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Health & Fitness

A popular activity to increase the fitness of children – and also their parents – is a regular Friday morning  “JOG and JAW “ !

Usually carried out in the spring/summer term, children and their parents meet at the school playground/sports field at 8:15am – and either run or walk around a designated area for 40 minutes.

Each time that a lap is completed they receive a hole punch in their “lap card” and after 20 completed laps ( can take a couple of weeks ) everyone collects their coloured FOOT reward to add to their collection chain – then they pick up a new lap card and make off for a different coloured foot.

This is a great activity with lots of fun for the children and the adults.  Children love to run with their friends ( or parents ) while some parents just like to walk around with others, catching up on news and gossip !

Either way it’s a great way for the children to have fun getting fit and setting themselves up for a great learning day and the parents adding some exercise to their week and catching up with other parents before the busy day starts.

 

Healthy Eating

How do we encourage our children to replace those naughty and tempting sugar snacks, drinks, crisps and cookies that lunch boxes are often filled with ?

Pick a term during the year ( could also be all year round ) and every time that children replace sugar snacks, drinks, crisps and cookies with a healthy item – fruit, cut vegetables, grapes, raisins, water etc. – they receive a hole punch on their “ healthy option card”.  After 20 recorded food swaps, the children receive a coloured fruit or vegetable reward ( or maybe the healthy heart reward ) to add to their collection chain.  The more swaps that they manage to achieve, the more different coloured rewards that they can earn and add to their collection chains.

Its a really fun way of encouraging children to consider healthy options for their school snacks. Once they start replacing the old snacks with new healthy options – they may develop a taste for them !

Children having school meals can take part as well, adding fruit and vegetables to their lunch meals and completing their “healthy option card “.

And we all know that children who eat healthier foods and snacks during the day are more likely to pay attention in class and not ride the blood sugar roller-coaster that so many processed and sugar filled foods send them on.

 

Reading, Listening & Communicating

When I was at school years ago ( not too many ! ) I used to love reading comics, books and magazines.  This infused me with a long term love of reading, sentencing and paragraph building skills and the ability to communicate simply and confidently.  Today our children have so many types of medium competing with one another – all fighting to get a moments time with their messages eg. TV, computers, social media, internet etc.

Lets reward our children with taking time to read, listen and communicate.  Each time that children read new material outside of the curriculum for 10/15 minutes they earn a tick in their reading card.  20 ticks ( +/_  ) earns them a coloured BOOK reward for their collection chain. This represents over 4 hours reading ( can be over a term ).  What a great, fun way of taking time to read and get additional rewards for their collection chains !

Equally taking the time to Listen in class and to learn how to be articulate in their communication with their teachers, peers and “little/older  ones “ can add to their collection of rewards – the Mobile represents a modern way that children already listen and communicate.

 

Great Ideas !

Children are full of great ideas, but are not always encouraged to tell us about them – in many cases they lack confidence or think that their idea is not very good.  Lets encourage the children to put their “Thinking Caps “ on and let us into their world of fresh ideas and thoughts.  They can be ideas that challenge ( or reinforce ) current thinking in subjects, new ideas for playground activities,  menu items at lunchtime etc.

Learning activities can be arranged to help children learn others good ideas.  Perhaps they can play roll scientists/musicians/politicians/inventors etc – and reveal what clever ideas these people had and what differences they made etc.  A great fun way of getting children to come up with ideas and be confident enough to tell.  Great ideas deserve great rewards ( coloured Thinking Caps for their collection chains ).

The Caps can also be given out for schools that reward children with caps ( similar to the caps England presents to sports people who represent their country ).

 

Geography, Environment & Taking Care of the Planet

Children are already learning about The Rainforest, the Deserts, different types of materials on Earth, populations etc.  Sometimes being able to open a map of the World and be able to identify 20+/- different countries, their capital cities, religions, economies and temperature conditions – this is a great additional way of getting children really involved in learning, having fun – and also being able to add a World reward to their collection chain.  It is a bit like the spelling bee competitions held during throughout the year – it’s so much fun learning all of these facts and having a cool reward at the end.

Equally, it is vital that our children learn about the effects of waste, carbon and pollution to our Planet.  If children can be encouraged to put items into their recycling boxes at home – earn a tick on their recycling card ( probably courtesy of an impressed parent ! ) they are on their way to collecting their coloured World reward for their collection chain.  Perhaps 20 different times of collecting items for recycling earns them their reward, there are lots of colours to collect !

 

What a Star !

Children are all stars – they are all capable of excelling and proving themselves worthy of praise and rewarding – either verbally or through reward systems.

One little boy I know sent a letter to the Prime Minister, The Queen and his favourite Pop Star asking them to help ban smoking as it killed his Gran.  He certainly qualified for rewards for communication, ideas and health – but he especially earned himself a STAR reward for his collection chain because he brought so many of these important disciplines together .  His letters were typical 8 year old spelling mistakes and messy handwriting, but he was a star to his parents and his teachers.

Children can also gain Star rewards through their widening knowledge of our planets, galaxies, stars and universes.  Maybe drawings of how they see them all fitting together and sizes, distances away from one another, moons and living conditions in Space – they can earn many coloured Stars for their collection chains with learning about what is an infinite world !

 

Love & Kindness – and Healthy Eating

One little girl asked me once – what does my heart look like, does it look like a Valentines heart ?   A great question and a little tricky to answer ( I managed to fumble through..) but our hearts are more than what they look like, it is also about how we look after them, why they flutter at times and how we use their image for acts of love and kindness.

My local school has just awarded its first heart in school assembly to a little girl who is always kind to the “smaller children” on the playground, helping them when they need the toilet or Matron, playing with them when they are on their own, and generally showing great kindness and empathy when she herself is quite young ( 8 ).  She has added her first coloured reward to her collection chain and I am sure that she will add more in the coming years.