Getting children excited and enthusiastic about exercise is essential, in order to set them up properly for maintaining a healthy lifestyle as they grow up. It isn’t just about getting children to run around and get rid of their excess energy. Exercise needs to be made fun and enjoyable.
Education is also very important. Children need to understand that whilst at school they are exercising their brains, and this should go hand in hand with exercising the body. By teaching children that exercise will help make them feel energised and refreshed, and will leave them with a rush of endorphins, they will soon enjoy working out.
Here are some great ways to get children more active when they’re at school.
This is a great way to get the children outside and away from their desks. Group the children into teams and get them to find markers within the school grounds. The first to get back to the classroom wins a prize!
2. Use music for an extra boost
Children and teenagers always seem to be glued to their headphones these days. Incorporating music into PE lessons can really help to motivate the children to run faster or dance more.
3. Play follow the leader
Young children often like to copy others. Use this to your advantage and play a game of follow the leader. By incorporating skipping, sprinting and jumps you will have their hearts pumping in no time.
4. Organise a school charity fundraiser
You could encourage the children to participate in a 3K race, where they can run, walk or skip their way to the finish line. Remember to highlight the importance of taking part as opposed to winning here though. Be sure to set up a fundraising page before you start too.
5. Train the children for sports day
Sports day is a key event in any school calendar. Think about using this to your advantage and preparing the children for the races. Practice does make perfect after all. Having a goal to work towards will be motivation for them.
6. Jumping around
Children need regular breaks when they’re learning new skills in the classroom. A great way to increase the levels of oxygen to their brain is to regularly make them jump up from their seats and move around.
7. After school clubs
Rather than organising traditional after school activities such as singing or reading clubs, encourage children to explore the great outdoors. Consider putting together something innovative, like a school netball or football team to get them out in the fresh air after school. Anything is better than them going home to their computer screens.
8. Outdoor school trips
If you can fit it into your busy curriculum, why not take the class out to a nature reserve or beach in order to study the wildlife. It surely beats sitting in the classroom reading out of books for the day!
9. Join in with the children
Yes you! By joining in with the fun and games the children are having, they will see it less as a punishment or boring form of exercise. Show them how it is done and have a laugh with the children. Whether you have a game of catch or walk round the school playing field, do it together.
10. Have a plan of seasonal activities
When it’s the middle of winter and pouring with rain, it will be almost impossible to encourage the children to go outdoors and exercise. This would be a great time to get them into the gymnasium, playing on ladders, doing roly polys on mats and so much more.
11. Have a varied PE timetable
If the children are made to do netball every week for a month, they’re likely to get bored of it. Mix up the sports that they do within their PE time, and ensure both sexes will enjoy it. Rounders, for example, is a fantastic sport to play in summer.
12. Get the chalk out
Children love playing with chalk and marking out areas in the school playground. Hopscotch is a great way to get children moving – encourage them to draw out the squares and make a game of it.
13. Hula hooping
There are so many different tricks that you can do with a hula hoop (once you’ve mastered the basic technique). By giving the children goals, they won’t even know that they’re exercising, it will all just feel like fun to them.
14. Cycling proficiency
Bikeability is the new ‘cycling proficiency’. Include this within the timetable at your school in order to encourage children to be more active. Teaching them the safety of cycling on the roads will set them up in good stead for the future too.
15. Provide active toys
You can’t encourage children to exercise more without giving them the tools to do so. Have a box of skipping ropes the children can choose from during the lunch break or give them a football to kick around.
16. Encourage children to tidy
Is the classroom looking a bit on the messy side? Are you struggling to find time to organise it before the children arrive in the morning? Why not make a game of it and get the children to help you tidy up? Not only will it mean the classroom will be tidy quicker, but it gets them moving too.
17. Reduce screen time
Whilst computers have their part in education, remember to encourage children to take time away from screens and get some fresh air instead. This will help both their eyesight and their overall general health.
18. Invest in an indoor ping pong table
If the weather outside is grim, ping pong is a great way to get the children moving and jumping around. You could even have a teachers vs students game to really make them improve on their skills outside of school.
19. Encourage a walk to school scheme
Rather than parents dropping their children off in their cars every day, why not put together a sticker chart that rewards children for walking to school instead? Children will be active before the school day starts, and it will make for a safer school by reducing the number of cars near the entrance too.
20. Try something new
Every child enjoys some sports more than others. The best way to encourage them to be active is to find something that they enjoy. Why not put on a week’s worth of different activities during summer to see which the children find more fun. Our activate programme is a perfect way to introduce this into your school.
We hope this has given you some ideas on how to get children more active at school. @PentagonPlayUK recently installed a Daily Mile Track at a school in Norfolk, to encourage children to walk or run a mile each day. There are lots of different ways to get children moving, but making it fun is key.