Why keeping active is essential for kids
Social distancing is of fundamental importance for the foreseeable future, and of course, that means we all have to sacrifice some of our usual activities (or at least adapt them).
But, what would childhood be without games?
Children are hardwired to let their imaginations run wild. When their proclivity to play with friends is restricted, we have an obligation to search for ways to provide that sense of freedom and fun; without this, a child’s development and general happiness can suffer.
Even the simplest of activities help kids build relationships with others through socialising, and teach them essential skills needed for later life – patience, fairness, teamwork – the list is endless.
All the while, it’s of the utmost significance that their families and teachers encourage physical activity – not only for education and exercise but to help them embrace being young and free!
Keeping a sense of ‘normal’ in schools and at home
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create unprecedented challenges for society as a whole, we’ve all had to find new ways to maintain normality throughout an unparalleled period of uncertainty.
Amid political legislation, economic impact and all manner of adult-ish discussion, the extra care required to maintain a sense of normality for our little ones can escape the focus of debate.
It’s especially difficult for children to adapt to change, and applying too many provisions and rules to their activities will only result in a lack of enthusiasm.
3 Tips for implementing Social Distancing
Here are 3 things we recommend you keep in mind as you organise games and PE activities for kids:
- Keep the games as similar as possible
Of course, you’ll have to enforce safer rules, but try to make the adaptations fun by presenting them as an added challenge, rather than a limitation. Preserving competitiveness and introducing novelty to games creates excitement when a child plays.
- Minimise contact
For an added safety provision, create groups so that they keep to bubbles. It might be fun to organise a circuit of different activities so that each bubble has a go at different things. This can also be an easy way to encourage teamwork and a level of competition.
- Keep it simple
As mentioned – kids don’t like too many rules. If the game you’re trying to adapt is becoming too overthought and complicated, try thinking outside the box or go back to basics.
Our Top 3 Socially Distanced Playground & Outdoor Games
For PE lessons in the playground, or playing outside with plenty of space, here are 3 tried-and-tested games that keep kids safe and active!
Kids love the thrill of a chase, and this traditional playground game is still possible with a little tweaking of the rules and an extra yard of pace!
Avoid contact by tagging eachother’s shadow.
Ideal for playing within a social bubble; all you need is a clean ball, clean hands and enough space to mark out four squares. Simply bounce the ball to eachother, but don’t let it bounce twice in your square!
Learn more about the rules in this video:
A variation of Four Square, but harder and sillier! Each time you drop the ball, you will be penalised. You can create your own sanctions, but generally, we stick to the following:
First drop: One-handed catches.
Second drop: One-handed catches and down on one knee.
Third drop: One-handed catches and down on both knees.
Fourth drop: Lie down on your back.
Fifth drop: You’re out!
Approved by Kids
The games above have been tried-and-tested during our lunch time support sessions, and have been deemed as the children’s favourites since they returned to school in September!
“Lunch times have been really fun. We’re playing the same games but changing them to make them more fun, even we are suggesting fun games to our coach!”
Keeping children active (and occupied) at Home
All of us with children at home had to get creative during the first lockdown, with homeschooling, exercising, and tackling their boredom! Here are a few fun activities to do outside of school:
Take a daily Walk
Enjoy the outdoors and take an opportunity to listen to the wonderful ideas their imagination produces.
Make Chores fun
Make boring indoor activities an adventure – encourage them to tidy up as quickly as possible, or play music & dance while you do so.
Another simple game which can be wedged into your chores. For a young person with a wild imagination, Sock Toss has all the makings of a real sport!
Simply hiding items around the house, garden or playground is an easy way to keep kids occupied for hours on end.
Easy, cheap and can be played indoors or outdoors. A balloon can create hours of fun for children, especially if it becomes part of a game. Just make sure you have plenty of space and a few spare balloons!
Premier Active’s 5 Safety Rules
While preserving fun and being creative can make social distancing games an enjoyable challenge, safety must be considered equally. Please take note of the following precautions:
- – Ensure equipment is kept within bubbles & cleaned regularly.
- – Spread children out in all activities as much as possible.
- – Mark out individual zones or activity stations for relevant games.
- – Insist on the two-metre rule.
- – Remind them to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after activities
How else can we help?
Since returning to school in September, Sport England have reported that children have been 47% more physically active (view their full COVID-19 Briefing here)
“We have loved being able to join in with lots of new games because there have been more opportunities to do so”
The reason for this is that students are much more engaged in their education when they spend more time being active together.
During a time where kids can feel apprehensive about the lack of normality, the right balance of structure and fun is achievable through controlled physical activities, which will keep them focused, happy and safe!
Check out this list of social distancing games for kids of all ages, or speak to a member of our team to receive our Get Active Social Distancing Pack: