Common physical education equipment - Cost and Suggestions
August 18, 2016 8:30 PM   Subscribe

I work for an outdoor adventure company that is expanding into full day enrichment programs in a very low income school system. We are trying to expand our general equipment (hula hoops, bean bags, pinnies, etc) at the lowest cost and I've become extremely frustrated trying to find the best price among so many different websites. Any helpful websites or resources would be greatly appreciated!

P.S To anyone what works with ESL kids, if you have any secret weapon games that are easy to explain and fun for kids in K-4 throw that in!

PPS What is the best piece of equipment you have gotten that you didn't think you would need in the gym/education setting?
posted by Bossypants to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you're in Canada, Treadmill Factory or Fitness Depot have a decent range of (I think the cheapest, mostly) basic gym equipment. (I've gotten stuff at both places that I see at my gym, same brands.) For free weights, Walmart usually ends up offering the best deal.

Can you clarify your criteria for best piece of equipment? (Right now I'm liking resistance bands like this for home workouts, because they're versatile, light, and easy to store.)

Do you have monkey bars or any kind of climbing apparatus? Or trees (for ropes etc)? For cheap fitness activities for kids, I'm going to go classic - ball games (dodgeball, volleyball, basketball, baseball, soccer) - they involve a bit of running/cardio but also usually coordination, balance, etc., and have a social (game) element. And they're fun. I think dodgeball is probably easiest to explain. (Although I've heard that dodgeball is no longer allowed in some schools!)
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:06 PM on August 18, 2016

I don't have any recommendations for equipment, but perhaps a price comparison extension in your browser would help you compare the costs of the equipment you are considering?

PriceBlink is one that I like a lot. You can use it on Chrome or Firefox.
posted by onecircleaday at 10:01 PM on August 18, 2016

Just speaking generally, it's probably not worth the effort to find the absolute lowest price because efficiently-run sellers are likely to have very similar prices, and sorting among them is likely to take a lot of time without much payoff. Find a pretty good price (including shipping) from a reputable seller, and go with that. Trying to push the costs lower is likely to get you into a headache situation of one kind or another.
posted by jon1270 at 2:51 AM on August 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Two different times, we simply made ten hula hoops from a 100-foot roll of PEX tubing and some connectors. It was free because we got a local Lowe's store to donate the materials, and my family donated the time (maybe an hour?).

Is there any of this stuff that you could make or get donated?
posted by wenestvedt at 4:14 AM on August 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Jump rope would be another good thing to have. Also Frisbees. You should be able to find these for pretty cheap.

If you're in the US, I would definitely check Wal Mart. Amazon is hit and miss, but it's worth checking. Some items can be found for a really good deal, others not so much. Another alternative would be to check out a local dollar store.

For example, on Amazon (US store), they are selling 12 Frisbees (or rather, non name brand Frisbees) for $15.88 which I think is probably a pretty good price if you want to get them in bulk. It's available for free prime shipping. You can play ultimate Frisbee if you want a more organized game. This is a pack of 18 jump ropes for $18.99 from Amazon. Alternatively, along the lines of make your own hula hoops, you might be able to buy rope in bulk and use that to make your own jump ropes.

For games, kickball was sort of the classic game that we played as kids. Easy to explain, and since it tends to use a larger ball, I think it makes it easier for younger kids to coordinate.

Oh, capture the flag is another great game that I loved playing as a kid. It also requires essentially no equipment. You can use almost anything as a flag. It might be helpful to have some sort of signifier for whose on what team, but even that isn't essential.

If you are going to be somewhere with asphalt or concrete, sidewalk chalk could be helpful to have on hand.

If you wanted to give your location (or at least your country), we might be able to help a bit more. This will also depend on how much of each item you're interested in getting. I would also check into donations. A lot of people probably have unused equipment like balls, frisbees, jump ropes, etc, that they'd be willing to donate.

Another thing you can look into is whether any local sports store would be willing to help "sponsor" you guys by donating free or discounted equipment. Now that we're getting towards the end of the summer (well, at least in the Northern Hemisphere), you might be able to find some end of the season discounts at various stores.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:48 AM on August 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

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posted by mai at 8:35 AM on August 19, 2016

Response by poster: I think the advice to stick to one website was helpful, I ended up going with Epic Sports based on their great price on segmented hula hoops. Looking to write another question soon about game suggestions, but I wanted to express my appreciation for the help!
posted by Bossypants at 8:22 PM on September 7, 2016

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