Many of the pupils I work with in an SEMH setting benefit from breaking up their sessions with outdoor physical games or activities. Particularly for those pupils who have ADHD, it’s a real challenge to stay indoors and at a desk all day without regular movement breaks. Physical activities can really help children cope with the increased stress and anxiety of 2020. A 2016 report revealed that increased physical activity also helps to prevent and treat childhood depression.
My own observations indicate that many of my own pupils who are finding learning difficult often run outside, go straight to the bike shed to take a bike for a spin on the track. I don’t believe this to be coincidence and feel that the aerobic exercise must contribute to some degree of self-regulation.
With the outbreak of Covid-19, our usual choice of games and physical activity has been disrupted by the latest guidance for schools. We are all being asked to minimize contact with each other maintain social distancing wherever possible. This has an impact on contact sports such as football and rugby. So, with all this in mind, we need to go back to the drawing board and rethink the games we know can still allow for sufficient energy release, still build team building skills and are fun to play whilst minimising (not eliminating) contact!
I’ve though of a few and listed these below:
Racing/Relays/Sack races/Obstacle Courses - Basically anything that involves running in your own lane or being in a team where players go one at a time.
Rounders or Cricket – These are games where the players are naturally spread out. In Rounders, the pitchers will be spread out and the runner will have contact for a short period when they reach one of the bases.
Flag Football – Flag Football is a version of American football. Instead of tackling the opponent, you have to remove a ‘flag’ from their flag belt.
Racket sports – Tennis, Badminton or table tennis (although of course, table tennis would be limited to two players) enable for play to occur at a distance.
Cycling – In my setting we’re privileged to have a bike track and we simply ask the children to wipe the handlebars down with an anti-bacterial wipe after using them.
Let me know if there are any sports that you can have thought of or even made up and feel free to share in the Instagram feed also!