National Physical Fitness and Sports Month: Free Classroom Resources & Activities

Apr 26, 2024
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The sun is finally shining again, and students are starting to get that “almost summer vacation” itch. Thankfully, it’s May, which means it’s National Physical Fitness and Sports MonthEach year, the month of May helps educate young Americans on the benefits of living a healthy and active lifestyle and encourages them to get up and play for at least an hour each day.

Celebrate National Physical Fitness and Sports Month in your pre-k to 6th-grade classroom with a free downloadable resource packet from Edmentum. In this packet, you’ll find fact sheets, critical thinking questions, and activities to help get your students up and moving all May long.

How to Encourage Students to Engage in National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

Looking for more ways to encourage your students to stay moving for the rest of the summer? Check out these five tips on how you can motivate your students to live active and healthy lifestyles before you send them off for summer break.

1. Discuss the Benefits of Being Active

You know that your students are smart, so be real with them. Having an informative and open discussion with your students about the benefits of living and maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle can really help them understand the why when it comes to having a healthy relationship with food and exercising.

Discuss with them how building healthy habits now makes them more likely to be active and healthy grown-ups. Let them know how research has shown that just 60 minutes of physical activity per day can help them:

  • Earn better grades
  • Develop time-management skills
  • Boost concentration, memory, and self-esteem
  • Reduce anxiety and stress

It’s a lot easier to be motivated to do something when you know why you should be doing it. So, let your students in on it.

2. Encourage Students to Unplug

During the summer, days can be unstructured compared to the school year. This means that children will likely spend much of their free time plopped down in front of electronic devices, staring at screens, and ultimately being inactive. While you can’t enforce a limit on screen time for your students over the summer, you can at least encourage them to set one for themselves. Consider ideas like these to get the ball rolling:

  • Have a class discussion with your students on how much screen time they feel is appropriate during the day and how they can hold themselves accountable to that limit.
  • Brainstorm different physical activities your students can do with friends or independently that don’t involve electronics, like putting on a backyard play, planting a mini garden, or trying out a new sport.
  • Have your students write up summer tech-free bucket lists so they have plenty of ideas about how to entertain themselves when bored.

Additionally, here are some ideas for indoor activities to keep your students moving during National Physical Fitness and Sports Month:

  • Minute to Move Mania: Dedicate one minute throughout the day for a quick burst of movement. This could be jumping jacks, high knees, wall sits, or dance breaks to their favorite upbeat songs.
  • Animal Charades: Divide the class into teams and have students act out different animal movements for their team to guess. This is a fun way to get students moving creatively while learning about different animals.
  • Circuit Challenge: Set up a circuit of simple exercises around the classroom, like lunges across the room, push-ups against the wall, or balancing on one foot for a designated time. Students can rotate through the circuit stations at their own pace.
  • Indoor Scavenger Hunt: Hide clues around the classroom that require students to perform a specific movement, like jumping over an object or crawling under a desk, before finding the next clue.
  • Yoga Flow: Dedicate a short portion of the class to some basic yoga poses. This can help students improve flexibility, focus, and body awareness. There are many free online resources with short yoga routines specifically designed for kids.

3. Introduce Some Outdoor Games

Odds are that your students don’t have the same playground equipment they have access to at recess in their own backyards. But that shouldn’t stop them from playing outside. Spend some time with your students discussing how to play different outdoor games, like hopscotch, freeze dance, or four square. A few of your students might already be familiar with these games, in which case you might ask them to share with their classmates some of the rules for play or even demonstrate for the class.

It may seem like a silly thing to talk about during class, but you never know which one of your students will spend the summer playing freeze tag with their friends or siblings because you helped remind them how much fun it is to play before the school year ended.

4. Get Loose and Have Fun

Summer is around the corner, and everyone just wants to have fun, so why try to fight it? Whether you're in a classroom or teaching in a virtual setting, try folding in some time throughout the day to play dance-along songs for the class and let everyone get goofy for a few minutes. If you start to notice more and more of your students are getting distracted during one of your lessons, pause for a brain break and have everyone stand up and get the wiggles out of their system.

During the last few weeks of class, let one of your students lead group yoga, a game of Simon Says, or a few rounds of freeze dance. While your students may think you’re just having some fun before school is out, what you’re really doing is modeling for your students how they can incorporate movement and light exercise into their day in ways that are fun and playful.

5. Invite Families to Get Involved

It’s no secret that parent and caregiver involvement does wonders, especially when it comes to your students’ success. But family involvement is just as important for keeping children active over summer break. Encourage your students to talk to their families about participating in group physical activities.

Start by asking them to think of a few activities they think their family members might enjoy, such as going for a walk with the family dog, spending a day together at the pool, or even helping with a big household project, like cleaning the garage. Not only are group activities a great way to get the whole family active, but they’re also the perfect opportunity for building lasting summer memories.

You can’t spend the summer with your students, but you can send them off with some ideas on how to have a happy, healthy, and active summer vacation. And don’t forget, there’s more to celebrate this May. Check out our free Memorial Day resource packet and get a jumpstart on June with ideas for National Fruit and Vegetables Month.

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