Written by: Stephanie Shantz, Media Coordinator, Ever Active Schools
From cold snaps and snowstorms to sunny days and perfect, snowman-making snow, living through an Alberta winter means being prepared for almost anything. And when winter weather sets in, children tend to spend more time inside: recesses get cancelled, playgrounds become deserted and the urge to hunker down and hibernate gains momentum.
Physical activity is vital to the health and well-being of children. It leads to better focus and concentration at school, promotes social-emotional growth and development, and improves overall physical health. While children may not be able to get outside as frequently or for as long during the winter months, finding ways to make physical activity a priority in the winter can improve student outcomes while boosting the fun factor at school on those chilly days.
Here’s how to make it happen:
KEEP WINTER GEAR AT SCHOOL
Consider sending a letter home outlining your commitment to taking your students outdoors for fresh air and physical activity all winter long. Ask parents to send winter gear that can remain at school during the week. This relieves students of the need to transport bulky winter wear back and forth to school daily (and reduces the risk of items getting lost/forgotten). If resources permit, keep a stash of extra mittens and hats in the classroom for those who need them.
HAVE A RECESS PLAN
It can be hard to get students active at recess when the snow is too deep to access sports fields and playground equipment. Come up with a few activities that will motivate students to get moving in the snow – such as snow tag or a sled race. Check out our winter activities poster for more ideas.
GET ACTIVE INDOORS
Sometimes it’s just too cold to go outside. When the deep freeze strikes, make it a priority to get your students active indoors. This could be something as simple as a game of musical chairs or taking an active break to do some stretches together. Ever Active Schools also offers resources that can help you implement even more fun and creative activities. For example, our Don’t Walk in the Hallway decals are an easy way to modify school spaces and help activate your students. Another option to incorporate more physical activity into your classroom is a Daily Physical Activity Bin.
TAKE A WINTER WALK
Walking is an easy, fun and accessible way to activate your students all winter long. You could even include a scavenger hunt and have students search for winter nature items along the path.
Remember to register your class or school community for Winter Walk Day and join other schools and communities across the province in getting out and active this winter!
Keep in mind, getting students moving is good for their bodies and minds. With a bit of planning, encouragement, and commitment, your students can stay active all winter long.
The ideas in this post were inspired from Teach Hub’s article on winter recess activities.