Running outside every day for just 15 minutes can boost concentration in lessons, mental health and physical health. It is important to keep it quick, fun and simple but some children may find they need something to keep them engaged week after week.
Most schools have a set course for the children to follow. Break it down in to sections and incorporate different movements. This could be just having one section of a different action and the rest running or jogging, or you could combine a few different movements. Choosing the movement for the following week can make for a great class or pupil reward and help engage with less active children.
Adding in different movements not only helps keep things fun but also helps to develop the ABCs (Agility, Balance and Coordination). Changes in direction, jumping and balancing all use different muscles and skills helping to develop these areas without the children even noticing.
There is no time for complicated set ups so there is minimal equipment for each, and the items are all easy to clean.
Why run when you can skip? Each child has a skipping rope and completes all or a section of the course run skipping. They will need a bit of space for this so, it could be something they pick up after the fist lap when they are a bit more spread out.
Change the pace
Travel in a different way for part of the course. This could be high knees, side steps, bunny hops or skips. Get creative and encourage the children to come up with their own ideas. Use throw down markers to indicate the start and stop points.
Set out cones that are at least 2 m apart and offset from the centre line. The children run round the outside of each cone, zig zagging along the course. The spacing and distances can be adjusted for the children’s skill level. Shallow turns for younger or less abled children and tighter turns for the more confident.
Each child has a quoit to balance on their head or other body part as they complete the run/jog. The additional weight of a rubber quoit is good for the stability on the head, but other items could be used. This balance exercise encourages awareness of the whole body and encourages technique over speed.
Don’t land in the lava! Create your ‘lava pit’ with two rows of throw down markers with a space in between. The children must jump from before one row to after the second row so that they don’t land in the lava. The width between the two lines can be adjusted for the age and skill level of the children.
Place throw down spots or lines at regular intervals along a stretch of track. When the children get to a spot, they must jump over it. They can do a single-footed jump, two-footed jump or just get creative. This encourages connecting movements together and develops balance and strength.
Beat your personal best
A great way to keep engagement to see if you can beat your personal best. Pedometers allow you to track the number of steps taken and to see if you can go a bit further each time. They can also be used for group challenges. Add up everyone’s steps and see how far you can go? Can you make it to Paris, Tokyo or maybe Lapland?
These daily sessions should be fun and simple for the teacher and children so build up adding in movements over time. Think about keeping the course consistent for at least a week so the children can familiarise themselves with the movements and see how they improve over time. As the children gain confidence in the different actions, allowing them to choose the pattern may help engage less active pupils.