September not only brings a change of season, but a beginning to a new school year, updated schedules, and a change of pace. Change is abundant this September as many kids return back to school…from home. With these significant shifts in work, school, and extracurricular activity schedules, it is more imperative than ever to keep kids motivated and on the move!
However, this can be easier said than done…
Cultivating innovative ways break up screen time and generate excitement towards exercise can be a challenge. We recently enlisted the help of a true professional…a PE teacher! Christie Hursey, Physical Education teacher of 23 years weighs in with her expertise and recommends 5 ways to keep kids on the move this fall!
Playmakers PE Challenge
Movement is essential in order to have a healthy mind, healthy heart, and healthy body! Through the PE Challenge, Playmakers encourages students to stay moving and active through a 6-week time frame. Students, classes, and groups will track and record activities while monitoring progress towards the goals they set. Activity categories include running/walking, rolling/movement, push-ups, sit-ups, planks, burpees, mountain climbers, and wall sits! It is simple to get your school involved. Simply create a team and invite your students, neighborhood, and friends to join! Once students register, you can view their progress and help guide and motivate them through the challenge. The first 6-week challenge starts September 21st.
Get Off Screens & Get Outside!
With many learning environments converting to a virtual classroom, time on screens has amplified. Hursey encourages her students to get outdoors, breathe fresh air, and get in a variety of movements every day. “Heart healthy” exercise like biking, running, and walking can keep students stronger and can also provide a break throughout a monotonous virtual schedule. One thing that Hursey always considers while instructing students is that fitness looks different for every individual. She has noticed that giving students the ability to select their fitness activities by providing them with a few options has actually become the preference among her classroom. Of course many of the students miss team sports and the camaraderie, but there are opportunities to engage in activities that may not be offered in traditional PE curriculum such as golf, biking, and rollerblading.
Variety is Key!
Sometimes exercise can be like eating the same peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day…to stay motivated and inspired, you have to switch it up and keep it fun! Hursey recommends that her students rotate activities on a daily basis. Her fellow PE teachers have created bingo boards and other games to keep students engaged while they seek out a rhythm to their routines. Although Hursey is unable to instruct her students in-person, she still aims to introduce new sports, games, and lifetime activities. The at-home classroom is a great way to try something new and also improve on skills and build strength in areas that the students were already familiar with and passionate about.
Join in on The Fun
Camaraderie is contagious! Over the past few months, family members have become our teammates, doubles partner, running buddies, and spotters. Even though the start of a new school year and work schedules can make for a hectic day-to-day schedule, staying active together can benefit the whole family! Hursey and her family have made a precedent in their household to embark on daily family walks. Picking out destinations such as the grocery store, farmers market, or an ice cream stand can be a great way to incentivize a family walk, run, or roll!
In recent years, Tik Tok routines, Minecraft, and Netflix have filled the free time of students. A great way to catalyze the interest of students in fitness is by reintroducing games from YOUR childhood! Tap into nostalgia with kick the can, sardines, flashlight tag, musical chairs, telephone, maybe even a socially distanced field day. Providing kids with fun ideas and a variety of activities can introduce them to some new skills, strengths, or even spark interest in unfamiliar ways of movement.
Despite altered venues for exercise and activities this fall, it is an opportunity for students to try other things. With many traditional sporting events on hold, it’s time to adapt and remodel the way we view fitness for our kids. Goal setting doesn’t have to be postponed, in fact, it can be stronger than ever. Tracking and recording performances such as mile times, push ups, sit ups through virtual events like the Playmakers PE Challenge, can hold students accountable while experiencing a competitive atmosphere.
Stay moving, stay healthy, and have fun this fall!