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Introduction

Click to view a video introduction from Fitness Fun Forever creator Stu Ryan.

As teachers, most of us have at least one thing in common: a genuine concern for students. Physical activity is a vital part of a student’s life that cannot be left solely to the physical education teacher. After school is one time that physical activity can be incorporated into children’s lives. Traditionally, after-school physical activity has included well known games such as kickball, dodge ball, and Duck Duck Goose. While these games are not bad, research shows that there are more appropriate games for children. At first glance, the choice of games students play at recess may seem insignificant. However, a child's experience with physical activity can affect his or her level of physical activity in later life.

The games in this book have been chosen with three specific goals in mind. The first is to maximize each student’s participation time. Secondly, we want to focus on fitness components we hope will continue with the child into adulthood. And thirdly, we should avoid eliminating or singling-out students. These types of games encourage children to be physically active. Traditional games, as mentioned above, often do not incorporate these goals. However, many games can be modified to be more appropriate. When activities are planned with these goals in mind, students are more likely to have a positive, enjoyable experience. Therefore, they are more likely to continue being active throughout their lifetime. In this booklet you will find fun, easy activities that require a minimal amount of equipment. These games are not only fun but are also designed to address many Sunshine State Standards.

Fitness
Research clearly shows that many physical and psychological diseases affecting adults stem from inactivity. Conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and obesity can be partially attributed to a sedentary lifestyle. Research also suggests that dynamic vitality, productivity, and health in our adult population are correlated with youth fitness. Simply put, fit children are more likely to grow into fit and healthy adults. Using the activities in this program presents a unique opportunity to contribute to students' flexibility, body composition, muscular strength and endurance, and cardiovascular efficiency.

Fun
Children are naturally inclined to be active and to want to play. A child rarely enjoys or benefits from physical activity unless he or she is having fun while doing it. An unhappy child will seldom want to participate in sports or games. Unfortunately, many children who have bad experiences related to sports or games often become adults who remember these negative events and form negative attitudes towards physical activity and fitness concepts. One key to ensuring that children will enjoy physical activity and develop positive, lifelong fitness concepts is to design activities that are success oriented. To offer a success oriented program teachers need to maximize participation and minimize the risk of failure. Children will be discouraged if they have to sit out or if they rarely succeed. The activities in this booklet are designed to promote a high level of participation and success. Some of the other keys to ensure the children will have fun are:

  1. focus on the positive
  2. play popular music during the activity
  3. encourage and reward sportsmanship
  4. try to provide equipment for every child
  5. try to play games with smaller groups that will allow more focus on the individual

Forever
There is strong research that states that lifelong participation in physical activity has a positive impact on people’s health and well-being. In other words, physical activity can help everyone look better, feel better, and be healthier. It is important that teachers teach children the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that will lead to regular participation. This program is designed to promote and instill those concepts that will lead to a lifetime of regular physical activity.


Copyright State of Florida Department of State 2002
This document was created in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
Division of Adolescent and School Health, project number U87-CCU408585-10.