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Started by the Youth Sport Trust in 2008, National School Sport Week is a celebration of all things sporty, with the aim of inspiring children to get more active and enjoy sport.
This year, from Monday 19th to Sunday 25th June we are being challenged to encourage children to ‘play for fun, play for 60’.
This daily allocation of 60 minutes for kids to take part in sport hasn’t been plucked out of thin air but is in fact in line with the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendation for physical activity.
National School Sport Week this year is encouraging schools to support children in reaching this goal by ensuring they are active at school for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, with the remaining 30 minutes to be completed at home.
The health of young people depends on them staying active. Not only does regular physical activity benefit brain and heart health, strengthen muscles and reduce the likelihood of long-term, chronic diseases, but it can also improve attention and memory, having a positive impact on academic performance.
Taking part in sport and physical activity is also hugely beneficial to mental health. Research has found that it reduces anxiety, improves self-esteem and boosts social skills, equipping young people with the tools they need to cope with life’s challenges.
This dedicated week puts a much-needed focus on school sport and physical activity for children, not just in terms of hobbies, but also as part of physical education at school.
It’s worth remembering that for children to stay active, they don’t have to participate in sport, per se. Not all children will relish a competitive game of football or netball, they might shudder at the thought of picking up a tennis racquet, and some may detest the individual nature of gymnastics.
All activity counts, whether they are playing tag in the playground, scooting to school or helping to walk the dog.
Of course, being active at school has its limitations, but there are still plenty of ways to encourage children to take part in something physical every day which they find fun!
Keep reading for some quick and easy tips to get your pupils active at school, enjoying sport and having fun.
Physical education is a key part of every child’s education, promoting physical literacy and encouraging healthy habits.
Children who take part in physical activity from an early age are more likely to continue to stay active throughout their lives, staving off ill health commonly associated with a more static lifestyle.
Taking part in this week is a great reminder that sport and activity should form an integral part of your school’s ethos, and that every child should be taking part in some sort of sport or activity every day.
The Youth Sport Trust is asking schools and families to #PledgetoPlay, which involves a quick sign up process allowing you access to tailored resources for inspiration.
We’ve also got you covered, so here are some fun ideas to help get your school moving and enjoying sport – whatever form that might take!
Sport and activity doesn’t have to be confined to the playground or field. Why not consider getting pupils moving through ‘hopscotch maths’, classroom warm-ups before each lesson, or activity breaks. Even five or ten minutes of movement can help boost flagging energy levels which in turn benefits focus and concentration – this is especially helpful in the afternoon!
Most kids love to let off steam during breaktime, but there are ways to help encourage all children to take part in some movement. Can you add a challenge element to breaktime? Perhaps younger children could be challenged to complete the school’s trim trail three times, or walk or run around the track three times. Older children could be challenged to come up with a sport they’ve designed themselves throughout the five days.
Task the children to find a variety of objects in the school grounds – each time they find something on the list they must race back to the starting point to drop it off. First one to complete the list wins a prize!
National School Sport Week is a great opportunity to introduce some not-so-common sports to children as part of their physical education.
Volleyball is a fun school sport that is easy to set up and suitable for all ages. Children will love trying to hit the ball over the net and score against the other team.
Another fun sport to try is French Cricket. The batsman holds the bat vertically in front of their legs, with the bowler aiming to hit their legs (remember to use a soft ball!). If the ball is hit, the fielder who retrieves the ball is the next bowler.
Here at Premier Education, we’ve produced our very own National School Sport Week resource pack for teachers to use. We’ve included plenty of inspiration and lesson plans to help ensure this fun sporty week is maximised at your school – we hope you find it useful.
Don’t forget, school sport isn’t just for one week of the year. If your school could benefit from highly skilled activity professionals who are trained in a wide range of sports, talk to us about our curricular and extracurricular services.