Category Archives for The Skillastics Blog

Fun Ways To Keep Kids Active in Your Boys and Girls Club

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

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:

  1. Personal Interests: Interest in a particular object, action, or theme. For example, sports teams, dolls, movie or television characters, comics, crafting, animals, etc.
  2. 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:

  • Tennis
  • Badminton
  • Martial Arts
  • Track Sports
  • Golf
  • Skiing (Cross-country or Downhill)
  • Gymnastics
  • Cycling

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
  • Kickboxing
  • Martial Arts
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Mindfulness
  • Dancing

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 large group physical activity resource. Skillastics® makes it easy to organize, motivate, and engage students to move, learn, and love it. Skillastics® is an innovative technique of play designed around an oversize mat where up to 100 children can play at one time. There are 13 different Skillastics® Activity Kit themes, ranging from general fitness, sport skill development, character enhancement, and academic integration, including STEM and nutrition. The newest layer of Skillastics® resources includes 30-Day Virtual Physical Activity programs, including Fitness, Martial Arts, and Yoga.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

5 Fun Fitness Tips for Your YMCA Program

It’s no easy task to engage children and teens in an active lifestyle. In recent years, as toddlers clutch tablets and keep their eyes glued to screens constantly, there has been a sharp uptick in incidences of childhood obesity. Young people desperately need exercise and healthy eating habits to achieve an overall sense of well-being and avoid severe health issues in their adulthood. After school activities or programs at the local YMCA can encourage kids to find the fun in fitness and healthy lifestyle habits.

How “The Y” Has Helped Families for Over 175 Years

The Young Men’s Christian Association, better known as the YMCA or “The Y,” was founded in 1844 on the principles of developing and maintaining a healthy body, mind, and spirit. The YMCA has served over 45 million people in the last 176 years, and there are active programs in over 120 countries worldwide. You’ll likely find that your local YMCA offers a variety of programs for young kids and teens that emphasize the importance of improving several aspects of a healthy lifestyle, including:

  • Physical fitness
  • Art and creativity
  • Humanities
  • Social skills
  • Sexual health and education
  • Healthy diet choices

For nearly two hundred years, the YMCA has helped families across the world encourage a healthy, active lifestyle and mindset in their children. With fun, engaging programming, kids can feel empowered to take control of their body’s health.

5 Fun Fitness Tips for Your YMCA Program

Building healthy habits start in early childhood. Exercise is essential to the healthy development of children’s bodies and minds. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that children and adolescents receive one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise daily. One fantastic resource for incorporating fitness into children’s lives is through fun programs at a nearby YMCA location.

Integrate fun exercises and fitness activities into your YMCA programming, so children start to associate enjoyment with movement. Establishing health-conscious attitudes early on will (hopefully) lead to a lifetime of love for physical activity.

1. Set Goals

Setting specific goals for physical fitness helps kids to stay focused during different YMCA programs. Work with your program participants to set realistic, flexible, and achievable goals. When participants reach their goals, they’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that inspires them to continue setting personal fitness goals outside of your program. Remember to celebrate the small wins and encourage each child as they continue to improve their physical fitness.

2. Go for Group Activities

Children learn a lot from their peers as their brains and bodies develop. Solitary exercise is still vital to a person’s overall well-being. However, group activities allow children to receive external affirmation and motivation. Group activities push your program participants to reach their greatest potential.

Utilize group activity kits for your YMCA program, which teaches kids about the importance of an active lifestyle and healthy eating habits, all in a fun and inspiring manner. A wide array of activity kits are available that focus on educating children about sports, nutrition, STEM, language, social skill, and self-improvement. Kids gain a lot of inspiration from each other when playing and exercising in groups. It’s a fantastic way to sharpen children’s social skills while strengthening their physical fitness as well.

3. Instill a Love for Sports

Something we know to be universally true is that people love sports. On every continent, you’ll find sprawling sports stadiums packed with fans on any given weekend. Every two years, the world stops to watch the best athletes compete in the summer and winter Olympic games. There are teams in almost every major U.S. city dedicated to playing baseball, football, hockey, basketball, and more.

These world-famous athletes didn’t pick up a ball later on in life and simply walk onto the field with immense skills. Their love for sports started from a young age, and they were encouraged to continue working on their skills throughout adolescence. The perfect place to start instilling a passion for sports early on is at the YMCA.

Encourage your program participants to take part in a variety of different sports to find one they love. The YMCA offers an excellent opportunity for kids to try out activities they might not otherwise have access to at home. If you notice a child taking particular interest in a specific sport, you can encourage them to seek out more serious teams in the area for them to join.

4. Make Time for Mindfulness

Healthy lifestyles hinge on much more than just exercise and nutrition. The YMCA was founded on the premise that people should better their bodies and their minds together. There’s a significant correlation between adequate physical fitness and improved mental health, so consider incorporating mindful exercises into your program. There are a variety of exercises you can utilize to motivate your participants to engage in mindfulness, including:

  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Pilates
  • Meditation
  • Breathing exercises

5. Turn Playtime Into Exercise

It can be challenging to get kids involved in activities that are apparent modes of exercise. Things like running and lifting weights can seem unappealing to young people. Luckily, you can easily integrate exercise into your YMCA program without the participants even realizing it. No, this is not a trick; it’s simply the truth. There are tons of fun ways to turn playtime into an opportunity for physical fitness. Children won’t even notice that they’re burning off calories and strengthening their bodies because the following activities are so fun and engaging:

  • Jump-rope or double dutch
  • Playing tag
  • Capture the flag
  • Juggling
  • Musical chairs
  • Dancing
  • Simon Says

In the age of technology, some children might not even know these games exist. Your YMCA program is an excellent opportunity to teach kids classic games that involve running, jumping, and increasing their heart rates.

Conclusion

Exercise is essential in improving children’s physical and mental well-being. Participating in fitness activities and programs at places like the YMCA helps children develop a wide range of useful skills that last a lifetime. These programs provide children with a safe place to improve their social skills, motor skills, and lifestyle habits. Shop for new and exciting fitness activities to implement into your YMCA programming regularly so children can learn just how fun (and important) daily exercise is for their bodies and minds.

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 large group physical activity resource. Skillastics® makes it easy to organize, motivate, and engage students to move, learn, and love it. Skillastics® is an innovative technique of play designed around an oversize mat where up to 100 children can play at one time. There are 13 different Skillastics® Activity Kit themes, ranging from general fitness, sport skill development, character enhancement, and academic integration, including STEM and nutrition. The newest layer of Skillastics® resources includes 30-Day Virtual Physical Activity programs, including Fitness, Martial Arts, and Yoga.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

Five Key Reasons Why Continuing Virtual Physical Activity Learning On-Site Is So Important

Everyone looks forward to the day when students can go back to school full-time. Parents, teachers, and students alike will be elated to return to normalcy!

Still, there are benefits to virtual learning that we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss. Even though we are excited for in-person learning and after school programs again, it shouldn’t mean that all virtual learning must disappear.

Here are five key reasons why it’s vital to keep virtual learning as part of After School Programs for Physical Activity:

1. An Affordable Long-Term Option

Budgets for after school programs may not always have room for a one-time specialist to work with students, and they may not have the ability to reliably re-hire someone each year. Worse, these budgets are often the first on the chopping block for cutbacks. By contrast, the Skillastics Virtual Physical Activity Programs are a fraction of the cost and can be used for years to come.

2. A Safe Option for Uncertain Times

Unfortunately, it’s become more apparent that the concerns of COVID-19 will continue to be around for some time; we will have to account for safeguards long-term. Children must maintain social distancing on-site. The flexibility of a virtual program allows creative uses so that programs can be used by home learners or onsite. For example, students can easily spread out in a gym and conduct physical activities led by the Skillastics Virtual Physical Activity experts from a shared screen or projection against a wall.

3. Better Quality Instruction

Maintaining a virtual physical activity program provides a connection to high-quality resources. Rather than substitute staff or teachers struggling to overcome an online learning curve, students receive proper, expert instruction when the regular instructor or format is not available. Rather than figuring out a new activity for students to learn, readily available on-demand lessons offer a wide variety of activities. A virtual physical activity program can be more robust and better quality than temporary or fill-in resources, whether conducted at home or on-site learning.

4. Conduit to Group Activities

Students without exposure to sports may never learn the rules of the games, leaving them behind when it comes to participating in group activities. Virtual learning allows children to bridge any learning gaps and creates a perfect segue into group activities. Independently, a student can learn all the fundamentals of basketball through Skillastics 30-Day Basketball Program. After students have learned ball-handling, dribbling, shooting, passing, and defense virtually, they will be more confident to participate in basketball games when the time comes.

5. More Than the Garden Variety

A significant advantage of maintaining a virtual physical activity program is the ability to move past the “usual” activities. The variety of Skillastics Virtual Physical Activity Programs exposes students to activities that they may never have thought to try or have access to in their area. This promotes lifelong physical activity options for all children of all abilities.

When On-Line Takes Place On-Site

Providing virtual physical activity programming on-site improves the lives of your staff, students, and anyone who manages programs. Email us today to discover how on-site virtual physical activity increases student participation and takes the worry away about engaging children.

Call (888) 842-7746 or email info@skillastics.com now – www.skillastics.com

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 large group physical activity resource. Skillastics® makes it easy to organize, motivate, and engage students to move, learn, and love it. Skillastics® is an innovative technique of play designed around an oversize mat where up to 100 children can play at one time. There are 13 different Skillastics® Activity Kit themes, ranging from general fitness, sport skill development, character enhancement, and academic integration, including STEM and nutrition. The newest layer of Skillastics® resources includes 30-Day Virtual Physical Activity programs, including Fitness, Martial Arts, and Yoga.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

5 Fitness Ideas for After School Programs

Keep Kids Moving In-Person and Virtually

These days, the challenges of encouraging children to incorporate exercise into their daily lives are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Different states are at various stages of reopening, with some schools and afterschool programs remaining fully online and a few offering in-person activities.

After school programs offer children a way to connect with peers and mentors and receive adequate daily exercise, as recommended by the U.S. government. To keep kids moving while the rest of their environment is shutting down, incorporate unique, playful activities into your after school program.

The Virtual Challenge

During the current pandemic situation, many schools have opted to take classes online to keep kids safe. After school programs are doing the same, and with that comes a virtual challenge. Video conferencing with one person is often tricky. Still, with an entire classroom of children, between keeping them orderly and offering an engaging activity lesson, there are bound to be some difficulties.

Choose exercises and activities that are ideal for small spaces, transfer easily back to in-person after school programs, and allow kids to express themselves. Then, once you’re back at your usual location, you can keep incorporating the same fun activities.

The Overall Challenge

Getting and keeping kids involved in physical fitness is challenging at any time, not just while programs must be offered virtually. In modern times, mass amounts of children face an imminent threat from multiple life-threatening illnesses and conditions without adequate exercise, including the following, among many more:

  • Childhood obesity
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Other conditions including hypoglycemia, kidney disease, cataracts, and possible stroke

It’s alarming to learn that only thirteen states in the U.S. require some portion of time for recess daily. Even more worrisome, only five states require students to attend weekly physical education classes. It’s clear that children are at an increased risk of developing serious health problems without fitness, and sometimes, an after school program is all the exercise they get. That’s why it’s essential to incorporate fun, easy to follow fitness activities into your after school program and encourage children to enjoy fitness in their everyday lives.

5 Fun Fitness Ideas for After School Programs

When you offer activities in your after school program that engage children while incorporating fitness, you instill a love for exercise that lasts for years to come. Creating exciting, enjoyable fitness programming for your students makes exercising feel less like a chore or homework. Here are five great fitness ideas for your after school program:

1. Yoga

Yoga is a great fitness activity that strengthens both the body and mind. It uses breathing techniques, changing poses, core strength, and mindfulness. You can use yoga as an after school fitness activity, both in-person and online. There are various yoga styles, like Vinyasa or Bikram yoga, so you’ll always have a new pose to teach, specific to a particular type.

The Benefits:

Yoga has become increasingly popular in recent years among all age groups and abilities. It’s simple, easy to understand, and requires very little equipment. Although it is less vigorous than, say, running sprints, yoga is a fantastic fitness exercise because it improves core strength and increases mental fortitude.

2. Dancing

If you’re struggling to find a fun fitness activity that applies both virtually and physically, consider dancing as a care-free, cardiovascular fitness alternative. It’s an ideal activity for enclosed spaces, so it’s perfect for virtual after school programs.

The Benefits:

Not only is dancing an excellent way to break up the monotony of a virtual after school program, but it also gets heart rates up and releases endorphins that improve overall well-being.

3. Juggling With Activity Scarves

When you envision a juggler, you probably picture a red-nosed clown, perched atop a unicycle, flipping multiple bowling pins or other unusual objects through the air. Juggling does not need to be so complicated. In fact, learning to juggle with activity scarves is an easy skill for students to pick up.

One great feature of activity scarves is that they’re precisely that: scarves. There’s no need to worry about a child breaking anything while practicing juggling at home or during a virtual program. Juggling gets kids’ bodies and brains moving. There are numerous physical benefits to gaining juggling skills, plus, it’s just a ton of fun for everyone.

The Benefits:

Kids can use activity scarves to learn juggling and improve several critical things, including:

  • Motor skills
  • Dexterity
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Reaction time

4. Virtually Physical Activity Programs

The transition to virtual classes and after school activities is a challenge; Physical education teachers fear that the increased screentime could significantly impact their students’ health. Contrary to what many think, more time behind the screen doesn’t mean kids have to stop moving. Use a 30-day virtual physical activity program to get your students off their feet and enjoying games and exercise again. They’ll be grateful for some time to let loose and forget about today’s troubles.

The Benefits:

Using a virtual physical activity program daily instills the value of daily exercise into children. This program creates consistency in kids’ routines while they’re stuck at home. By the time they’re back at school, they’ll be ready and excited to incorporate exercise into their regular routine.

5. Workout Wheels

One unique way to keep kids engaged and entertained while still providing physical activity is using workout wheels. Use a typical spinning wheel filled with fitness activities and stretches. Let your after school program participants spin it and see what exercise they get. Some examples of exercises to include on your wheel are:

  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Star jumps
  • Mountain climbers
  • Funny dances

If you’re a tech-savvy teacher, create a workout wheel for your program participants to interact with virtually, or use the one found in this 30-day virtual program.

The Benefits:

Workout wheels are a fantastic fitness idea because they are engaging both in-person and virtually. The functionality of the wheel allows for randomization, which keeps kids enticed and on their toes. This activity offers all the benefits of each aerobic exercise on the wheel in one!

Wrapping Up

It’s essential that children participate in at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. However, in some states, there isn’t even a requirement for physical education! During this pandemic, after school educators have to work particularly hard to incorporate engaging activities and exercises into their programming.

Use our list of five fun ideas for after school program activities, or contact us for other virtual resources for educators. Give your students a sense of normalcy and instill a lifelong love for physical fitness along the way.

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 large group physical activity resource. Skillastics® makes it easy to organize, motivate, and engage students to move, learn, and love it. Skillastics® is an innovative technique of play designed around an oversize mat where up to 100 children can play at one time. There are 13 different Skillastics® Activity Kit themes, ranging from general fitness, sport skill development, character enhancement, and academic integration, including STEM and nutrition. The newest layer of Skillastics® resources includes 30-Day Virtual Physical Activity programs, including Fitness, Martial Arts, and Yoga.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

 

Three Resources To Help With Physical Activity Amidst COVID-19

Before COVID-19 hit the United States, children had opportunities built into their school day to receive plenty of movement. Recess, physical education classes, after school physical activity programs, or athletic teams gave children many ways to stay active throughout their day. Now, with the challenges posed during the pandemic, it takes more effort by both instructors and family members to keep children healthy and involved in physical fitness.

Fitivities

Families can fit in fitness with Fitivities. Ideal for bigger groups or families, Fitivities are designed to get the whole crew away from screens and moving their bodies. The Fitivities board is entirely portable, making it easy to transport play from inside to outdoors. During good weather, families can turn an outing to the park into a real chance for physical activity. Fitivities can even be used right in your own backyard to provide exercise for your children during shutdowns. During bad weather, easily move the game indoors for continued play. The game pieces are robust and durable, readily withstanding playtime in a wide variety of places.

It is crucial for parents to engage in movement and activities with their children. When a child sees their parents enjoying physical activity, they are more likely to develop similar habits. When children think that being active is a chore or inconvenience, they are likely to resist or feel reluctant to participate. Fitivities offer opportunities to demonstrate that movement can be good for you and fun. The game includes plenty of exciting activities to keep your kids engaged and active without even realizing that it is exercise. Fitivities gives parents a chance to act as wellness role models by being physically active and showing that getting fit can be fun.

Virtual Physical Activity Programming

Since most of the nation is currently operating virtually, it’s vital to find ways to turn screen time into movement time too. The amount of screen time children will be required to fulfill during remote learning means an increase in the sedentary lifestyles most parents pushed against before COVID. Many parents often monitor or minimize the amount of time a child spends behind the television or computer. However, the current circumstances make circumventing screentime exceptionally difficult.

Even though virtual screen time is increasing, that doesn’t mean children must continuously be sitting around. There are resources available to develop programs that encourage children to move, even if they are online. Virtual Physical Activity Programming is available to provide full-body movement and engaging activities through a screen. This unique 30-day virtual program was designed specifically for remote delivery, meaning children can build useful, healthy skills even as they learn from home.

The flexibility of the program ensures that a movement schedule can take root in your child’s routine. The 30 days of activities can be dispersed 30 days in a row or spread out over a longer time. Lessons are easily incorporated into instruction, so children who learn remotely will be in the habit of including physical activity into their day by the time they return to school again. Kids will expect to move as part of their learning, instilling a natural inclination to incorporate movement into their daily lives into the future.

From yoga to martial arts, Virtual Physical Activity Programming offers children the opportunity to discover new interests during sessions that they may have never found or been provided under other circumstances. Children will gain exposure to expert instruction in physical activity experiences in the home, sparking new interests, or providing a foundation for a future passion. Instead of turning into sedentary learners, Virtual Physical Activity Programming has the potential to inspire lifelong movement.

SHAPE America

Teachers today are tasked with transforming in-person instruction into something that can transfer quickly to online learning. For physical education instructors, this is a challenge to the very structure of their curriculum. The nature of physical education in classes or after school programs relates entirely to out-of-the-seat movement; instructors must now translate their same real-time ideas to virtual learning.

At SHAPE America, resources for physical education instructors exist in plenty to help them transition to virtual learning. This fantastic organization has a collection of ideas and methods to support physical education instructors transition to teaching through a screen. SHAPE America helps physical education program developers generate interactive virtual physical activity lessons without losing rigor or purpose.

The site offers instructors helpful tips and well thought out tasks to develop materials for children to use at home as instruction shifts to online platforms. SHAPE America updates their content regularly, and instructors will find new ideas to fill their bag of tricks quickly. Rather than reinvent the wheel or spend valuable planning time figuring out ways to use an online platform, SHAPE America streamlines the lesson planning so that instructors can maximize their efforts instead of struggling against the process.

Not a New Normal

By trade, educators are resourceful. They are some of the most flexible and adaptable professionals. Even in a pandemic, there are resources available to support teachers so that children can learn and be healthy, even at home.

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 large group physical activity resource. Skillastics® makes it easy to organize, motivate, and engage students to move, learn, and love it. Skillastics® is an innovative technique of play designed around an oversize mat where up to 100 children can play at one time. There are 13 different Skillastics® Activity Kit themes, ranging from general fitness, sport skill development, character enhancement, and academic integration, including STEM and nutrition. The newest layer of Skillastics® resources includes 30-Day Virtual Physical Activity programs, including Fitness, Martial Arts, and Yoga.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

Virtual After School Programs: Keeping Kids Active, Even Online

“I wish things could just go back to normal.”

There’s no doubt that you’ve heard this phrase often muttered in the last few months; perhaps even from your own mouth, your partner’s, or your child’s.

It’s true that Americans have had to adapt to a “new normal” during the Coronavirus pandemic. Businesses, workplaces, and schools are implementing stringent safety protocols and virtual tools so people can continue to work and learn during this challenging time.

Just like other entities, after school programs are innovating creative alternatives for after school enrichment. Kids are likely to be negatively affected by the loss of in-person interaction with peers and teachers or after school program leaders. Now, more than ever, educators have to plan ahead to seamlessly integrate virtual resources into afterschool programming to keep kids active and healthy, both physically and mentally.

Why Are After School Programs So Important?

Families in communities across the country rely on the afterschool industry as an essential resource for childcare and education. After school programs help keep kids safe, active, and involved with both physical and mental benefits.

Benefits of After School Programs

Children who participate in After School programs receive innumerable benefits, both physically and mentally. After school activities are an excellent way for kids to learn about teamwork, friendship, and the importance of physical fitness.

Physical Health

Many Out-of-School programs incorporate physical fitness into their daily curriculum. Whether it’s free time outdoors or a specially designed activity or game for kids, there is a vast array of improvements made on enhancing children’s health and wellness through daily physical exercise. This includes:

  • Improved endurance and flexibility
  • Improved motor skills
  • Improved hand-eye coordination and reaction time
  • Improved dexterity
  • Reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, childhood obesity, and other life-threatening illnesses

Mental Health

On top of the improvements to their physical well-being, children also gain an impressive amount of mental health benefits from exercise in after school programs. Exercise-oriented After School programs improve children’s mental health by:

  • Promoting healthy habits
  • Increasing communication and teamwork skills
  • Creating a consistent routine
  • Building confidence
  • Improving social and emotional skills

These days, especially being stuck at home for extended periods of time, children and teens are at incredibly high risk for mental health issues like depression and anxiety. After School programs that emphasize physical activity help reduce the prevalence of physical and mental illnesses in kids.

Incorporating Virtual Learning Into Your After School Program

With the pandemic impacting how schools and programs operate, a lot of curriculum is moving online. While the quick adoption of new technology is impressive, there’s a greater risk for kids to lose out on the benefits of physical activity during virtual learning.

It can be challenging to envision how kids can actually incorporate exercise into virtual learning environments, but there are many ways to encourage at-home physical fitness for children in After School programs.

1. Take Regular Movement Breaks

One of the most significant losses for After School Instructors is the absence of wide open spaces for children to move in. Unfortunately, kids probably have limited mobility within the confines of their home, so it’s essential to incorporate regular movement breaks into programs.

Jumping jacks, running in place, push ups, or other exercises that only involve a limited amount of space are easy to implement between other online games and activities. Plus, having kids get up and away from the computer for a little bit can reduce the negative health impacts of too much screen time.

2. Implement New Activities

It’s troubling to think about all of the things kids are losing out on without in-person programs. Children and teens rely on these programs to see friends, receive mentorship, and have structured time for exercise.

With many programs quickly going virtual, After School Programmers might think they have to cut out regular After School activities. However, there are many engaging After School programs and lessons available to incorporate into the online classroom.

Virtual physical activity programs are an easy way for After School Instructors to implement fitness into an online setting. The virtual activity should seamlessly translate between instructor and student and provide a variety of fun, holistic physical activity lessons. When looking for a new activity or game for your program, look for an online program that is:

  • Easy to install (“Click N’ Play” model)
  • Easy to understand and explain
  • Instructor-led with opportunities for student-centered learning
  • Easily incorporated into every day curriculum
  • Allows for continuous learning even after the online session has ended

3. Encourage Individual Outdoor Play

The CDC’s guidelines recommend that children ages 6 to 17 incorporate at least one hour of physical activity into their daily schedule, but that’s difficult to achieve when kids are stuck in quarantine.

It’s vital that instructors and parents work together to encourage individual outdoor activities for students, while still following social distancing recommendations. When kids lose out on opportunities for physical fitness, they are at a higher risk for serious and debilitating diseases later on in life like diabetes and heart issues.

Students might be tempted to stay inside and play video games or go on social media all day. These behaviors lead to childhood obesity, depression, and other health issues. Parents have a responsibility to ensure that children receive adequate daily exercise when after school programs are virtual.

Challenges of Virtual After School Programs

Teachers can attest, it is not easy to keep a large group of children under control. Now, more parents are experiencing the difficulties of childhood education within their own homes. Implementings virtual learning into an after school program is not going to go without its own set of challenges for educators and parents.

Coordinating any number of young kids is difficult. Add a little technology into the mix and there is sure to be an adjustment period for instructors and students. Some challenges instructors might experience include:

  • Technical difficulties
  • Slow loading times or connectivity
  • Students lacking adequate technology
  • Unruly students
  • Interruptions in their house or a students
  • A lack of engagement or attention from students

Before starting a new virtual after school program, familiarize yourself with the technology and brainstorm activities to keep kids engaged and moving. Children will be much more likely to participate in a program that runs smoothly because that’s way more fun than watching a teacher struggle for ten minutes before even starting an activity.Encouraging children to get out and exercise during the Covid-19 pandemic can be a challenge. Instructors of after school programs are implementing online activities into their virtual learning curriculum. There are tons of opportunities to get creative with your online offerings for after school activity participants. Use virtual learning tools to keep kids engaged and active until we can eventually go back to “normal.”

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 large group physical activity resource. Skillastics® makes it easy to organize, motivate, and engage students to move, learn, and love it. Skillastics® is an innovative technique of play designed around an oversize mat where up to 100 children can play at one time. There are 13 different Skillastics® Activity Kit themes, ranging from general fitness, sport skill development, character enhancement, and academic integration, including STEM and nutrition. The newest layer of Skillastics® resources includes 30-Day Virtual Physical Activity programs, including Fitness, Martial Arts, and Yoga.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

Three Physical Activity Lessons You Can Run Virtually

Many people believe that remote learning encourages a sedentary lifestyle, but that isn’t always the case. Remote learning can include physical activity programs that do more than just instruct on a screen, but actively encourage children to get moving.

There are ways to include virtual physical activity programs in online learning to make it possible for movement to occur at home. A well-rounded remote learning environment can and should consist of programs that get children active. Despite the prolonged screen time, it’s very realistic to emerge from this home learning experience even healthier by delivering physical activity opportunities through a screen.

Here are three of the top virtual physical activity programs that will keep students motivated to learn and instill a love for movement into their lives:

1. 30-Day Virtual Physical Activity Programs

  • Easy to Launch: The variety of Virtual Physical Activity Programs makes it easy for teachers to share their content and create an engaging virtual experience for children. Every program is operated as a “Click N’ Play” approach, launching student-centered activities that include physical activity, martial arts, yoga, Pilates, early childhood physical activity, move and groove, mindfulness, and more.
  • Broad Reach: Even parents and other family members can participate, further disengaging from the screen and including everyone in better health through movement. It’s much easier for children to be active and form healthy habits when they feel support from the whole family. When parents act as role models for getting physically active, it paves the way for the children to follow suit.
  • Seamless Implementation: The length of time that children sit while participating in virtual learning may impact their health and well-being, so it is crucial for them to take regular movement breaks. However, it may be challenging for children to create their own activities or find ways to add physical fitness to their schedule. The Virtual Physical Activity Program seamlessly weaves a daily itinerary of movement into children’s lives, allowing time for e-learning and physical activity.

2. Speed Stacks – Physical Distancing Curriculum

  • Personally Packaged: The Speed Stacks program offers Personal PE Kits designed to individualize the experience for students at home. Families won’t have to scramble to piece together materials or scrounge for makeshift items to make the program work at home. Multipurpose equipment provides many different uses, demonstrating that it doesn’t require a full gym to get and stay healthy.
  • Built for Distance: Speed Stacks @ Home Videos provide instruction to fit a variety of e-learning, from fully remote to hybrid. As a teacher resource or in-home program, at-home videos are a tool that allows teachers to modify the activities to fit the circumstances easily. No matter the type of e-learning, the Speed Stacks program can keep children moving while maintaining distance.

3. Action for Healthy Kids

  • Parent Leaders: Teachers know that the number one influence on children is not their instruction but the parents. Involved parents produce children that will be more engaged, better prepared, and more likely to succeed in educational activities. Action for Healthy Kids gives parents a platform to be the leaders for their children.
  • Agents for Change: When children see their parents motivated to move and participate in physical activity, they are also inspired to move and be physical. Action for Healthy Kids provides resources so that families can adopt healthier lifestyles at home. Knowledge is power, and Action for Healthy Kids gives parents the ability to create healthy activities, providing advantages for their children academically and physically.

Setting Realistic Expectations for Virtual Learning

The ability to learn at home is a real opportunity and great use of technology. We can safely continue to educate children while keeping them healthy. Just like at school, it’s essential to maintain a full, robust learning environment even though the instruction comes through a computer screen.

Including movement breaks, physical activity programs, and parent or family participation, takes e-learning from a sedentary, lonely pursuit into a much richer and fuller experience. This is a unique time, and learning from home allows for unique opportunities. Rather than lament the losses, educators can get excited at the advantages of this prolonged break from the normal routine of school.

Teachers can adapt and create something special during this time. Schools can use this time to be about more than just plugging children into a computer. The at-home physical education lessons available from any of these programs will turn the static and sedentary quality of virtual learning into anything but sitting still. Incorporating these programs throughout the disciplines can add more layers to lessons. Filtering physical activity throughout the school day means children will learn better.

When virtual schooling includes physical education programs, then the full range of learning can really occur in the home. It’s not enough just to keep children up to speed on their knowledge, because a well-rounded lifestyle means attending to both the body and mind. Adding in these virtual learning physical activity programs means children receive a holistic educational experience despite additional screen time.

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site & virtual physical activity resource. Skillastics® makes it easy to organize, motivate, and engage students to move, learn, and love it. Skillastics® is an innovative technique of play designed around an oversize mat where up to 100 children can play at one time. There are 13 different Skillastics® Activity Kit themes, ranging from general fitness, sport skill development, character enhancement, and academic integration, including STEM and nutrition. The newest layer of Skillastics® resources includes 30-Day Virtual Physical Activity programs, including Fitness, Martial Arts, and Yoga.

Over 10 million students enjoy Skillastics® in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide. For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

 

How Budget Cuts Have Created a Health Epidemic in Students

It’s no big secret that physical fitness is essential to living a long and healthy life, yet Physical Education is only mandatory in 8 of the 50 states. In the recent decade, the obesity epidemic in America has been at the forefront of health crises. It leads many to wonder, why are budget cuts toward Physical Education in schools so frequent?

The sad reality is that many K-12 school districts throughout the U.S. rely on high test scores to secure funding. Budgets are focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, while “non-essential” programs like art, music, and physical education are overlooked.

Underfunding, or in some cases total defunding of these programs, is incredibly detrimental to developing children’s health and well-being. Budget reductions to physical education and after school programs have contributed significantly to creating a health epidemic in students across the country.

Daily exercise is crucial to the positive development of children’s bodies and minds. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that children ages 5-17 get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily.

Sometimes, Physical Education class is the only way for children with busy parents to receive structured time for physical activity. Participation in after school sports or travel sports programs is a privilege not afforded to many. When kids lose out on the opportunity for exercise because of budget issues, they are affected in a variety of ways, both physically and mentally.

The problems that come with a lack of adequate exercise lead to irreversible mental and physical health issues, like cardiovascular (heart) disease, diabetes, depression, and other severe ailments that contribute to the ongoing health epidemic faced by young Americans every day.

How Budget Cuts Created a Health Epidemic in Students

Budget cuts are a stepping stone to a major health epidemic in American students. When government agencies slash physical education budgets, they think they’re saving themselves money. While this may be true in the short term, over time, it will wind up being much more costly than expected.

Childhood obesity is steadily on the rise annually, while heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States for men and women of all ethnicities. Every 37 seconds, someone in the United States dies of cardiovascular disease. Without access to physical activity in schools, that person could be any of these underserved children in the future.

Kids need daily exercise, or else they are at a higher risk of serious diseases. Additionally, a lack of physical activity can impact mental health and performance in school.

Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is steadily on the rise annually. According to the CDC, the number of obese young people in the United States has more than tripled since the 1980s. The CDC’s data from 2015-2016 found that 1 in 5 children aged 6 to 19 is obese. So what exactly are budget cuts saving government agencies? In essence, nothing.

Each year in the United States, $147 billion is spent on obesity-related healthcare costs. So while the impacts of physical education budget cuts might not be immediately apparent, it can lead to incredibly costly expenditures for public and private medical facilities in the long run. Childhood obesity has been attributed to several other long-term complications like:

  • High cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Impaired glucose tolerances or insulin resistance
  • Sleep apnea
  • Asthma
  • Joint and musculoskeletal problems
  • Liver disease
  • Acid reflux
  • Gallbladder issues
  • Depression and other mental health issues
  • Type 2 diabetes

By cutting off funding for programs that promote a healthy lifestyle, children are exponentially more likely to be at risk for childhood obesity and obesity-related illnesses.

Type 2 Diabetes

Because of the obesity epidemic, rates of Type 2 diabetes are rising at an alarmingly fast in children. Diabetes can lead to a plethora of severe health issues and, ultimately, death. Some of the complications and ailments brought on by Type 2 diabetes include:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Cataracts
  • Kidney failure
  • Nerve damage leading to amputation
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Clogged veins and arteries
  • High cholesterol
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack

While diabetes is a manageable disease, there is still no guarantee of the risks and outcomes presented later.

Mental Health

The second leading cause of death in young people ages 10 to 24 is suicide. Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are an increasingly concerning part of the health epidemic faced by America’s children today.

Boston Children’s Hospital estimates that nearly one of every eight children between the ages of 6 and 12 has suicidal thoughts. The fact that exercise can minimize the risks of depression and suicide in children and young adults is widely accepted. During physical exertion, our brains let out endorphins, which release the energy to keep us feeling good. Without regular exercise, children’s bodies and minds can suffer severely.

Depression also arises prominently in obese or overweight children, especially if they are teased or bullied. This can result in slipping grades and anger issues, furthering the cycle of depression.

What Kids Are Really Losing Out On

When kids don’t receive the recommended amount of daily exercise, their overall physical health and well-being are negatively impacted. Regular exercise promotes healthy lifestyle habits that continue into adulthood.

School health programs teach kids the value of nutrition and taking care of your body. Physical Education promotes increased endurance and flexibility, fine-tuned motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and strengthens muscles and bones. It also improves communication, teamwork, and critical thinking skills that are reflected in the classroom.

Lack of physical fitness leads to the ailments contributing to the ongoing health epidemic in our country. Childhood obesity leads to further health problems down the road and puts children at a higher risk of depression and suicide.

By cutting off funding to Physical Education programs in the United States, federal and state government agencies are directly contributing to the ongoing health epidemic in the country. Pennies can be pinched now, but lives can’t be saved later. Physical health should be prioritized in school systems before this epidemic becomes irreversible.

About The Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 large group physical activity resource. Skillastics® makes it easy to organize, motivate, and engage students to move, learn, and love it. Skillastics® is an innovative technique of play designed around an oversize mat where up to 100 children can play at one time. There are 13 different Skillastics® Activity Kit themes, ranging from general fitness, sport skill development, character enhancement, and academic integration, including STEM and nutrition.

The newest layer of Skillastics® resources includes 30-Day Virtual Physical Activity programs, including Fitness, Martial Arts, and Yoga.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide. For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

10 Reasons Why Kids Need Exercise in Their After School Program

Exercise and fitness are crucial to the physical well-being of kids and adults alike. However, when a child does not have adequate physical activity incorporated into their daily routine, there can be dire short and long-term consequences. Ensuring that students remain active throughout their childhood can help create long lasting healthy habits that continue well into adulthood.
After school programs are a fantastic way for a child to make friends, learn, and spend time engaged in physical activity. After school programs that provide daily exercise can foster immense growth for the children that attend.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition states that children between the ages of 6 and 17 should participate in 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA)  a day. However, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that only 1 in every 3 children in America participates in physical activity every day. With childhood obesity on the rise, after school programs play a critical role in providing children with the time and safe space to exercise and practice healthy habits.

10 Benefits of Incorporating Exercise Into After School Programs

Improves Physical Well-Being

  • First and foremost, participation in physical activity will always enhance the physical well-being of a child. Daily exercise improves physical well-being because it:
  • Strengthens muscles and bones
  • Reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other life-threatening diseases
  • Improves endurance and flexibility
  • Improves motor skills, hand-eye-coordination, dexterity, and reaction time

Improves Mental Health and Well-Being

Besides physical well-being, after school exercise will also boost mental well-being in children. Recent studies have shown a strong correlation between depression in kids and adolescents and lack of physical activity. When we exercise, our brains let out powerful endorphins that release the positive energy that keeps us feeling good. Regular physical activity keeps kids’ bodies and minds from becoming sluggish and unproductive.

Creates Consistency in Routine

After school programs are a fantastic way to promote time management skills and consistent routines in children. If exercise is incorporated into the program’s curriculum every single day after school, children will recognize that physical activity needs to happen every day, too, just like brushing your teeth, eating, or catching the bus.

Promotes New and Healthy Habits

The benefit of exercise at an after school program is the wide variety of games, sports, and other physical activities available to experience. There are many resources available for after school programs to use to promote healthy habits in children. These programs also give kids the chance to try new sports and games, which could lead to further interest in team activities and healthy habits.

Fosters Connection With Other Children

When children attend after school programs that emphasize regular physical activity, it provides the opportunity for them to connect with peers over shared interests. For example, it takes three people to participate in a round of double dutch jumping, enticing the children to connect over that activity which they prefer.

Children Learn New Skills

After school programs allow children to learn new skills through physical activity. Programs are often full of diverse groups of students; some may not have any siblings; some live in apartments and don’t have access to certain recreational activities. Perhaps a little girl without any brothers has never played basketball before. After school programs can utilize sport-specific resources  and activities to promote that interest.

Builds Confidence

Participation in a group setting will undoubtedly boost the confidence of younger children. By promoting activities in after school programs where children can play in teams and use problem-solving skills to communicate with others, children become more self-assured and self-reliant.

Influences Homework and Test Scores

Research at Stanford University has proven that too much home and schoolwork can be detrimental to the overall development of a child. Incorporating after school activities into the daily routine of children can provide a much-needed rest for their growing brains. Unstructured playtime especially can foster creativity and free thinking in a child.

Improves Social and Emotional Skills

While participating in physically challenging activities, kids must work as a team, communicate, and play fair. Repeatedly using these interpersonal skills during after school programs will encourage children to incorporate those social and emotional skills into everyday life at school and home.

Encourages Other Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Building physical activity into the daily routine of a child can foster healthier lifestyle habits down the road. Children who participate in sports and other afterschool activities are more likely to continue to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices into their adult lives. They may avoid junk food, drugs, and alcohol because they understand the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. They may also continue to have a lifelong enjoyment of participating in physical activity and instill that sense of happiness unto their children someday.

The Long-Term Pay Off

Children can suffer both physically and mentally when adults in their life fail to provide opportunities for exercise. However, with the proper training, the staff at an after school program can improve any child’s quality of life. An hour of physical activity each day not only improves children’s physical and mental wellbeing but can improve upon several useful life skills. By promoting a positive physical fitness experience to children in developing stages of their lives, they can begin honing practical social skills. Physical activity in an after school program setting can encourage confidence, communication, teamwork, learning, and improve interpersonal skills. These are lifelong skills that will benefit children long into the future.

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 large group physical activity resource. Skillastics® makes it easy to organize, motivate, and engage students to move, learn, and love it. Skillastics® is an innovative technique of play designed around an oversize mat where up to 100 children can play at one time. There are 13 different Skillastics® Activity Kit themes, ranging from general fitness, sport skill development, character enhancement, and academic integration, including STEM and nutrition. The newest layer of Skillastics® resources includes 30-Day Virtual Physical Activity programs, including Fitness, Martial Arts, and Yoga.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide. For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

Why Children Should Move (Staying Active)

Probably every parent will tell their children at some point to “move it or lose it!” Whether dawdling on the way out the door or just reluctant to give up screen time, it’s an excellent way to get kids to react. However, if we break down this idiom, we must ask, “What is lost if we don’t move?”

Given a choice to move or lose it, we’re saying that unless there is instant action, something will not return to you. As parents, we probably mean this as a loss of privilege (or our patience!), but it can also mean something much more straightforward. Unless you move, there is quite a bit to lose.

Losing It

The body requires activity to thrive. Healthy bodies mean we have the power to do the things we need or want to accomplish. Healthy bodies also mean we have sharp minds, powered by the right balance of nutrients and energy from a healthy body. Keeping strength up has everything to do with getting moving.

When the body is in motion, we are working on conditioning all the systems that keep us healthy. From circulatory and digestive systems to musculoskeletal systems, movement conditions our body to be in peak form. These systems of the body are interconnected so that one works best when the others are also in top condition. Total body health means these systems are all working in harmony and maintaining equilibrium so that the body can perform as it needs to.

The more you keep the body moving and building strength, the more the systems improve and function optimally. As the body gets stronger, even more activity can be sustained, furthering the system’s improvements and functions.

However, if you’re not moving, then you lose it, the strength and conditioning that allow the systems to improve and function at their best. The “it” is your health, so it’s vital to keep moving.

Why Children Must Move

It’s hard to change ingrained habits, so it’s best to start early with a positive attitude toward movement. Habits begun in childhood have a better chance to persist into adulthood. When children are taught skills that help them understand their body and relationship to activity, they are much more likely to be active adults. They will have the knowledge and experience to stay healthy once they are adults and responsible for their own choices.

Another genuine reason children engage in activities that move their bodies is that their physical development depends on their ability to strengthen their muscles. From large and small motor skills to the use of core muscles to sit and work in school, activity keeps children healthy. And healthy children are better able to learn. We know that a mind/body connection exists, and there is a link between cognitive ability and healthy bodies for school-age children.

Not much differently than adults’ bodies, children’s systems also work similarly. The more children exercise, the more their bodies’ systems receive optimal conditioning to perform all the work that kids must do. From schoolwork to playtime, kids are active, and as a matter of fact, we often consider childhood to be one of the most active times in our lives.

Climbing trees, jumping into puddles, running races against anyone willing to go for it, and biking with friends far and wide are mostly childhood pursuits. Once adulthood settles in, and work-life responsibilities take over, the ability to be active declines. The more children feel healthy and able to move, the more inclined they will feel about participating in childhood activities that mostly disappear by the time they enter adulthood.

Finally, when children are moving and staying active, they can prevent disease and problems related to weight. Children who are overweight suffer from a variety of ailments like diabetes or limitations brought by obesity. Also, these problems related to weight are vicious cycles because it’s much harder to move and get active when there is excess weight to carry. Many overweight children may avoid activity because it’s harder or feels embarrassed because they may not be able to move very well.

Putting It All Together

If they aren’t moving, then children have much to lose. Healthy children are those who can play and learn to the best of their capacity. It’s essential to ensure that kids have every opportunity to move and be active so that they can perform best, whether at school or playing with friends. The more children can move and learn ways to stay active, the more they can develop healthy bodies and sharper minds.

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 large group physical activity resource. Skillastics® makes it easy to organize, motivate, and engage students to move, learn, and love it. Skillastics® is an innovative technique of play designed around an oversize mat where up to 100 children can play at one time. There are 13 different Skillastics® Activity Kit themes, ranging from general fitness, sport skill development, character enhancement, and academic integration, including STEM and nutrition. The newest layer of Skillastics® resources includes 30-Day Virtual Physical Activity programs, including Fitness, Martial Arts, and Yoga.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide. For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

1 2 3 5

Virtual Physical Activity - 5 steps on implementing an all-star program

Sign up for our FREE Virtual Physical Activity Training

>