Physical activity is essential for everyone, especially growing children. In fact, the US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.
Unfortunately, few children are meeting the daily requirements of physical activity - in school or at home. As program leader, however, you have a unique opportunity to help your students get moving in afterschool. With staff training, versatile equipment and a few simple activities, you can build a quality physical activity program for students. Check out the quick activities below to easily incorporate physical activity into your daily schedule.
5 Simple Activities to Boost Physical Activity in Afterschool
Try this fast exercise to get students’ hearts pumping! Have students stand tall, hop forward, then immediately hop backward. At the same time, ask them to raise one arm up and put one arm down, alternating simultaneously. Do this 20 times for a quick exercise!
2. Crusts and Crumbs
To play this game, divide students into two equal teams and line them up facing each other. Name one team the Crusts and the other team the Crumbs. When a team’s name is called, they must try to catch as many players on the other team as they can, while the other team runs to the wall behind them. Once caught, players become part of the captors’ team. The team with the most captives wins the game!
3. Mingle, Mingle, Group
This quick game is sure to provide a few moments of movement and fun! In Mingle, Mingle, Group, students move around the area saying, “Mingle, mingle, mingle,” until the leader calls out, “Groups of (a number)!” Everyone must quickly group themselves into the number that is called out. When a group is complete, all members sit down. Participants who are left out must do a silly exercise until the next round starts.
With this game, simply have students stand up and do five different movements in descending order. For example, you may say: “Do five jumping jacks, spin around four times, hop on one foot three times, squat two times and give your neighbor one high-five.” Be sure to pause in between each task for students to do it.
5. Always It, Never Out
This version of tag keeps students moving to build stamina and cardiovascular strength! Everyone is running around trying to tag others. Once tagged, students are assigned an exercise to do, such as push-ups, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, etc. After the student completes the exercise, he is free to run again and tag someone.
Regular physical activity yields a number of benefits for students, from strength and flexibility to cognitive and social-emotional development. For more physical activity ideas, check out our Pinterest boards for indoor and outdoor activities.