Summer is finally upon us and the kids are just as excited to be outside playing as we are! What about our kids though who are not confident free players? What about our students who are shy to join in a game? Take a look around your classroom, school and community to see how you are reaching all kids! Here are a few things to look for and incorporate.
1. Outdoor Equipment at the School
It is important to look at what kinds of equipment are available for kids to play with. Many outdoor kits have only your basic sports balls such as soccer balls, footballs, basketballs etc. However, many of our kids who are not into sport would be uninterested and not feel confident to use these. Try to have a wide variety of things to be played with.
Some ideas are:
- Skipping ropes
- Chinese Jump ropes
- Sidewalk chalk
- Racquets and balls or birdies
- Jugging scarves
It is also a good idea to look at the process the students need to go through to use the equipment. Children are more likely to play with something when it is more readily available. Have a cart that goes outside with equipment on it, or maybe outdoors bins throughout the school or in classrooms. Look at your individual school and what would work best for the students!
2. Markings on the ground
Free play and children using their imaginations are a very important part of physical activity. Having games marked out on the ground such as hopscotch, four square or even just different coloured shapes help students to use their imaginations and move in different ways. If your school cannot afford to put permanent markings down have students use sidewalk chalk!
3. Play facilitators
We need to remember that as teachers and recess supervisors it is important for us to also be playing with the children or helping them find active things to do at recess. Starting or teaching a game with students or joining in an activity shows the students some ideas of what to do and helps us be role models for the students.
Another great idea is to have student mentors. Have older students from the school plan games and go play with younger students. This is a great way to motivate younger and older students. Need Help? There is a free program called Recess Guardians that will come in and train older students on how to play and get younger students active at recess time. This gives the students the training they need to be great play leaders within your school. Check them out!
4.Move your class outdoors!
Students tend to want to be outside more and therefore find it harder to focus in the classroom when the sunshine tends to be calling their name. Let’s get creative so we can all be productive. When possible move your lesson outside! It could be as simple as reading on the playground, or playing a game to incorporate science or math. Trust me, your students will thank you and so will your patience!
5.Equipment at home
It is great that our schools can provide playgrounds and play equipment for students to be active but what happens when they go home for the summer. Many small communities do not have programs that run all summer. Think of creative ways to teach children games that they can play at home with little to no equipment. You can also try to get some equipment donated that can go home with students. Look for simple things that are not too expensive like skipping ropes and hacky sacks. You can also check with your physical education teacher if there are any items that they are looking to get rid of from their storage room!
I hope you have all had a great school year, trying new things and getting your students active in and around your school. Do you have a great success story or a favourite activity? Please feel free to share with me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can feature you and your classroom on the blog.