizer. It seems so simple, but it’s an effective strategy when kids can’t resolve a conflict. Students accept it. It’s a goal that students at this age will start to solve their own disputes on the playground, as well.”
Perhaps most important, kids should learn how to be safe, follow rules, and share.
Updated July 2010
Sign up for our free newsletter and we'll send you
more just like it every week.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.