Guest Blog Post by Cliff Sperber, Director of Outreach, NYRR Youth & Community Services
As COVID-19 related school closures continue across the country and we head into summer vacation, it’s more important than ever to keep children moving. Rising New York Road Runners, NYRR’s national, free youth fitness program, is designed to develop movement skills in kids of all ages and abilities. We believe in the power of physical activity to keep families physically and mentally strong, and these unprecedented times have not deterred us in our mission to do just that!
In response to the closing of schools, Rising New York Road Runners has introduced Active at Home, a new online resource that provides free, fun, and adaptable fitness activities for kids to continue their physical education from home. As an organization, we believe that PE, like STEM and social sciences, should not be put off while students are learning remotely.
When creating the Active at Home platform, it was important that the activities be suitable for all students regardless of their access to indoor or outdoor spaces. All of the games and exercises are safe to practice under space constraints while adhering to social distancing guidelines and require no equipment.
Resources include weekly PE classes, activities grouped by age, detailed instructions and photos for parents and educators to help kids with proper form, and an activity tracker. The site also includes instructional videos featuring Olympic medalist Jenny Simpson, who is an Ambassador & Special Adviser to the program. To learn more, check out her TV interview introducing Active At Home.
Here are a few examples of the PK-5 activities you’ll find each week:
— Trace the Shape —
- Have participants skip around the playing area.
- Call out different shapes, such as circle, square, triangle, figure eight, the letter S, etc. Use a variety of shapes to keep participants engaged.
Instructions: Participants skip the shape twice and then return to general skipping.
— Fruit Basket —
- Set up several large hoops around the outside of the playing area as fruit baskets.
- Place colored beanbags all over the open area.
- Say “Oh, no! All the fruit fell out of the basket!”
- Ask participants to move using different locomotor movements to pick up one beanbag (piece of fruit) at a time and toss it into the baskets (hoops).
- Have the participants call out the name of the fruit they are tossing into the basket.
- Variation: Have participants match colored beanbags to the same colored hoop.
For more at home resources, check out the Rising New York Road Runners Facebook group. The group, which is designed to support and build community around Active at Home. features daily activities and inspiration, and encourages members to share their own tips, ideas, stories, and more.
About New York Road Runners (NYRR)
New York Road Runners, whose mission is to help and inspire people through running, serves 670,000 runners of all ages and abilities annually through races, community runs, walks, training, virtual products, and other running-related programming. Our free youth programs and events serve 125,000 kids in New York City’s five boroughs and 250,000 kids nationally.
For more information on how NYRR can help provide your students or children with vital physical education resources during these unprecedented times, please email [email protected].