Since 1860, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America has been an essential part of learning and fitness for children throughout the country. The national organization’s mission is to enable young people to reach their potential as responsible, educated, and active adult citizens.
Boys and Girls Clubs provide a safe space for young people to connect and play. The Club Experience is essential in fostering positive ideals in children and teens. Members make plans for the future, learning character-building and leadership skills, and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
The pandemic has posed some difficulties for after school programs like Boys and Girls Clubs as everything from school to extracurriculars is moving online. It’s challenging to find ways to incorporate fun, exciting activities into virtual or hybrid learning environments. Find some fun fitness ideas to keep your program participants active and healthy, both in-person and online.
Keeping Kids Active During COVID-19 and Beyond
During a child’s formative years, learning cannot be limited to classroom settings. As challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic continue to arise, especially in schools and after school programs, educators have to get creative to keep kids engaged in learning and activities. You can use interest-based education or virtual activity programs in your Boys and Girls Club to get participants excited about the activities of the day during the pandemic and beyond.
Interest-based learning includes concepts, skills, and activities that are of interest to each particular student. People learn in a wide variety of ways and have expansive ranges of interests. When your Boys and Girls Club participants aren’t excited about the activities offered, they are less likely to stay actively involved in the program. Use interest-based learning to connect with your kids and keep them moving with activities they actually enjoy.
Types of Interests
There are two types of interests that attract an individual’s attention to a specific activity. These interests are:
- Personal Interests: Interest in a particular object, action, or theme. For example, sports teams, dolls, movie or television characters, comics, crafting, animals, etc.
- Situational Interests: Particular activities or materials that attract the child’s interest, typically in the form of a unique experience or unexpected situation. This is more typical of a group setting like a Boys and Girls Club.
Virtual Activity Programs
Another great way to get children moving while maintaining interest during the pandemic is with virtual physical activity programs. There is an abundance of virtual resources available for physical educators as more and more Boys and Girls Clubs are forced to move their programming online. Boys and Girls Clubs can create virtual club programming that includes games, exercises, or specific sports and activities to interest after school club participants.
4 Fun Activities To Keep Kids Moving in Your Boys and Girls Club
There are tons of fun ways to keep kids entertained, engaged, and active during the pandemic and beyond. Integrate individual sports, activity kits, and online learning programs into your Boys and Girls Club to encourage children’s physical fitness.
1. Individual Sports
While there’s no denying that children love to play team sports with their friends, there are newfound difficulties presented during the pandemic that deter participation in team-based programs. You can implement individual sports into your Boys and Girls Club programming to encourage physical fitness while still maintaining social distancing. Some fantastic and fun examples of individual sports include:
- Martial Arts
- Track Sports
- Skiing (Cross-country or Downhill)
2. Fitness Activity Kits
Another fun way to implement physical fitness activities into your Boys and Girls Club programming is with fitness activity kits. There are various games and kits available to educators that improve a range of skills, both physically and interpersonally.
You can buy fitness activity kits for a specific sport, like volleyball or basketball. Fitness activity kits also engage children in learning about nutrition, language, interpersonal skills, and much more. Activity kits are easy to implement both in-person and virtually, so your program participants can benefit from them in any environment.
3. Boys and Girls Clubs My.Future Program
Industries worldwide continue to struggle to adapt to new and necessary changes as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. After school programs like the Boys and Girls Clubs of America are scrambling to find fun ways to keep kids active while still maintaining social distancing and other safety protocols.
To keep up with all of the drastic changes happening country-wide, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America created a program called My.Future. This program is especially beneficial for school-aged children because it’s an attractive online platform that allows for learning and fun free from the fear of cyber-bullying.
Kids can use the My.Future program to showcase their creativity through the online platform locally or nationally. The platform has functionality for sharing media, so children can continue to socialize safely while away from school. There are tons of video resources available through the program that provide fitness tips or fun follow-along activities for children to partake in at home, too.
4. Virtual Physical Activity Programs
Whether your Boys and Girls Club is going entirely virtual, remaining on-site, or implementing a hybrid-learning experience, you are probably worried about how to keep participants active while still remaining safe. After school programs across the country are all experiencing the same challenges, so program leaders must adapt.
Educators and experts are working together to create straightforward solutions for the new problems posed by the pandemic. Virtual physical activity programs seamlessly integrate into your existing online learning environment, so you can avoid technical difficulties and get your program participants moving again. You can find a wide range of virtual physical activity programs that offer a variety of unique physical education experiences, including programs that focus on:
- General Fitness
- Martial Arts
Virtual physical activity programs are an entertaining way to get children involved in fitness activities. A well-crafted program can teach kids the importance of physical fitness and instill essential skills and values that will benefit their lives into adulthood.
Finding Time To Play During a Pandemic
During these challenging times created by Covid-19, it can become increasingly difficult to discern the best way to maintain participation in your Boys and Girls Club. There are various virtual programs available to keep kids active even if they’re stuck at home. There are also plenty of individual sports to implement into your programming to encourage physical fitness while still social distancing.
Safety is essential, but so is exercise; children need at least sixty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day to stay healthy. As America continues to navigate these trying times, Boys and Girls Clubs must adapt programming to protect participants’ health while still offering fun, beneficial activities.
Understand your club participants’ interests and integrate them into the activities and exercises for the program. Take time to shop for engaging activity kits and online programming. When fitness is made fun and interesting for them, kids will always find time to play, regardless of the world’s state.
About the Author
Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes. The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits. These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.
The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.
Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.