playground exercises & activities for healthy kids


A class depends on its teacher to guide them and instruct them on subjects that they will need in the future for a productive adulthood.  The subject of their health is one of the most important subjects they must learn but one that is continually overlooked by the education system.  This problem is magnified by the fact that the health of our youth is suffering from a poor diet and little exercise.
As a facilitator of learning teachers have the tools, facilities and means of contact to be a positive role model that can inform students of the importance of living healthy.  It’s especially true if your school offers limited or no health education resources.  Health education can be incorporated into various lessons throughout the day or be independently taught.
One way you can influence your class to start getting more active is by focusing on their playground activities.  By approaching the subject from various angles and using an activity that’s perceived as fun to children you can teach them how to make the best use of their recess time.

Have a Lesson Plan
Block out a time to add in a lesson on safe, healthy playground activities and why students should use this time to get in the daily exercise their bodies need.  Explain to them the nutrition and physical activity that is required for a healthy lifestyle and why it’s so important.
By making them aware that the choices they make now will affect them well into the future kids will better understand they are the biggest part of making the change.  Go over what types of foods children should be incorporating into their diet, how they fuel the body, how the body works, how exercise effects the body, the benefits of exercise and other related issues that are appropriate.

It’s imperative that focus is on kids having fun while still living healthy.  The idea has to seem like one of interest or teachers are going to be fighting a losing battle.  Find ways to make the lesson interactive and go ahead and get kids moving.  Because one third of our youth is overweight or obese it is very likely some students may feel self conscious about the issue.  The subject must be addressed with them in mind and be made not as accusatory but as a helping hand for making change.

Healthy Playground Activities
Any kind of activity is better than none which makes playgrounds a serious ally in getting students moving.  However, some kids still don’t get adequate use out of their recess time, either by avoiding activities or participating in activity that has little physical value.
Encourage your students to actually play and not use recess time for reading, sleeping or sitting around.  Go over each piece of playground equipment, how it’s used and the exercise benefits of each one.  Point out how using the equipment is better than sedentary activity the kids may otherwise take part in.

Also organize classroom games where every student has the chance to take part and you can ensure the students are using their playground time to the best of their ability.  Make sure that there’s adequate space for the game to be played safely and that it’s a simple enough game to get going in a short amount of time and that every student can handle, like kick ball.

For those who don’t want to take part in the game have other options for them that can be played on their own or with a fellow classmate, like hop scotch.

Healthy Playground Activities – Safety Issues
If students aren’t playing safe then playground activities aren’t going to have their intended positive effect.  Not only is safety important for protecting students physical health but also their frame of mind.  For some kids physical activity can be intimidating and if there are safety concerns this will do nothing but impact the problem.  Some playground safety tips can be found below.

    • Supervise students’ activities the whole time
    • All playground equipment is over a soft surface like sand or wood chips
    • Students use playground equipment only as intended – only one child per swing, going down slide headfirst ect.
    • Wooden playground equipment is properly treated and not splintered
    • Playground equipment functions properly – no lose joints, jagged parts ect.
    • Inspect playground equipment regularly for problems
    • Playground area is secured, fenced in area
    • Playground is free of debris like broken glass ect.
    • Student’s attire is appropriate for the playground equipment being used
    • Report problems to proper entity