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Best Practices For Implementing Physical Activity Into the Classroom and Home Environments

You know that feeling when you’ve been sitting for too long and you can’t help but start to fidget and stretch? We’ve all experienced it whether we are stuck in a meeting or lounging on the couch and if we as adults experience it, you better believe it happens to kids in the classroom or at home when having to sit and do homework.

Yet, in today’s world, education and physical activity clash as teachers struggle to utilize every classroom minute to cover required material. At home, parents and kids are juggling so many activities, enforcing set periods for homework in between work and activity schedules creates just as much a challenge for fitting in physical activity. However, studies do exist that recognize the fact that getting students moving during the school day improves their focus and ability to pay attention in class.

There is no doubt kids need activity breaks during the school day, but they also need movement breaks at home when they are doing their homework or other sedentary activities. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate more physical activity into our children’s day:

During natural breaks (in the classroom)

Between subjects, BOKS (Build Our Kids’ Success) Bursts can be incorporated with students either at their desks or in the aisles next to their desks. Bursts are typically 1 - 10 minutes in length, are intended to keep kids active throughout the day and can be implemented into any lesson, multiple times a day! Such a short amount of time for such a big benefit! You can sign up for free here to receive 5 BOKS Bursts weekly!

During a lesson/homework (in the classroom or at home)

Try our ABC workout! If you have an alphabet chart, assign an exercise to each letter of the alphabet. When working on vocabulary, the movement can match the beginning letter of the vocabulary word. (ex A= 10 squats, B= 5 jumping jacks)

Set a timer for kids to get up and move while doing their homework. After 15 minutes of work, the student can get up and do a series of exercises for 2 minutes. For example, 30 seconds each of jumping jacks, high knee jogs, mountain climbers and squats. Or simply run down the stairs, around the house and back to their desk.

Reinforcement of a lesson 

Keep 3-4 stations around the room (classroom or locations in your house where kids do homework), where there are BOKS Burst cards. At designated times, have kids go to a certain station and while they are completing the Burst they can quiz each other on the classroom/homework materials.

After school

The transition from classroom to home or other after school location is a great time to incorporate a little physical activity. It’s totally normal for kids to want to decompress a bit before starting homework.

  • Use a BOKS Burst
  • Quick jog or running activity around the home, driveway, sidewalk. This could be a continuous run, sprints, walk/jog or jumping rope.
Snow days/Holidays

Just because school isn’t in session does not mean the need for physical activity goes away. Kids still need to be active, yet the drive to be in front of a screen (TV, Video Games, Phone, Tablet, etc.), can be quite addictive. Always be mindful of this and incorporate some of these suggestions:

  • Scavenger Hunts are a fun way to be active. Make a list of things the kids should find. They need to run around and find each item (either inside or out). When they submit their lists they need to do a physical activity with each item they turn in (example: find an item around the house that is bigger than your foot and do 10 squats holding it).
  • Obstacle courses – create an obstacle course in the house or outdoors. Have kids go through the course as many times as they can, time them, see if they can go faster and beat their own time.

Do you want more ideas like these? Are you passionate about keeping your kids active? Make sure to check out BOKS (Build Our Kids’ Success) and all the FREE resources we have to offer K – 9 schools across Canada. 

BOKS Canada

BOKS is a physical activity program that empowers school communities to improve their children physically, mentally and socially through the power of movement. Backed by science, BOKS provides each school community with a robust lesson plan document, training and on-going support to establish and maintain impactful programs serving the whole child. Scalable and evidence-based, BOKS envisions a world in which movement is a part of every child’s day, helping kids develop a lifelong love of fitness and nutrition at an early age. Join our BOKS community on social media for more ideas!

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