Physical Activities for Students While School is Online
Many countries are entering, or in the middle of, their third wave of pandemic lockdowns. Our students are missing out on socializing with peers, graduations, proms, school events and dances, and overall physical activity.
For years as children were growing up, parents would say: “Too much screen time isn’t good” or “Sitting in front of the TV or computer all day is no good.”
Today all students are more or less doing that exact thing!
There is no question that Instructors need to help their students engage in some physical activity.
Whether the physical activity is done outdoors or indoors, there are many options available. Here are a few activities instructors can lead in-class or suggest their students do for homework.
Meditating can be done at the beginning of a class, the end, or both. Meditating can be done in many different ways and look different to everyone. A simple, easy way to make this work in a class is to put on some calming, soothing music and for 1-2 minutes, have everyone close their eyes and take slow, deep breaths. This gives students’ eyes a short break and can help their mental focus. This is also a practice they can adapt in their own home.
Jumping jacks is a classic that works for any age group. A few minutes of jumping jacks gets everyone’s heart pumping, blood flowing and energy up. And it is fun!
Dancing is another easy activity. An instructor can simply find an energetic playlist on YouTube and at the end of every class for about 5 minutes, the students and teacher can all engage in their own freestyle remote dance party!
A scavenger hunt is an activity that can be both educational and fun. This activity can also be their homework so that they are not spending hours after class on the computer doing homework as well. The scavenger hunt can send the students outside to identify things such as road/street signs, birds, animals, flowers, insects, institutional buildings etc. They can even be required to take a picture or draw what they were supposed to find and identify. This encourages physical activity, life skills and time away from a computer screen.
Although these are just a few simple examples, many more can be found online. One great online resource was put together by Mr. Andrew Martin, the School Health Coordinator and Physical Education of the Germantown Municipal School District in Tennessee. He created a website titled The Phys Ed Express, where the goal is to promote physical activity for healthy living.
There is a compilation of mini-programs, longer programs and challenges for students of different ages and the staff of the school district. It is called Physical Education Challenges Complete from Home and can be found at the following link: https://www.thephysedexpress.com/at-home-challenges.html.
The programs and challenges are as simple as “Ways to Get Active at Home” and can get more complex for older age groups.