Using Pedometers to inspire a generation
Many schools have now become part of the ‘Healthy Schools’ initiative as the plan to develop a generation of healthier, more physically capable children begins to take shape. Improved dietary habits, provision of healthier food at snack and meal times as well as a greater focus on Physical Education and activities both during and after school hours, are all part of a drive by successive governments to fight the threat of childhood obesity and the problems that this can cause in later life. Sometimes however motivating the children to do tasks can be problematic.
Many would rather opt for the safety and sedentary nature of playing computer games or watching television, to performing a physical activity. How can you encourage these children in particular, to put down their joypad or remote control and involve themselves in a simple activity that is going to be far more beneficial for their health?
The answer could come by providing them with something as simple as a pedometer.
These fantastic little gadgets are fantastic for promoting a keen sense of wanting to move about within children. If you took a class of 30 children and gave each of them a pedometer and explained how they work to the class and stated that if the class managed to achieve a combined total of 50,000 steps by the end of each day, they would receive an extra 15 minutes play on Friday, the response would be almost universally enthusiastic. Children would happily walk extra distance to gain those extra crucial steps. A pedometer which clips on a belt/belt strap or one that is mutli-coloured and/or multi-functioned pedometer can increase interest in them.
This enthusiasm and willingness to strive by using a simple pedometer can feed into so many other areas of the curriculum too. Children can keep a record of how many steps they make in a PE lesson and plot graphs to show how much more exercise they are doing over a period of time. The pedometer can also encourage children to ask their parents, who may usually take them by car, to walk to school each day. The data provided by the pedometer can also be used in maths lessons as a form of data, allowing children to both analyse results and predict how much exercise they will do in the future.
The great thing about pedometers with children is that the child is not in competition with another child. Instead the child competes only against themselves to see how much more they are willing to do to become healthier and do more exercise. You can also use a team approach within a class or year group to set a much larger target, with suitable rewards in place for the children should they achieve the target (for example, setting a year group a monthly target of 1 million steps, or perhaps a termly target of walking a distance that equates to the moon and back between them!).
Pedometers are simple to use, effective, motivational and entirely addictive. Even adults are shocked to find how much, or how little, they walk each day!
Polygon Corporate can provide fantastic pedometers for schools or businesses, all branded with your school badge or business logo free of charge and delivered quickly to your school. They are a simple but effective way to help the children in your care, take their first steps towards a healthier lifestyle!