Fall signals back to school, bus rides, new backpacks, and shoes, seeing old friends and learning. Unfortunately, in most elementary schools, it also signals the beginning of a lot of sitting. If you have elementary school aged children, you would be hard pressed not to have noticed the decline in recess. Ask most moms about their experience in elementary school and you will likely hear about multiple recesses, multiple gym classes a week, and walking to school. In the least, you can always supplement their activity with trips for childrens fitness play at Kids ‘N Shape.
Many learning essentials have edged out much of the physical activity and free play that kids need. In 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics advocated several benefits of regular physical activity for kids including academic benefits. They state that “Several studies demonstrated that recess, whether performed indoors or outdoors, made children more attentive and more productive in the classroom.”
If your school is seeing the steep decline in children’s active free-play, what are some things we, as parents, can advocate for that could make a difference in our kid’s school experience?
1-Add a second recess. Recess in elementary schools is connected with lunch and is seeing a decrease in time itself. Adding a second break later in the afternoon can help kids re-energize and finish out the day able to focus on those last lessons. Most professional jobs allow for a one hour lunch and a couple of fifteen-minute breaks. Why are we asking children with notoriously less ability to focus and sit still to do with far less?
2-Plan field trips that promote activity. If your school plans annual field trips, ask them to consider more active based and physical outings. There are a number of places in the community that could accommodate classes. Local martial arts centers and gymnastics centers could give fitness introduction classes to their sport. Indoor play places such as ours, Kids ‘N Shape, offer bounce houses, zip lines and basketball courts for up to a couple of hours of fun active play. Setting up obstacle courses and games at a local park is another physically active field trip.
3-Offer before school ‘get moving’ time. After kids sit on the bus for 20 minutes and before they sit in the classroom, why not try a 10 or 15-minute morning activity to get the wiggles out? Try a short run around the school, a pumped music filled aerobics or dance time led by a parent or teacher with such talents, or maybe even a short obstacle course.
If your school has seen the decline of active time and free play for kids that is so prevalent across the country, try advocating for these simple ideas to keep kids moving. Of course, you can always supplement their activity with trips for childrens fitness play at Kids ‘N Shape. Contact Kids ‘N Shape to find more ways to encourage physical activity.