How to get kids participating in physical activities through PLAYBuilder

Sport and physical activity are helpful for developing individuals and society as a whole. The benefits of physical activity are recognized across the world for their positive contribution to well-being. This can come through recreational sport that is more unstructured, active living, free play, and structured sport. However, even though there is a wide understanding that these benefits exist, it can sometimes be hard to motivate kids to get moving. PLAYBuilder, in conjunction with the right mentality and approach, can help solve this problem in a rapidly growing digital world.

how to get kids participating in physical activities
Children participating in physical activity in a nursery setting

Definition of Physical Literacy

“Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.”
– The International Physical Literacy Association, May 2014

Physical literacy is the building blocks of an active lifestyle. If leaders are able to get children being active the right way from a young age, then there is a high likelihood that they will be active for their entire lives. Long-Term Development includes three main early development stages: Active StartFUNdamentals, and Learn to Train. PLAYBuilder comes with content aligned with these stages of development so you can run quality lessons quickly and easily. These lessons are meant to be both fun and developmentally appropriate for the children and kids participating in them.

Definition of physical literacy
Kids participating in a bean bag race, developing their physical literacy

Why children can be unmotivated to participate

Although it is easy to run lesson plans through PLAYBuilder, it does not guarantee that all participants will want to join in on the fun. Like with any environment of learning, there will be times when some kids don’t want to participate. This can happen for various reasons, some of which include:

  • Social factors – Kids don’t want to be different from each other. Perhaps the uninvolved child feels “weird” participating.
  • Skills deficit – There is a chance that the child is not at the same level of physical literacy development as the majority of the class and thus is nervous to try.
  • Boredom – The kids may be bored with participating in an activity. Maybe it has been done too many times the same way?
  • Child with a disability – There are many potential disabilities that could make a child feel uncomfortable participating with their peers.

Motivation tips for disengaged kids

As a leader, there will be times when your participant(s) will not want to take part in activities. This can be due to various factors and is especially common in younger children. We’ve put together 7 tips to get your kids participating in your PLAYBuilder lessons more consistently!

  1. Praise efforts, not results – Frame activities as being about trying your best rather than winning or losing
  2. Mix it up – Kids are more interested when there are varying activities throughout the lessons and not a routine of the same thing every time
  3. Ask questions – If participants are asked about what they learned at the end of each lesson, they are more likely to feel a deeper connection to it the next time
  4. Let them pick – It’s ok to let your participants decide which games to play from time to time. The nice thing about PLAYBuilder is that all lessons are vetted for quality physical literacy activities so no matter what you choose, your participants will benefit!
  5. Offer take-home challenges – If your participants liked the skills they learned that day, then offer simple games they can do at home to keep improving. There are many options to choose from in the PLAYBuilder grade-specific content packs.
  6. Make it FUN – The activities in PLAYBuilder are meant to develop physical literacy while also keeping it fun for participants. Make them your own by customizing your wording based on what you know your participants like. For instance, in the “Alphabet Balance”, you could have them spell funny animal names if you know they like animals!
  7. Celebrate small wins – If a participant is shy and does something well (like great throwing form for example), vocally support them by saying “great job” specifically to them in front of the group. This will motivate them to keep participating while also letting the class know of the proper technique that one of their colleagues is doing.
Children developing physical literacy skills through PLAYBuilder
Children trying hula hoop and developing physical literacy skills

If you tried out PLAYBuilder and ran an activity or two, let us know how it went in the comments below!

If you are new to PLAYBuilder and do not yet have an account with us, request a demo today and we will show you everything you need to know to get up and running quickly with your physical literacy programming.

Published by Digital Services Coordinator, Sport for Life

Zac is the Senior Coordinator of Digital Services for the Sport for Life Society. Zac oversees the creation, implementation, and progression of our digital services as well as manages all inbound and outbound client relationships that pertain to them.

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