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Physical literacy and 30 days of active play

Published: 31.03.2021

We’re bouncing like the Easter Bunny into another month at Move, Laugh & Learn and this month we’d like to help you create your very own activity Activity Action Plan!

Don’t worry, we’re still going to share awesome play planners every month for squad members, but this is about making physical activity part of your every-day routine.

Think; trying new things, finding out if you like to move a different way, and then rewarding yourself when you’ve cracked your goals.

But first, have you ever heard of ‘physical literacy’?

What’s that? I hear you ask! (or maybe that’s just me...)

Well, dear Mummy, Daddy or Grandparent Reader, read on and let me enlighten you.

Physical literacy is the term that looks at activity from the view of the whole person, which includes your emotional, physical and mental engagement in physical activity – how you behave, think and take part.

But for our purposes, let’s simplify things.

Physical skills are like literacy skills. When we teach kids how to read, they start with simple words and build up their vocabulary. The same applies to physical skills with simpler movements building up to perform more difficult activities like riding a bike or playing football. Like building blocks, each skill needs the one before it to make sure it’s strong.

Why does physical literacy matter?

When kids have new and positive experiences with physical activity, they come to know that active play is fun. This leads to a strong motivation to want to be physically active and play other sports and learn new skills. Overall, this promotes an active lifestyle which ultimately leads to good health habits later in life.

The psychological benefits…

Confidence! As each new skill or movement is mastered, kids build confidence in their body’s ability. That means they will have the confidence to get involved at school, in class, in PE and in the yard at playtime. Have fun playing club sports and making new friends. Having the confidence to enjoy every opportunity. And that’s all we want for them isn’t it? Of course it is!

Now that we know all of that, let’s get back to the business of building the April Activity Action Plan for your family.

First, and this is really important, don’t plan to do something huge or time consuming if you know it’s unlikely to happen. Start off with manageable things that you will do. But also think about trying out a new sport or activity a couple of times during the month – when you have the chance.

Second, plan to reward yourself (and your family) at the end.

Here’s a template I’ve come up with, you don’t have to follow my suggestions, but you must write it down! There’s also a blank(ish) template for you to think about your own ideas.

As you make your plan, think about where you live, what works for your family, when you’ll be able to do the activity, and best of all what makes your family laugh!

If it’s fun, you’re more likely to get it done.

Here’s some ideas;

  • Bunny hop races across the living room/down the hall
  • Skip around your garden
  • Bounce on the trampoline100 times (my bladder can’t cope with that, so I run around it while the kids bounce!)
  • Walk up and down the stairs 5 more times than you normally would (so for parents, that’s 1005 times, instead of 1000!)
  • Create a fun little workout for yourself; do it once on the first couple of days, then increase. For example 6 star jumps, 6 high-knees, 6 heel taps, 60 seconds jogging on the spot.
  • Pick your favourite song and dance like crazy to it. Then pick 2 fave’ songs… The Prodigy works well in our house!

And here’s some ideas for rewarding your family for all that activity:

  • Movie night, with all the trimmings.
  • Family disco.
  • Sleep-over in the living room / camp in the garden.
  • Birthday-party style afternoon; balloons, party food, pass the parcel, all of it.
  • Theme park visit – once we’re allowed!
  • Picnic adventure at a local park.

Rewards should be something you can really look forward to as a family and get excited about. Think about how your family likes to celebrate a special occasion? That’s the charm.

Whatever you manage to do all contributes to your, and your children’s, physical literacy journey. You’ll be able to notice what you like and what you don’t like. Make sure you do more of what you do like, but either way, it’s all good!!

Here’s to an April that has you and your kids hop, skipping and jumping with joy – remember the sillier and fun-filled, the better!

Oh, and Happy Easter too.



*Disclaimer/Referencees*

I use various sources to write these news articles including the NHS (UK & Scotland), the Australian Govt. Dept. of Health, World Health Organisation (WHO), Harvard University childhood health articles and what I experience as a mum. For this blog I also referred to the International Physical Literacy Association (IPLA) website www.physical-literacy.org.uk