Winter is Coming – How will you keep your students and kids active?

Winter is right around the corner (or perhaps came early depending on what part of the country you live in). With fewer hours of daylight and colder temperatures, the struggle to maintain activity levels throughout the winter months is a challenge for parents, kids and within our school communities. Indoor recess and lunch significantly reduce the opportunity for our kids to stay active throughout the school day. Also, getting kids to head outdoors after school when it is potentially dark, cold or both; is not an easy task.
The following are some ideas to consider for both parents and teachers as we move into the Winter months and strive to stay active as families and within the classroom. Keeping our kids physically active throughout the day provides them with so many benefits including the ability to focus on their school work, regulate their emotions and being better able to stay on task.

Indoor recess – when your school makes a call to keep the kids indoors for recess, the best plan of action is to get them active. Typically, the students will be kept in the classroom environment. If teachers are able to take a personal break during this time, make sure you have “Junior Leaders” in place who are trained and ready to lead BOKS Bursts of activity in each of the classrooms in the school. BOKS Bursts are 2 – 10 minute Bursts of activity that get the kids moving, their heart rates elevated and will help to burn off some of their excess energy, that they will not have the opportunity to do with an indoor recess. These can easily be lead by older students, with a little bit of advance training and planning. All of the resources are available once you enroll your school with the BOKS program.

Indoor lunch – when weather calls for an indoor lunch, this means more time that the students will need to be kept active. Often, schools will have different activities available throughout the school that students can choose to participate in. Ensure that one of the options is getting physically active in the gym. This is the perfect time to pull out the BOKS lesson plans and run a 30 minute BOKS class for all of the students. Make sure you are choosing some “large group” activities that work well with a bigger group of students. In order to make this work effectively, I encourage the school community to designate one leader on their staff who is willing to run active indoor lunches. This individual (or team of individuals) should be prepared with their 2 or 3 “go to” BOKS lessons that they are comfortable running at the last minute. Keeping kids active during an indoor lunch will benefit everyone – the students themselves as they are ready to focus for the afternoon after getting their heart rates elevated at lunch; the teachers who will have a classroom of students who are on task and not experiencing behaviour issues, and especially parents who will not have kids bouncing off the walls when they get home from school.
Another option for an active indoor lunch is to play our BOKS Canada Spotify playlist and have a dance party for all the students in your gymnasium. Talk about a fun and active lunch break!

BOKS Bursts of activity throughout the day – during the winter months, when physical activity levels are typically down, it is even more important to give students opportunities to get active throughout the day. BOKS Bursts provide the perfect platform to ensure students are getting additional opportunities to stay active throughout the day. These can be done in the classroom, lead by teachers or Junior Leaders. Ideally, 5 – 10 minutes in the morning AND 5 – 10 minutes in the afternoon. Parents can also take advantage of this resource by signing up at www.bokskids.ca and receiving the weekly email of five BOKS bursts or sign up here. Parents can then do one Burst every week day WITH their kids – either before they head off to school or shortly after they walk in the door from school. Sweating, moving and dancing with your kids is one sure fire way to bond with them!

After School Hours – as parents, we typically set time aside for our kids to do their homework or practise their musical instruments. It is equally important that we set time aside to stay active together. If the time is set aside, it becomes part of the norm and your kids come to expect it. If it is already part of your regular schedule when the winter months come, you can simply keep it in your schedule and find ways to adapt what you are choosing to do based on the weather. One of my favourite activities to do with kids after school is simply to walk our dog together. I find it is one of the best times for us to connect about what happened in their day. This is an activity that can easily be adapted regardless of the weather.
These are just a few ways to make sure the activity levels of your kids stay consistent throughout the winter months. We welcome your “Winter, stay active” tips and tricks! Tag us on Social with your fav ways to stay active over the winter months.

Shannon MacMillan

BOKS Regional Coordinator, Western Canada and Mom to two active kids