Authors as Published

Elena Serrano, Associate Professor, Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise. (

Age   X Children 7-10X Children 11-14   X  Mixed AgesVirginia Standards of Learning
English 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 6.2, 7.1
Health 3.1, 3.2, 4.4, 5.1, 5.2, 6.2, 7.2, 8.1, 8.2
Setting   Classroom    CampX  Either
Location   Outside Indoors X    Either

Project Skill: Being physically active.

Success Indicators: As a result of this activity, students will be able to:

  • define and give examples of different types of physical activities
  • explain why physical activity is important for good health

Life Skills: Decision-making, Healthy lifestyle choices, Teamwork

Preparation Time: Before class, gather different magazines.


  • Kids Activity Pyramid poster or Move It! handout
  • Kids Activity Plate handouts (VCE publication 348-097)
  • Large sheets of paper
  • Old magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers

Optional Handouts:

  • Add It Up (VCE publication 348-240)
  • Move It!
  • Move It! Diary
  • Calorie Chemistry (VCE publication 348-241)
  • Warm Up Activities (VCE publication 348-885)
  • Power Up Activities (VCE publication 348-886)


  1. Have the class brainstorm a good definition of “physical activity”—what to include or not include.
  2. Give small groups of students old magazines and scissors. Ask them to cut out as many pictures as they can of people performing different kinds of physical activity.
  3. Give the groups large sheets of paper, glue, markers, and the Kids Activity Pyramid or Move It! handouts. Have the students divide the paper into sections similar to the Kids Activity Pyramid: everyday, 3 to 5 times a week, etc.
  4. Have each student or group show the poster to the class and explain it.
  5. Which activity was the most difficult to classify?
  6. Compare and contrast the different posters. Did the groups categorize activities differently?
  7. Choose a game to play to be active.
  8. Distribute handouts for them to take home.


  • Choose the Move It! handout for younger children and the Kids Activity Pyramid for older children.
  • This activity may be done individually or in small groups.
  • Be sure the magazines are appropriate for children.

Other Ideas:

  • Rather than using magazines to create posters, ask the students to brainstorm different physical activities. Then, assign individuals or groups different physical activities to draw. When they are finished, have each person tape the activity onto the Kids Activity Pyramid where they think it belongs. Discuss the Kids Activity Pyramid, including why physical activity is important and the difference between “everyday” activities and those you should “cut down on.” Follow this up with one of the games.
  • Activity Relay. Place paper bags at the front of the room. Label each bag with a different category of the Kids Activity Pyramid. Children are divided into teams and each team gets a certain number of cutouts of physical activities or activities written on slips of paper. They must sort the activities and in a relay place them in the proper bags.
  • Combine this lesson with one from Smart Foods, comparing and contrasting the Kids Activity Pyramid with the MyPlate. Choose a game from Game Ideas to follow-up.
  • Share activities found at BAM Body and Mind to find interesting tidbits to share with the kids about different possible sports and activities:


  • Which activities were the hardest to classify?
  • Why?


  • What category of the MyPlate do you think stretching fits into? Why?
  • Why is it important to think about types of physical activity?


  • Why is physical activity important?
  • What kinds of physical activity would you like to try now? When you are older?


  • In what other daily activities will you use exercise?
  • What will you tell your family about the Kids Activity Plate?


Move It! and the Kids Activity Pyramid show which activities
you should do more–and less–often.


This publication was partially funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with low incomes. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, contact your local county or city Department of Social Services (phone listed under city/county government).  For help finding a local number, call toll-free: 1-800-552-3431 (M-F 8:15-5:00, except holidays).  By calling your local DSS office, you can get other useful information about services.  
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, age, disability, or political beliefs.
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call, toll free, (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
This publication was partially funded by the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program, USDA, CSREES.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

December 13, 2011