Making Something From Nothing in Your Phys. Ed. Equipment Room

When I was fortunate enough to get a full-time phys. ed. teaching position in my second year of employment I inherited an equipment room that was virtually empty – broken hockey sticks, a few deflated volleyballs (with no pump), and one basketball. I was given no funding to build my supplies, so I had to get creative.

Here are three strategies I’ve used to go from nothing to something when building my phys.ed. equipment room.

  1. Canadian Tire Money Drive: This was a creative idea that was easy to implement and we had huge success with. Letters were sent home and the month-long drive began with each class receiving a jar to fill with Canadian Tire Money. I found our school community was very willing to unload these bills and quickly we were in the thousands of dollars.  Prior to the drive we approached our local Canadian Tire and they agreed to both match our funds and donate bins to hold the equipment. The class that collected the most amount of money was rewarded with a movie and popcorn party (sort of healthy) and it was a hit. The highlight, we received a donation of a $5 Canadian Tire bill. This was huge, even the staff at our local store had never seen this urban legend, oh, and we got a ton of great equipment too!
  2. Bring a Ball to Have a Ball: This event we organized in order to raise equipment for classroom recess bins. After school we had a Bring a Ball to Have a Ball event. Where the admission to the family fitness night was a ball. We didn’t provide any specifics as to what kind of ball, and the catch was that the ball would be donated to the school and all equipment received would be split up between every class to be used as recess equipment. Family fit night events included active Bingo (or Fitgo as I’ve heard it called since), where each square is labeled with a fitness activity that is performed when called. We also did a family dance, where students were taught choreographed dances in phys.ed. classes and performed them with their families, and we provide a variety of low organized games in open gym time.
  3. Local Service Clubs: Many local service clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis etc.) or retail stores (Forzani’s/SportChek) were more than willing to donate to our school. All we had to do was ask! We were even asked for a wish list which a local service club had their members fulfill. Check and see what connections already exist within your school community and work them. We took photos of our school and students being active (of course with consent forms). We wrote letters, including some from students on teams as appropriate and when groups were interested, we provided school tours with student performances and student served lunches – really opportunities for these groups to meet our school and want to partner with us, and it always worked.

These strategies worked for my school within our community, if you are in a similar position – give them a try!

Have you done anything similar or creative to raise equipment or funds for your health and phys.ed. program? Share it in the comment section!

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2 thoughts on “Making Something From Nothing in Your Phys. Ed. Equipment Room

  1. Shelly Sharp says:

    Nice ideas. I make and sell flower sticks. It takes me about 2 hours. They are beautiful and I charge $20 for my students and $25 for folks outside our school community. The money cycles into buying equipment. Garage sales and second hand stores give me 5 to 8 times the buying power. I’ve asked our university level hockey teams for their old hockey sticks and they were kind in their donations. Grants rock as does student teaching contributions. Our PE consultant has organized grant programs for us. Freecycle has some goodies. Dreams of an equipment exchange whisper from the edge of my goals.

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