Denis O’Driscoll’s book 100 Physical Education Activities is a quick read for busy teachers in need of fresh ideas for inspiring kids to exercise.
Drawing from 12 years of teaching experience and a lifelong study of physical education, O’Driscoll provides activities that “are child-centered — simple, safe, enjoyable and need no equipment.” He defends the need for physical education among young children, stating that “children who get more exercise also tend to do better in school.”
O’Driscoll provides an engaging assortment of physical challenges that will undoubtedly produce giggles among kids. Creative, visual names such as “Inch Worm,” “Foot Fencing,” “Rabbit Run,” and “Thread the Needle” will intrigue and motivate youngsters to test their abilities. A brief, 15-point guide reminds teachers that “instruction demands planning and organization” and provides tips for successful implementation of the activities. O’Driscoll encourages instructors to help students learn the “‘why of physical activity as well as the ‘how,'” although he curiously neglects to expound on the “whys” in his book.
The brevity of this work is puzzling considering O’Driscoll’s experience and lifelong devotion to the subject. More in-depth descriptions of the activities, analysis of the benefit of each exercise, model photos for correct form, and variations for difficulty level would have bolstered the book’s appeal. His statement that exercise #72 (“Skip”) “helps to keep calcium in the bones” only serves to highlight the fact that he doesn’t offer this sort of insight anywhere else in the book and leaves readers wanting more. Inevitably, his work will be competing with myriad free PE lesson plans offered online, so such omissions make his work less viable in the marketplace.
While some of the exercises described here may be useful, teachers undoubtedly have much more complete resources readily available. Despite O’Driscoll’s clear message of the importance of physical education to the development of well-educated individuals, his book requires expansion to find a wide audience.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.