Sunday, September 4, 2011


At the last school I taught at, we ran a 20-minute fitness programme each morning.  (This was an effort to instill exercise habits in students as well as get some endorphins flowing through their systems to ready them for all that engaging and absorbing they needed to do thereafter.) We would repeat an activity for an entire week, in rotation with other classes, e.g. skipping, relays, court games etc.

One of my rainy day back-up activities was "Circuits."  This involved the students (through various strategies for dispersion) forming pairs or threes, each at a circuit card - of which there were ten or so spread around the room (or gym) in an obvious shape or path.  A student assistant would most often cue the music, and kiddilicks would repeat the stretch or exercise designated on the card nearest them until I / an assigned student indicated it was time to rotate around the circuit to the next card (blowing a whistle / changing the song to the next track / some other signal).

We've had a few rainy days around here...and the need for exercise and positive engagement is no less important;

Esky is a huge fan of "Circuits!"  She retrieves the bull-clipped cards each morning, removes said clip, very deliberately lays the cards out around her room, and brings a CD to me before I can finish changing Ivy's overnight nappy - that girl means business (while I'm changing business.../snort).

I move around the cards with her, exercising too, and we take turns calling, "Next!"  It helps me to consciously exercise (and set an example) as well as to give Esky some "run time" or "wiggle time," even when the weather isn't the finest.  I really should make a card for Ivy's station; "Eternal Tummy Time."  All this, and my fitness buddy is cuter than Richard Simmons.

Our circuit cards consist of A4 sheets with an exercise or stretch's name and a corresponding illustration, laminated.

Here are some of our cards:

Can you tell which ones Esky is attempting?

Be grateful there are no images of me attempting press-ups...oh boy!  Yes, "The 80's Stretch" is its official this house.

Feel free to grab our images to start your own set, and add some of your own or your kids' ideas to complete it!

Additional Ideas for Exercises / Stretches:
  • Heel Raises (great for Achilles / calf muscles - and for catching your breath between more challenging cards);
  • Hopping (a fave for many toddlers - mine's still learning);
  • Skipping (if you have the space, lay a jump rope or two at that station);
  • Dribbling a ball - in hand or by foot (again, if you're doing it outside or have the space);
  • The Invisible Chair (older kids love to do this up against a wall - great for abs);
  • Dancing (mine loves to freestyle!);
  • Crawling in a circle (another favourite for Esky);
  • Jogging on the spot;
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes on repeat;
  • Spinning / Twirling (dangerous, but irresistable?);
  • Airplanes / Flying (for "superheroes" too); and
  • Leap frog / Thread the Needle / Other pair games - for those willing to join in with their kids or who will have multiple children involved.
I dare someone to make a "Pelvic Floor" circuit card.
You know we should all be doing it.  Boys too - remember?

I welcome any other card ideas! 

Note below:
I have the same conversation with one of my sisters over and over; "I want to be sure I never give my own children less than I gave my classes."  I worked hard, teaching; first in, last out.  I want a keener interest in my own children's learning to be evident through my parenting.  This job is more important.  I regularly need to remind myself of this goal, whilst also balancing the reality - that my classes didn't see me rest, sleep or poop...   That said, I still think it's important when we're in "play" or "learning" mode that I am as willing (or more so) to create, act, and follow-through with my girls as I was with my students.
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