As final tests and exams roll in with the warming months (it’s June already; can you believe it?!) kids will be studying well after the final school bell. Some kids have the luxury of after-school programs, sensory paths or local organizations, like open gym or local youth sports leagues, but many do not, particularly in urban or underdeveloped areas. Yet it is still vitally important that kids get enough exercise, and not just for the physical benefits.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is an absolute link between academic test scores and outdoor activity. They found that “There is substantial evidence that physical activity can help improve academic achievement, including grades and standardized test scores,” according to the paper, which included data from more than 50 studies. As a result, in a section titled “Implications for Policy,” the CDC states, “Increasing or maintaining time dedicated to physical education may help, and does not appear to adversely impact, academic performance.”
In other words, the data indicates that as long as the child is getting some form of physical activity, there is a positive correlation with increased test scores—something every parent loves to see. But it’s important that schools, specifically, provide such activities. Schools, after all, can’t be in a child’s home after the bell gets out. By providing regular access to recess, schools can ensure that their students are getting at least an hour of exercise per day. Be it by offering daily access to recess—which is currently lacking in 43 states—or after-school programs like open gym, here are just a few ways your school might do so:
- Set up an after-school program that provides access to both indoor and outdoor physical activities. As we’ve posted on the blog before, be sure to zone your activity space properly with a mix of custom playground stencils. Don’t forget our as-seen-on-tv recess stickers. Hurting for budget? Youth.gov provides links to many different funding grants and opportunities.
- Provide “brain breaks” during the school day. “Brain breaks” are short breaks of 10-15 minutes that allow kids to put down the pencil and get their hearts pumping, right in the classroom or hallway. Our Super Stickers and Sensory Path line is the perfect match for this sort of short break, and they look great in the classroom!
- Ensure that your school has access to mandatory daily recess. Only seven (7) states currently provide their students state-wide with daily recess, but be sure to check your local county or town board for specifics. If your school doesn’t have access to daily recess, go to your local representative or call your governor!
Testing is an important part of the academic year, and final exams are here. Make sure your students are being given the greatest opportunity they can to succeed by providing daily exercise!