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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is an indisputable fact that technology has weaseled its way into every crevice of life as we know it today. It is not unusual to see a toddler tapping away at a touchscreen as parents try to distract them from behaving poorly.
However, research indicates that exposure to extended screen time can be detrimental to children’s development and reaffirm “bad” or irrational behavior. Kids need proper face to face interaction in their life to develop communication and social skills. Parents should consider limiting screen time and encouraging outdoor exercise to ensure the healthy development of a child.
Too much screen time at an early age impacts various aspects of a child’s health. Language skills and learning development can be impeded, and behavioral, sleep, and physical health issues are abound.
Children under the age of 3 should continuously be exploring and taking in new information from their surroundings. In early childhood development stages, children learn the most by talking with and imitating the adults and other children around them. By spending too much time in front of a television program that their brains can’t quite comprehend yet, toddlers lose out on important steps in their development, so it is best to wait until after the age of 2 to introduce any kind of device with screens to avoid any lasting developmental consequences.
Reciprocal communication and conversation are essential for language development in children. When placed in front of a screen, kids lose out on the interactive day-to-day experiences that help to shape their understanding of language and conversations. It can also impede reading comprehension and writing skills.
Evidence shows that elementary-aged children with greater exposure to screens are more likely to experience learning difficulties. Developmental and behavioral pediatrics expert Dr. Jennifer Cross claims extended screen time exposure can lead to worsening grades in reading and writing subjects and attention deficit issues like ADHD.
Consuming high levels of violent content like movies or video games can create potential behavioral issues in children. Kids who spend too much time on tech devices are often violent, lack social and communicative skills, and act irrationally.
Extended screen time can be extremely detrimental to children’s sleep schedules, so it is best to turn off all devices at least two hours before bedtime. Blue light from screens keeps the brain awake longer, cutting into valuable recharging time. Lack of sleep is attributed to cognitive issues, obesity, depression, social isolation, and other serious problems.
One of the most concerning issues facing young people in America today is childhood obesity. Addiction to technology like mobile devices and video games can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. A lack of structured and unstructured exercise, over-extended screen time allowances, and a lack of motivation for movement are attributed to obesity in the youngest generation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides guidelines on suggested screen time for children of various age groups. Children under two years old should have no screen time at all beyond a friendly FaceTime with family.
Past two years old, parents should co-view content with their children to ensure that the child understands what they see and can implement new social skills into their daily lives. Adolescents can have greater access to devices, but make sure to set limits and implement outdoor activities into daily schedules.
|Age||Suggested Screen Time|
|2-5 years||1 hour of high-quality content to be co-viewed with a parent.|
|6-12 years||1-1.5 hours of high-quality content to be co-viewed with a parent. Set consistent limitations and schedule outside time daily.|
|13-18 years||Up to 2 hours of screen time with consistent limits and “screen-free” times or zones within the household.|
Children, and especially teenagers, have a hard time following rules. That’s why it is crucial to set and stick to screen time limitations from the very start of childhood. You can monitor use and limit screen time in the following ways:
Early extended exposure to screens and devices can hurt the growing brains of young children and teens. It is important to set screen time limits and practice online safety with your kids. Remember to stay consistent with screen time scheduling and provide ample outdoor time. If getting outdoor exercise is not an optionyou’ve run out of ideas for physical activity, look for virtual physical activity programsphysical activity programs for your child to participate in from home.
Technology has proven to be incredibly beneficial in school and home settings, but only when properly implemented and monitored. Stop any potential adverse effects of screen time before starting by creating a screen schedule and encouraging your child to get outside instead.
It’s hard to imagine life returning to normal as we’re just coming to grips with the effects of a pandemic, but someday we will get back to our lives. In the meantime, we can only manage the change to our routines and take it day by day.
One way to cope can be to focus on the future. We can use this time to think about the things we’ll do once it’s over. This could be a good time for projections and planning, such as considering what to do with any left-over money.
If you are one of the lucky ones who have left over money, there are some good measures to take and make it work for you. Focusing on these now may help you get through this uncertain time as well as emerge in a better place once life gets back to normal.
Tip 1: Prioritize, and Fund Accordingly! Identify any existing gaps between your goals and vision and the current on-site conditions for your program. Brainstorm and discuss ways you can fill the gaps to better the program. Once you have some ideas, attach costs to each and budget with the remaining funds to see which you can accomplish. This extra money could make the difference between maximizing the potential of your program or just getting by.
Tip 2: Communication and Collaboration with Staff! Never use the word “I,” always use “we.” It takes a team to make a difference. Communicating and collaborating with your staff are key to a high-performance program! Also, these will protect you from a misconception because you are taking proactive steps in the direction of transparency and long-term planning by including your team. Let the team know the funds exist and work them into the solution. Include them in the brainstorming or solicit ideas. They work the program and might know best about the ways to improve it. You could always start by asking, “In a perfect world, what would you want to…?” (change, fix, see happen, etc.)
Tip 3: Never Lose Sight of Your Program Vision and Goals! It’s easy to see extra money as a sudden windfall and begin to get some grandiose ideas. However, just because you could do something does not mean you should do something. Continue to make sure every decision aligns with your vision and goals. Make sure that the actions you take further progress toward a goal and work towards making your vision come true. It’s like the expression, “Stay in your lane,” meaning ideas that might work for others are not necessarily the best for your program. Ensure that the money goes towards the solutions and progress of your program.
Today, while you have an opportunity, set aside time to work together with your staff online or by phone to allocate the left-over money accordingly. Now can be a useful time to plan ahead and build a more robust program.
Love is in the air! Valentine’s Day celebrates love, and it doesn’t always have to be romantic. Love boils down to a passion for something (or someone!), and so we can celebrate the holiday by sharing the love for physical activity with students.
When you feel passionate about something, it shows. Your enthusiasm, energy, and enjoyment are palpable, visible as the expression on your face, gestures with your hands, and sound of your voice. When you talk about something you love, the feelings bubble up and over into everything you do or say.
Falling in Love with Physical Activity
There are ways to transfer your passion for physical activity to others so that they can experience the same enthusiasm and joy. Here are a few ways to helps students fall in love with physical activity:
1. Exude Positive Energy. Invite the students in with positive energy. Show them your feelings with exuberant talking, exciting demonstrations, and fond memories about your own participation.
2. Provide Easy Wins. Give students a chance to succeed. Break down the activity into smaller roles and make it fun.
3. Offer Encouragement and Support. Acknowledge when it’s hard and recognize efforts when they try.
Role Model Passion for Physical Activity
High levels of excitement are contagious, and students will be influenced by your attitude. When you talk with enthusiasm and demonstrate with zest, you transfer your excitement to the students. Let them see your passion for the activity and look through your eyes at the joy of participating in it.
When students see your love for physical activity, they experience an example of the way they could feel, too. You are a role model showing them the ways physical activity can make them feel. So be excited, talk passionately, share your joy, and be thrilled when you take part in the activity. They will follow suit.
We are showing the love this month by offering a 10% discount on all Skillastics® products you order ONLINE. Use CODE: lv2020 at checkout.
Social and emotional learning (SEL) enhances students’ capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors to deal effectively and ethically with daily tasks and challenges. A physical active environment is the ideal place to enhance these skills. Whether achieving a personal best in the mile run, competing on a successful team, or dropping a catch during a key play – these are all situations where social emotional learning come in to play.
There are five core competencies that can be taught in many ways across many settings;
Physical Education or a physically active environment allow perfect “teachable moments” in all five. Below we’ve outlined how participating in Skillastics® create experiences that help enhance proficiency in these core areas.
The ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism and a mindset of growth.
Skillastics® is a resource of team activities. The success of Skillastics, is dependent on each participants behaviors. Personal and social responsibility is crucial. How one interprets and expresses information about an activity, how one encourages his/her teammates, and how one demonstrates his/her level of involvement, all factor into recognizing and assessing individual emotional involvement. Skillastics® allows children of all ages and skill levels equal chance of participating and working on a level playing field. Skillastics® allows each participant to lead and succeed, raising the level of self-confidence and self-efficacy.
The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations – effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.
Skillastics® offers both a competitive and non-competitive option. The competitive option challenges participants to play at a higher intensity (MVPA) while encouraging teamwork, fair play and responsibility. Skillastics® is self-directed, and provides instructors the freedom to assess participants individually or within a small group setting. Skillastics® creates a positive environment that invites both, participant self-reflection and self-evaluation, which enhances personal and social responsibility.
The ability to take the perspective of, and empathize with others, from diverse ethnicities and cultures. The ability to understand social and ethical norms for behavior and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.
Skillastics® is an all-inclusive activity for all ages and abilities. Children are grouped into 6 teams of varied abilities and cultures. In order for teams to advance, each team member takes a turn being the leader. Skillastics offers diverse, academically integrated questions and activities to engage individual cultures, ages and abilities. Skillastics diversity depends on individual strengths and differences to create a strong and successful team.
The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. The ability to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.
Skillastics® is a team activity. Skillastics’ teams work collectively to complete the desired repetitions required under the direction of a team leader. Each team member participates in the role of the leader. As a team mate, effective communication, listening and comprehension skills are required to advance around the mat. Positive relationships are built as each team succeeds.
The ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms. The realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the consideration of one’s self and others well-being.
Skillastics® rules are simple and easy to follow, Skillastics® rules are paramount to the success of the activity. Overall performance is enhanced when Skillastics®® rules are followed. Skillastics® provides it’s instructors with behavior modification differentiation. Skillastics® provides opportunities for large group management behavior redirection allowing more time on task. Skillastics® provides a positive cooperative learning environment that integrates academics from STEM, nutrition, fitness, problem solving, and more.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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. https://www.skillastics.com/product/basketball-skillastics/
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
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.