If you have taught for more than a few years, you have probably noticed how children’s lives have changed drastically since your first days. It may seem like parents are less willing to let their kids play outside. Combine that with the prevalence of personal devices and online apps and gaming, and you have a recipe for an unhealthy lifestyle. As a teacher, you can interrupt these sedentary habits by getting your students to get up and move at school. Read on to discover six ways you can introduce exercise in the classroom.
1. Plan a Sports Tournament
As you know, children love friendly competition, and you can encourage them to be active by planning a sports tournament for your class. Regardless of whether your students already have physical education in their day or not, you can take things into your own hands by setting up some sports events between your students.
From pickleball to basketball and kickball, there are tons of options. If you need to, raise the funds for equipment within the parent community so you can get your hands on high-quality Selkirk pickleball paddles or baseballs and mitts. For older students, get them involved by giving them some tasks to help you set up the tournament.
2. Invite Dance Instructors
A great way to introduce your students to new cultural traditions while also getting them moving is to invite dance instructors to your class. You can frame lessons around the culture and geography of where the dance tradition comes from and invite a qualified instructor from the community to come and speak to your students.
A Native Hawaiian instructor can visit your class and talk about the history of Hawai’i while getting your students to try out some hula dance moves. You could also invite a hip-hop instructor and ask them to discuss some of the issues facing the Black community.
3. Take a Break and Do Yoga
Many students struggle with anxiety and issues focusing, and you can help support them by having your students take a break to do yoga. Yoga is beneficial for mental health because it promotes a feeling of calm along with deep breathing, which helps soothe the nervous system. It’s also a good way to encourage flexibility and muscular strength.
4. Find Some Time for Tai Chi
Similar to yoga, your students might find it exciting to learn the basic moves of tai chi. This traditional exercise routine comes from China and involves gentle movements that involve balance, muscular stability, breathwork, and meditation.
Tai Chi is very accessible, like yoga. Students with disabilities can learn tai chi along with everyone else, making it a great choice to promote equity in the classroom while getting everyone up and active.
5. Connect Songs to Movement
Whenever you find a song that you want to introduce in the classroom, consider pairing it with movement so that your students get a little bit more exercise during the day. Using music is a great way to teach many different concepts, from life skills and history to math and science. Music and songs help students remember difficult concepts while also providing entertainment.
When you design a lesson around a song, think about movements you can add to the music. You don’t have to get too complicated with your choreography. Even simple movements that get the students out of their chairs will help you achieve your objective.
6. Move Around the Classroom
On the days when you can’t get your students to participate in anything, you can at least get them to move around your classroom. It can be tough to get your students to do organized exercise every day.
People naturally have some good days and some bad days. It’s healthy to recognize that your students won’t want to participate in what you have planned sometimes. So one way to get them up and active is to set up activities in different parts of your classroom so that your students have to move to complete the activity.
Getting exercise habits established early is vital for lifelong health and wellness. Encourage your students to get physical with any of the activities listed above.