Adaptation Tips

Tips and Aspects to Consider

Nature of the Activity

Opportunity for Success

  • Consider activities that do not single-out participants who make mistakes or who have lower skill levels (e.g., elimination games).
  • Change the target or goal area to allow for a greater degree of success (e.g., score some points for landing near target but more points for landing in the target).

Cooperation vs. Competitiveness

  • Encourage cooperation during activities by promoting teamwork as opposed to individual success (appoint specific roles/skills that will capitalize on individual strengths).
  • Adapt the activity so that all players must participate in some way in order to win (e.g., everyone must touch ball before scoring).
  • Play two people in one position to promote teamwork and cooperation (e.g., allow more than one goaltender at a time).

Inclusion Versus Elimination

  • Avoid games where participation gradually decreases as those with lower skill levels are eliminated (for example, traditional dodgeball).
  • Use frequent substitution rather than elimination.



  • Provide a variety of sizes and types of balls (that are more easily caught, seen or heard)
  • Lighter balls – beach, sponge, yarn
  • Larger balls – beach or monster
  • Suspend the balls from the ceiling beams or ropes
  • Balls with tails – foxtails or ribbons
  • Use brightly coloured balls
  • Use scarves or bean bags as alternatives


  • Use larger targets or goals
  • Give participants the option of moving closer to targets without penalty
  • Raise or lower the target

Racquets or Bats

  • Shorten the handle
  • Use lighter bats (e.g., plastic)
  • Use racquets with larger faces


  • Decrease the playing area (e.g., court size)
  • Increase or decrease the time limits on game/activity
  • Use more than one ball
  • Alter the number of players allowed on court/playing field
  • Increase or decrease boundary limitations (e.g., allow ball to hit the wall)

Making adaptations during activities will increase student success, participation, independence and ultimately improve physical education and DPA programs for all students!

Rural and Isolated Communities

At times, the lesson plans may suggest activities or applications that may be difficult to implement outdoors in rural or isolated communities. When this is the case, the following adaptations should be considered:

  • The use of Smart Boards to simulate the conditions of an outdoor environment
  • Visiting a “safety community”, available in several municipalities across Ontario, where simulations of road safety scenarios have been constructed
  • Create a town in the school yard or gym using various pieces of equipment and tape to mark roads, sings and buildings.