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Name of Activity:

Climb the Mountain

Purpose of Activity:

To get students moving a lot in a short amount of time.


Students can perform full or modified push-ups, crunches, jump rope, leap, hop, jump, and balance.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Carpet Squares (if needed/desired for push ups), individual jump ropes for roughly 1/2-2/3 of class, 10-20 hula hoops, 4-8 long jump ropes, 6-10 small (6-10") hurdles, 15-20 poly spots, 8-10 cones/domes, cones to mark challenges & course, music to motivate

Description of Idea

I start by telling the students they get to hike to the top of a mountain. On their way to the top they will encounter several obstacles. I modify the story based on grade level.
• At the beginning of their hike they perform 10 push-ups (traditional or modified) to scare the bears off the mountain. The students then hike to the hot rocks.
• The hot rocks are set up as a jump rope area. Students jump rope 15 times on the hot rocks (because our mountain is a volcano also), then jog to the swamp.
• The swamp consists of hula hoops set up in a line of two rows. Students run through the hoops with high knees (so they don't get stuck in the swamp). Then they jog to the rivers area.
• Students leap over the rivers, which are two long jump ropes running parallel to each other. I use any number of rivers I feel like that day. Then students hike or job to the creek.
• Students cross the creek by hopping from rock to rock (polyspot to polyspot). Then then continue to the caves.
• The caves are picnic tables with benches. Children perform 10 bench push ups or 10 crunches to scare away the trolls that live under in the caves (under the tables). Then they run over to the boulders.
• Students jump or leap over the boulders (hurdles), then continue to the switchback path.
• Since switchback paths are used for very steep places in a trail, I mark a zigzag pathway using cones. Then onto the rocky ledge at the top of the mountain.
• Students have reached the top of the mountain when balance on the rocky ledge (for our school this is the cement curb around our sandbox).
• Students then take a different pathway down the mountain, to the beginning. They have the option of taking the short cut (monkey bars) across from one side of the "ledge" to the other.
Students continue hiking up and down the mountain until time is up. (usually 5 -8 minutes – a few songs when playing music).


• For children unable to perform push-ups using correct form have the children get in a push-up position and hold it for 10 seconds. If this is too easy for some children, have them give a friend a "high-5" while staying in the push-up position.
• Students unable to jump rope can jump over a rope laying on the ground.
• Vary the width of rivers, instead of keeping the two ropes parallel to each other. This allows students to choose the part of the river they leap over, allowing for differences in abilities.
• Low balance beams work well for the rocky ledge at the top of the mountain.
• Fun signs could be used for each area to keep with the theme and remind students of their tasks at each “station.”
• Older students have the option of crossing the monkey bars to travel down the mountain. Safety on the monkey bars must be stressed.
• This activity is done outside, but can easily be adapted to an indoor environment.
• This works with older children as well. The focus can be more on fitness stations with less emphasis on the story.
• This works well as a partner or small group activity; to help children work together and avoid leaving anyone behind.

Assessment Ideas:

I use this to assess locomotor skills. Sometimes the locomotor skills are changed if the students need more practice on one or two of them.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

They can do this with a buddy, number of reps can be lowered. If being done on the grass a student in a wheelchair could have their own course on the blacktop that some chosen students do with him/her.

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Submitted by Justin Parnell who teaches at California Montessori Project-Elk Grove in Elk Grove, CA. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 3/4/2013.

Viewed 142651 times since 10/29/2012.

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Previous Comments:

James Clemmer

JP! You just made CSUS even more proud of you!! I am going to use this lesson with my Kindergarten and first graders, job well done sir.