Inspiring Students and Families to Stay Active Over Summer Break

The whirlwind that was the 2019-2020 school year is coming to an end, and while it didn’t end how any of us wanted, summer is now upon us. Like the past few months, summer 2020 is likely to look different as well. Typical summer institutions, such as day and sleep away camps, might not be an option for families this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With these opportunities that have traditionally provided opportunities for children to be physically active over the summer months potentially no longer occurring, there is a concern that this summer break may be the most sedentary one ever for our nation’s children.

As PE teachers, part of our job is to inspire a love for movement and physical activities that our students find meaning and joy within to help them to live a well-balanced life. Ideally, in our positions as physical educators, we have been doing this throughout the school year through the lived experiences that we have provided for our students. Continuing to guide our students down this path as summer approaches is another way that we can help them and their families make choices that will benefit their overall health and well-being throughout June, July, and August with the potential absence of traditional summer camps.

This blog reveals my top 3 tips and resources for inspiring students and their families to stay active over summer break!

1. Create a Resource List for Families:

Some families may not know about the opportunities within the public spaces in which they live that can be used to be physically active. Simply putting together a resource list for families that can either be sent home digitally or through paper means can go a long way in relation to inspiring families to get out and participate in physical activity together. Look to what amenities the places like local, county, state, or national parks in the area may provide for your families. Many of these places offer opportunities for outdoor recreation involving physical activity, such as multi-use paved and natural paths (perfect for waking, hiking, running, and biking), open fields or courts (perfect for participating in activities involving skills you likely have taught your students throughout the year) and other things (disc golf, fishing, canoeing/kayaking, etc.). Compiling all of this information that can often be found on websites into a single document can help to be a “1-stop shop” for families to reference as they please when looking for something fun to do as a family!

2. Home PE By Gopher:

As everyone is adapting to this new landscape during the pandemic, Gopher has come up with an awesome idea centered around the idea of at-home PE kits. It is a very reasonably priced subscription-based service that has 2 different level options (Basic or Deluxe) for families to sign up for. The level in which families subscribe to will determine which equipment and how much of it will get sent to their home for them to use week by week over the course of 6 weeks total. Also included in each shipment are easy-to-understand activity guides written by well-known PE teachers from around the country explaining a variety of different activities that can be played using the equipment included in each shipment.

Being the quality and supportive company that it is, Gopher values you as the physical education teacher in the role you play with regards to educating your school’s families about this opportunity as well. For each subscription that is linked to your school, your school will receive $10! This incentive really makes this service from Gopher a win-win-win for families, the physical education program and the school!

Check out Kevin Tiller’s (AKA @physedreview) review of this service here.

3. Sustain Student Access to Digital Resources

During this time of distance learning, you likely amassed a ton of online materials that you pushed out to students through your district’s chosen digital platform. If made possible by your school district, see if students can continue to have access to what you have previously sent out through the end of summer. Your students likely have their favorites of assignments involving physical activity that they have already completed, and keeping access open to them will allow for them to revisit these preferred activity opportunities at their leisure.

These are some ideas that I plan on using with my students, and I think implementing them might help you as well as you seek to inspire your students to keep moving in what may be a very different type of summer break this year.

Questions? Have your own ideas about your plans to keep your students moving over summer?  Please share in the comment section below to keep the conversation going!

Ross Chakrian has been teaching elementary physical education in Ellicott City, MD for the past 9 years. Ross helped transform the state of the physical education at Waverly Elementary School by successfully winning various local and national grants to bring a variety of technology into the program. He also successfully advocated on behalf of his students to get a new gymnasium built to address the increasing enrollment numbers his school is experiencing. Ross is also very active on Twitter (@Mr_C_PE) as he works to spread the love for quality physical education and was recently asked to join the prestigious #ESPEchat Team (https://espechat.weebly.com/).

Ross Chakrian has been teaching elementary physical education in Ellicott City, MD for the past 9 years. Ross helped transform the state of the physical education at Waverly Elementary School by successfully winning various local and national grants to bring a variety of technology into the program. He also successfully advocated on behalf of his students to get a new gymnasium built to address the increasing enrollment numbers his school is experiencing. Ross is also very active on Twitter (@Mr_C_PE) as he works to spread the love for quality physical education and was recently asked to join the prestigious #ESPEchat Team (https://espechat.weebly.com/).

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