All posts by Sandy Slade

How a Mid-Year Progress Report Enhances Your Efforts

Congratulations on reaching the half-way mark of the school year! Not only is January a new year, but it’s mid-year through the academic calendar. This mile-marker is a good spot to assess progress so that you can celebrate the accomplishments or make adjustments to reach your goals by the end of the year.

Why Conduct Assessments
Any long-term goal requires a series of steps to achieve, and it’s important to measure progress along the way. How well did you complete the last step? Are you ready for the next step? Just as the academic classroom includes assessments to determine students’ grasp of the units, so should you assess your program.

The results of an assessment offer insights into the success of your program so that you can make better decisions about where to focus your efforts. For example, should you keep focusing on a particular skill, or do you need to step back and develop more foundational skills first? Are you on track to move through the units, or should you add more or remove some?

The Goal of Assessment
Metrics are important indicators for determining progress, and data driven decisions have become the norm. Within this world of measurements and datapoints is a term worth learning called Delta, and it stands for the amount of change that occurs. In other words, this metric pinpoints the before and after effects of your program.

When the merit of a program stands on its transformative success, you want to capture the before-and-after changes that occur. You need to know how far you’ve come and where your students are in their transformation.

But you don’t have to be a data analyst to do this!

Easy to Use Reporting
Instead of struggling to design your own Skillastics® progress report, allow us to help you. We have created two easy to use tools to help you assess your program and or your staff. The Skillastics Physical Activity Instructor Evaluations assesses your staff and the Skillastics Pre-Post Test helps assess your student’s attitudes. You’ll gain immediate insights about your work so far with easy to read results so that you don’t need to be an expert in statistics to understand the outcome.

The results of our free Progress Report will help you plan for the next half of the school year and make the most of your time. In the end, your students will benefit most from a program evaluation that stays on track and meets its goals.

Sports Cultivate Healthy Lifestyles Life Lessons

How Sports Cultivate Healthy Lifestyles and Life Lessons

There’s a reason that sports matter to us, and it’s not just about winning. Sports are good for the mind and body.

First, playing sports feels good, win, or lose. A game is a good challenge and gives the body a good workout. Sports are fun, exciting, and rewarding on a physical level. Then, learning a sport introduces and develops new skills, both mental and physical. The strategy of a sport engages the mind while learning to play provides new abilities and ways to move the body.

Playing sports combines mental and physical energy that elevates life to another level, giving players better ways to think and feel.

Skill Development

There is a natural tendency to follow inertia. Often, children who feel bored continue to do nothing instead of finding something to do. However, put children on a path toward a goal, and they go merrily on their way. When a child engages with a sport, there is always something to do. Sports provide goals within goals.

While it’s fun to play a sport, playing well is another aspect of sports. To play well requires practice and skill development. Any sport can break down into a set of skills, and each of those skill sets comes with practice drills or techniques to learn. This means children who learn a sport can pick one or more skills to develop and spend time on, keeping them active.

Within the bigger picture, learning skills for a sport translates into life lessons that children apply throughout their lifetime. Trying something new requires an element of risk-taking, and sports provide a safe place to acquire this life skill.

Children who learn new skills from a sport will be more comfortable managing the risks of trying something new in life. Accomplishing a new skill instills confidence and self-reliance, good qualities to possess for achieving success. From starting a new job to taking more responsible positions within a workplace, sports pave the way for future success.

And not just at work. In their adult lives, children who participated in sports will be more likely to follow healthy lifestyles that include exercise. From a childhood sport, they have knowledge about their bodies and ways to improve their condition, so they can continue to stay active. Also, they are more likely to continue their sport in some manner on organized teams or professional leagues when they are no longer playing for their school.

sport skills development translates life lessons

Life-Long Activity

Sports are outlets that give children a chance to be physically active, and they gain an early foundation for a healthy lifestyle. From eating right to building muscles so they can perform the sport, children who play a sport learn about being healthy.

When children play a sport, they are more likely to be conscious of their food choices and balance physical activity with sedentary pursuits. Quickly, children who play sports understand the connection between healthy food and gaining the energy required to be physically active. Snacks and meals provide the fuel for their bodies to play sports, and children who care about their sport will care about the foods they eat.

Instead of lounging in their downtime, children on a sport are more likely to get up and out. From practicing the game with others to working on a skill, a child who plays sport has options to use their time toward playing the game instead of being inactive. Children on a sport are more inclined to keep active and benefit their skills instead of sitting around.

In order to be ready for games, children who play sports find value in practice and staying active. These children will know the value of building strength from frequent activity, and the routine of practices before a game will teach them the importance of constant and regular preparation to stay fit. The regiment instills healthy habits to seek exercise that can sustain them into adulthood when there is competition for their time.

Ready For The Future

By engaging with a sport, children learn important life lessons that will enable them to cultivate a healthy lifestyle as an adult. The early exposure to the responsibility of maintaining their bodies in order to play a sport allows children to develop healthy habits to last a lifetime. As they age and become adults, children who play sports have the advantage of experience and knowledge to continue their active lifestyle when they’re older.

As other responsibilities encroach on their lifestyles when they’re adults, children who play sports will be able to prioritize their health and exercise, falling back on their early experiences balancing school and their sport. As life gets more stressful, adults who played sports as a child will have an outlet through exercise and experience healthier living overall.

Exercise Can Save the Future Generations

The Missing Link: How Exercise & Healthy Living Can Save the Future Generations

In bygone days, neighborhood children ran and played outdoors from dawn ‘til dusk, biking through the dirt and capering in the woods. Moms and dads whistled loudly when it was time to come inside and eat dinner, and then the children all scattered home. But that is not the norm today.

More awareness for lurking danger keeps children closer to home with a play radius not much further than the front yard, and the advent of the internet connects children to friends from a computer screen and chair so they no longer galivant together through hidden paths in the woods. Today, children run less and have more sedentary play and organized socializing through contained play dates at friends’ houses in a playroom.

The change from the wild abandon of yore to the more confined and structured play of today is almost visceral. You can feel the social constraints that limit children’s activity as well as the restless energy stored within them, untapped and waiting to burst. In the absence of natural play that wiles away the day with large expenditures of energy, we must create the opportunity for children to let loose and play with gusto.

Creating Active Play

Children of all ages have an amazing capacity for spending energy, and their musculoskeletal systems are developmentally craving movement and full-body engagement. There just isn’t always enough opportunity for them to move in today’s daily routine, so we must be conscious of creating opportunities for them to get the physical activity their bodies require.

Gym classes, after school activity groups, and playdates that include movement are ways to incorporate active play into a child’s day. Ideally, one or more of these occurring daily would be best so that children have ample time to unleash their stores of energy. It’s vital to set aside dedicated time for activity so that children can fully develop their bodies and become healthy. Adults may need to make a little more effort to provide these opportunities, but it’s so worthwhile. The result of more active children is better not just for their health, but for the future.

Long Lasting Benefits To Active Play

Long Lasting Benefits To Active Play

Without activity, our bodies experience atrophy. Atrophy is a condition of the muscles, joints, and bones that renders them weak and incapable of doing their primary job to support the body in all its functions. Atrophy occurs over prolonged periods of inactivity during which the body is at rest for too long. While it’s not life threatening, atrophy contributes to other illnesses or diseases that certainly do harm or limit lifespans.

Atrophy is the result of a body that has not been allowed to perform in full; the human body is designed to work. The body is a system and a machine that regenerates and produces energy as needed; the body is meant to function. Muscle tissue benefits from use and building up strength, and without movement, those muscles will atrophy. Like any system, weaken one point and the rest will follow suit until the whole system collapses.

Luckily, the opposite is true:  continued use will allow the body to grow stronger and prevent atrophy, feeding the system so that it builds itself up. An active body is a healthy body, staving off the harmful consequences of inactivity, like atrophy. It’s vital to stay active.

Children who engage in active play times will continue to build their system and grow stronger. The obstacles to unabandoned outdoor play time and the sedentary lifestyles we have grown accustomed to in society today foster an environment rife with atrophy, so we need to counteract the effects of this by including active times within our lifestyles.

Lasting Changes

The expression, “Knowledge is Power,” strikes at the heart of the problems facing today’s youngest generation:  knowing that we need to stay active to be healthy is the first step to seeking those opportunities. Understanding the harm and causes of atrophy allows us to push against the forces that create the condition so that we can avoid it.

Technology and screen time are conducive to creating atrophy of the human body, so creating movement and activity away from those factors is the start. Children who learn to balance their screen time with active pursuits will develop healthy habits to last a lifetime.

Many times, safety concerns push parents to provide indoor screen time so that children can play in a non-threatening environment. By offering a safe space to be active, parents can now give their children this advantage.

The Healthy Living Chain Reaction 

Giving children the advantage of opportunities to be physically active starts a chain reaction that leads to healthy living as follows: exposing children to regular physical activity establishes a habit; children learn to seek and engage with physical activities; this early exposure and habit lead to skill development, and skills give children knowledge and the ability to pursue even more activity as they grow up.

Once the habit and skills become ingrained, today’s generation of children will be healthier adults tomorrow. The desire for more movement will lead to more individuals seeking activity which in turn influences society. If there is demand, there will be supply, and economic principles will drive society to meet the need.

As society continues to develop more technology to replace the need for humans to act, it will be ever more important for society to have an innate desire to be physically active. Understanding the connection between a healthy body and lifestyle and teaching skills to engage in physical activity will stave off the effects of atrophy and the encroachment of an increasingly sedentary lifestyle.

As the first link in the chain reaction, childhood physical activity initiates the healthy beliefs and actions that will define the future. Starting now, we can create a healthier future for the next generations by promoting and providing access to exercise.

We Can’t Thank You Enough

The year is waning, and soon we’ll be ringing in 2020. Before we gear up and finish the year, now is a good time to pause and reflect on the importance of 2019 and all that has occurred.

Every Year Is Important

At Skillastics, our mission is to create positive physical activity for all children—the heartbeat of our work is providing for children so they have the ability to stay physically active and enjoy the feeling of physical health. To our core, we believe that children who enjoy physical activity will feel the effects beyond just within their bodies but also in other ways, becoming healthier in all aspects of their lives.

This belief is our driving force because we passionately see a connection between physical health and the ability for a child to live a full and meaningful life, to engage with the world and make a difference. We need children to fulfill their entire purpose, and we wholeheartedly believe that physical activity is the ticket.

The Importance of You

And we couldn’t do it without you, our customers who are the vehicle to bringing children through to the other side, from struggling to engaging with life. You are the front line that reaches these children, finds them at their baseline, and guides them forward. We appreciate you.

We are well aware that when you work with Skillastics, you’re taking our mission and leading the charge to bring children hope, opportunity, and access to a better future, for themselves and others. It’s a big deal to us, and we appreciate the dedication you have to children and the work you do.

Before the year ends and we focus on the new year, we want to thank you, our customers, for the work you’ve accomplished this year. We want to highlight your efforts and the meaningful work you do. Without you, children may or may not succeed, but with you, they have that chance to thrive. When you spend your time with these children and use Skillastics to break down barriers to physical activity, then you’re contributing to something bigger and greater.

We can’t thank you enough.

Something for You This Year

As a gesture and token of our appreciation, we are offering FREE Skillastics Task Cards as a show of Gratitude this year. Just email us your contact info including your mailing address (below) and we’ll mail an extra set of Skillastics Task cards to the first 100 customers that respond. We want to support your work, and we want you to feel the magnitude of your influence on children.

Thank you for working with us to achieve our mission and bring lasting health to children through physical activity.

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How to Deal with Reluctant Students and Refusal to Participate

Fear in children isn’t always expressed with wide-eyes and tears, particularly with older teens. In school, fear of failure at an activity or standing out in a bad way can manifest as refusals to participate.

When faced with a child or teenager’s refusal to participate, it can be tough, but these are children feeling fear. It’s up to you to role model bravery and provide safety.

Source of Fears
Not every child in a PE or After School Program is an expert in sports, so some may struggle to learn. For them, aiming at the net in basketball but throwing an air ball in front of everyone may feel humiliating.

From dribbling the ball right to remembering the rules, these children see nothing but opportunities to fail when playing basketball. So, they avoid it all together; they refuse to participate.

What Can You Do?
When someone is feeling fear, it’s like they are backed into a corner. Pushing them will only cause them to feel further penned in with no choice other than digging in deeper. It’s time to be creative and show them a way out of the corner.

1.Don’t Fight Them. They will seem angry and obstinate, but remember, they are scared. Don’t fuel the fires of their anger. Show them bravery by staying calm in the face of their adversity.

2.Acknowledge Their Choice. Give permission to skip the game. Tell them you understand they don’t want to play, so let’s do something else that’s less threatening and helps build self-esteem instead of tear it down.

3.Redirect the Energy. Introduce fun games and activities that focus on skill development, like Basketball Skillastics®. Pull from these to give them small challenges that they can win. Focus on the skill, not the game

Making it Fun for All
When you push someone out of their comfort zone, it helps to provide a bridge. That’s where skill development come into the picture. Not everyone will be able to play a game of basketball, but skill development is accessible to everyone.

One of the reasons Basketball Skillastics® works well with a diverse group is because its inclusive and allows a whole class to practice their skills in a fun way all at the same time. Also, you can float the room once everyone is occupied. Now, you can assess everyone’s skill level, provide more support for reluctant students, and allow skilled students to showcase their abilities.
Bridging the Gulf

Develop resources to bridge the gulf to reach and draw out fearful students; you have a real chance to help change their attitudes. We can get you started with Basketball Skillastics®, a resource designed so that all children can have fun learning basketball instead of missing out. Throughout November when you use the code bb2019, you’ll receive 10% off so that you can begin to use this resource right away. Purchase online or via Purchase Order to FAX (951) 279-3957 or email to Suzanne Blair at

5 Tips for Creating Basketball Lesson that Kids Love

It’s that time of year again! Gyms echo with the squeaks of sneakers as we kick off Basketball Season. During PE and after school this time of year, it’s all about basketball. It’s also the number one choice of recess activity; more basketballs are requested this time of year, and for good reason!

Everyone can play with a ball. But not everyone can or wants to play a sport.

Basketball for All
So, it’s tough to create lessons to teach basketball; how do you include students who are good at basketball and want to be challenged as well as students who have very little interest in the sport?

The solution is to focus on skill development. All students, no matter their ability, can have fun developing their skills in a non-threatening, non-competitive atmosphere.
Creating the Right Environment

By following the 5 tips below, you can make it easier to teach basketball fundamentals to diverse groups:

1.A Ball for Each. Get each student a ball, any ball. If it bounces and fits through a net, it’s great to use to teach basketball fundamentals. If you must share, follow a ratio of two students per ball.

2.Control the Bouncing. Kids love to bounce the ball! They can’t seem to help themselves, despite requests to stop, and it gets disruptive. So, remove temptation. Create a signal word or phrase like “stall the ball!” at which they put the ball between their feet when they hear it.

3.Delegate to Motivate and Engage. If you’re not comfortable demonstrating a fundamental, allow skilled students to take this role. They will love it!

4.Keep Them Moving! Downtime breeds distractions or misbehaving. Keep them actively engaged. Waiting in line? Practice dribbling or ball-handling. Waiting for a ball? Mirror the activity to learn the motions.

5.Play the Game Last. At the end of the lesson, avoid playing a game of basketball. Modify the game to highlight the skill learned in the session.

Resource for Skill Building
To modify the game or learn other skill development ideas so all children enjoy the sport, consult resources like Basketball Skillastics®. Motivated by the desire to create an all-inclusive and whole class learning environment, Basketball Skillastics was designed to practice skills in a fun way together.

For this month, let’s make the most of the sport by getting the most children involved through skill development. Celebrate the start of basketball season with a 10% discount on Basketball Skillastics® throughout November for After School and Physical Education Instructors with code bb2019. Online, or Purchase Order.

Lights On After School: Highlight Physical Activity with this Step-by-Step Family Fitness Event Guide

Did you know that 8 in 10 parents agree that After School Programs should help children become more physically active? In addition, parents who have little knowledge about physical activity overwhelmingly want to learn more so they can share that knowledge with their kids and help them become more active.

There is no doubt physical activity can be intimidating. There are so many misconceptions surrounding physical activity that stops kids and adults from participating. Fallacies about having to spend hours in a gym for any type of results, or that physical activity is boring, are widespread beliefs.

Offering movement activities that are simple and fun in your After School program is the first step in planting that positive seed of physical activity enjoyment. If children are enjoying being active in your After School program, then they are more apt to be open about sharing that positive experience at home.

This month we are recognizing the significance of Afterschool Programs nationwide. Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating Afterschool programs and their important roles in the lives of children, families and communities. This year the event will take place at Afterschool programs all over the country on October 24th. If you have not decided what you want to do on this special day, let us help you!

In honor of this special day, we are providing you with a FREE, step-by-step guide on how to host a Family Fitness Event highlighting the importance of planting that positive seed of being healthy and active and loving it! This program walks you through every single aspect of hosting a quality physical activity event.

As a company, we understand how important it is to get support and “buy in” regarding the activities you are providing in your program. That’s why we wanted to share this valuable Family Fitness Event guide with you. In fact, the Family Fitness Event Guide and other family engagement resources are included in our Fitness Skillastics Starter Package. This package is the perfect program designed to organize, motivate and engage students to move and learn with an innovative multipurpose activity kit system that transforms attitudes about physical activity.

Recently, we participated in a local After School Family Fitness Event. As the families started walking into the facility, you could see the fear on their faces, hesitant and wondering what they got themselves into! By the end of the event everyone was laughing and having an amazing time. Many parents shared their fears, but quickly realized how fun being active could be. If you would like to see results like this and highlight your program during the Lights On After School Event on October 29th, we have a special offer for you that is only available in October. Order the Fitness Skillastics Starter Package (PSPFFAS5) and receive 10% off your order. CLICK HERE to place your order today using CODE as1019 or call (951) 279-3476 to place your order over the phone. We also accept Purchase Orders.

Enjoy the FREE Family Fitness Event Guide

Digital Detox: Getting Kids to Reduce Electronics & Move More Using This One Simple Resource

Did you know childhood obesity has tripled since 1980? In addition, the recommended amount of screen time for tweens & teenagers is 2 hours per day, but the national average is 9 hours! Our bodies are meant to move, but digital dominance is consuming children’s lives. In fact, increase screen time can lead to permanent eye damage in children under 9. Family, school and community are all responsible to help solve this issue and After School Programs are the perfect environment to help make a difference.

Offering all-inclusive activities for all abilities that are simple and fun is the 1st step in planting that positive seed of physical activity enjoyment. If children are enjoying being active in your After School Program, they are more apt to be open to sharing that positive experience in the home.

September is Family Health and Fitness month. In recognition of this observance we are offering you a FREE Family Fitness Calendar that you can share with your students that they can take home. Every day includes a simple activity that kids can do alone, with their siblings and or parents.

As a company, we recognize the importance of extending children’s positive experience of being active into the home. If you don’t have “buy in” from the parents, then the likelihood of children sustaining physical activity is reduced. That’s why we include Fitivities®, a Family Engagement Resource in our popular After School Fitness Skillastics® and After School Physical Activity Packages. Fitivities® is a twist on Skillastics® and is used as a “share at home” activity for those children who may display positive character traits during physical activity.

Recently an After School Instructor told us about a young girl who was very resistant to physical activity. She never participated. One day they introduced Skillastics® and this girl was intrigued with the design, so she reluctantly decided to participate. After the activity this girl came up to the instructor and told him how much fun she had, and from then on participated every day! If you would like to see results like this, we have a special offer for you that is only available in September. Order any Skillastics® After School Package that includes Fitivities® and receive 10% off your order. CLICK HERE to place your order today using Code: as919 or call (951) 279-3476 to place your order over the phone. We accept purchase orders.

Enjoy the FREE Family Fitness Calendar.

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