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Introduction to Physical Literacy on the Move

This is an excerpt from Physical Literacy on the Move by Heather Gardner.

Physical Literacy on the Move was written to help educators of children and youths from grades K through 12 teach high-quality and fun games and activities that support the unique needs of their learners as they develop physical literacy. This comprehensive theory-into-practice resource presents 120 ready-to-use games and activities that require minimal equipment and can take place in a variety of settings. They are organized into eight chapters to facilitate quick instructional preparation: Low-Organization Games, Personal Fitness, Gymnastics, Creative Movement, Running and Skipping, Throwing and Catching, Striking With Hands, and Striking With an Implement or Feet. Each activity includes adaptations to either increase or decrease the challenge. Activities conclude with self-check questions related to the movement skills, concepts, and strategies addressed, as well as living skills such as relationship, social, and critical thinking skills.

What Is Physical Literacy?

Physical and Health Education Canada defines physically literate people as those who "move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person" ( The definition continues as follows:

  • Physically literate individuals consistently develop the motivation and ability to understand, communicate, apply, and analyze different forms of movement.
  • They are able to demonstrate a variety of movements confidently, competently, creatively, and strategically across a wide range of health-related physical activities.
  • These skills enable individuals to make healthy, active choices that are both beneficial to and respectful of their whole self, others, and their environment.

The games and activities in Physical Literacy on the Move help participants at various skill levels and from grades K through 12 develop the competence and confidence they need to live healthy, active lives. This book goes beyond instructing sport skills, drills, and fitness training into incorporating a holistic approach to physical literacy instruction. This approach includes learning fundamental movement skills and strategies through games and activities as well as exploring individual pursuits such as creative movement, gymnastics, and low-organization games.

Keeping Learning Fun With Participant Choice

Educators using this book act as facilitators while participants choose their own groups, equipment, game setups, and adaptations to optimize the challenge and maximize the participation and fun. Educator flexibility is key in creating a learning environment where participants may experiment with personal choices in order to work at their optimal level of challenge. Allowing participants to select the type, color, or size of equipment; the size of the playing area or net; the distance from the target; or the scoring scheme, gives participants of all skill levels the opportunity to have their personal needs met while learning with others in the same activity space. A variety of adaptations follow each activity to provide opportunities for learners to work within their own levels of physical literacy in a shared learning environment.


Physical Literacy on the Move is based on a holistic view of physical literacy. Key concepts are presented according to a learner-centered and skill-based progression, acknowledging that quality instruction is connected to learners' needs as well as their stages of physical and emotional development. Fundamental movement skill development is age related but not age dependent, and physical ability depends on factors such as experience, including that with clubs or teams; personal rate of development; and interests. The games and activities in this book are grouped into four progressive levels of learning: beginning, exploring, competent, and proficient. This permits educators to support learners' individual needs so they can work within their unique levels of optimal challenge.

Learn more about Physical Literacy on the Move.

More Excerpts From Physical Literacy on the Move