May 1 – 7 is National Physical Education and Sport Week, a nationwide celebration supported by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, emphasizing the value of physical education and activity in the lives of children and young adults. The theme this year, Let’s Move! Active Schools, encourages teachers and parents to create active environments where students get 60 minutes of daily physical activity through quality physical education and activity before, during and after the school day.
Families and communities have an exciting opportunity to put the principles of the Together CountsTM program in action and help kids embrace the power of living a physically active lifestyle throughout the entire month. Listed below are five ideas to get you inspired!
1. Create a monthly fitness challenge
Fitness challenges are great because they can be tailored for all ages, and you can even include eating nutritious foods as part of the challenge! Fun ideas include visiting a local park, trying a new activity like disc golf, or challenging each family member to get moving during commercial breaks of their favorite shows!
2. Revive the Olympic spirit!
There’s nothing like the Olympics to inspire students to be more physically active. Throughout the year, challenge your family to “win” medals by completing different activities. Anyone who plays in the park for 40 minutes can be awarded a bronze medal, while two hours over the month yields a gold one. For example, time crunched parents can try the one minute challenge: choose an activity and complete it as many times as you can in one minute. Don’t forget to challenge your kids too; see how many toys they can pick up in one minute!
3. Modify family-favorite board games
Beyond monthly challenges, encourage your kids to think outside the box when it comes to physical activity, health and wellness. Take the board game Chutes and Ladders, for example. Modify the game to incorporate physical activity to get their hearts pumping and muscles moving! Assign an activity to each number (or set of numbers) and complete it if you when you land on that number. Suggested activities include running on the spot, juggling scarfs or touching five blue objects around the house before your next turn.
4. Document your ideas
Use post-it notes to add activity tasks- like jumping jacks or crab walks- to the entry of each room in your house. Be sure to take photos to remember all the fun the family had getting physically active together!
5. Incorporate physical activity into homework
Homework can be active too! Practice number facts with dice and used milk bottle caps; write numbers 1-12 on the top of the caps and place an activity idea underneath. Roll two dice, add them together, and complete the activity written underneath the corresponding cap.
A good motto for physical activity is anytime, anyplace, anywhere! Getting friends and family in on the action only increases the fun! For more fitness and activity challenge ideas, visit http://fitnesschallenges.wikispaces.com/.
How does your family plan to celebrate National Physical Education and Sport Week? Share in the comments below!
Jo Bailey wrote this post on behalf of the Together Counts™ program. Jo teaches physical education and adapted physical education at D.C. Everest Senior High in Weston, WI. She is also the 2012-2014 President of Wisconsin Health and Physical Education (WHPE) and recently received the 2013 Midwest AHPERD High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year award. Jo is always looking for new and innovative ways to encourage her students, colleagues, and community to lead physically active lifestyles. She can be found on Twitter @lovephyed.