Reaching only students with the message about the importance of health and fitness isn’t enough—parents need to receive the message too! Schools around the country are going for the gold with Family Fitness Nights designed for kids and their families too! So, you might be wondering how to plan a fun Family Fitness Night —check out some tips and ideas below!
So, how do you spread the word and get parents and students interested in your school’s Family Fitness Night? First, you must appeal to a wide range of ages – preschool to seniors – by partnering with other community organizations and agencies to provide health screenings and activities. You must begin publicity early and advertise the event to as many people as possible. Use a variety of ways to promote events to different audiences (backpack flyers, websites, signboards, newspapers, posters, etc.). Add delicious nutrition and fun fitness to the agenda. Serve tasty, healthful snacks (work with the Child Nutrition program) and get everyone involved in some active fun– Nobody wants to miss out on fun and food! Plan for door prizes and encourage exhibitors to provide useful give-away items.
Next, you’ll need some creative ideas for getting students and their parents on board! One idea for a family fitness night is to set up as many different PE related activities as you can that encourage parents to participate with their kids. This way, the kids get to show the parents what they’ve learned during PE, and maybe even teach them a thing or two. It’s great to offer a variety of activities, including ones that can be set up outside (jump ropes, sack race, hoops, horseshoes, scoops, hop ball relay) and others that are set up in the gym (Wii, dance pads, climbing wall, target throw, putt-putt, bowling, balance beam).
To help keep the focus around fitness as a whole, another great idea is to have a nurse come to do blood pressure checks, etc., or invite other health and fitness experts from the community to come and set up a booth where they can share their information. Kicking off your Family Fitness Night with a keynote speaker, such as a local celebrity, well-respected individual, sports figure, fitness expert or a health professional, is a great way to get the students and their parents motivated! Another way to kick off the fitness night is to play a movie that is brief, educational, and entertaining.
To switch things up a bit, consider hosting a themed Family Fitness Night, like a Turkey Trot around Thanksgiving! This provides a fun variation to the regular Fitness Night and will keep students and their families interested. One idea for a Turkey Trot is to have the families participate in a walk-a-thon and in order to participate, they bring a can of food that will be donated to the local food pantry. Another idea is to take a typical school event, like a school dance, and make it healthy. Usually there are snacks sold at dances, but they typically consist of chips, candy and soda. Swap out the “junk food” for healthier options like fruit, veggies and water. You can easily turn a dance into a Family Fitness Night by having your students perform a routine at the beginning of the night and invite parents and grandparents to come and watch the students perform.
Students are taught about both health and fitness throughout their time in school. Some students choose to share the information they learn with their families and some do not. Family Fitness Nights are a great way to get the message about the importance of nutrition and fitness to everyone— in a fun way!
Have you hosted a Family Fitness Night before at your school? What are some of your favorite ideas for Family Fitness Nights?