When I was a schoolgirl in Minnesota, I mostly hated recess. Some kids gobbled up their lunches so they could maximize playtime. But my friends and I sat in the lunchroom until the monitors shooed us out of the cafeteria. Even then, we often took our time going to the bathroom or retrieving items from our lockers.

Pulling small sledders up hills is great exercise.
Pulling small sledders up hills is great exercise.

Why did we hate outdoor playtime? Mostly because it’s freakin’ cold in Minnesota! We only stayed in if it was raining or below a certain temperature (I don’t remember what that temperature was). But we certainly went outside all winter long. I remember mostly huddling by the doors watching down the hallway for our teacher to come bring us back to our warm classroom.

I didn’t hate PE as much. There were certainly units I liked better than others. I hated the gymnastics unit. I could never do a cartwheel. At the end of the unit, we were to perform a floor routine for our classmates. Embarrassing! Square dancing was the other dreaded activity. It made swimming look super fun.

In high school, I took the all-girls class, which was really fun. Usually I hated the floor hockey, but the girls in my class all stepped up in the absence of boys. We were surprisingly competitive, but only in the healthiest sense. I actually considered taking the class again even though I had fulfilled the requirement for graduation.

I was interested to hear my little New York friend got to choose her gym class. Students are required to come in early twice a week to meet their PE requirement. Maeve takes yoga. How cool is that? I’m a supporter of encouraging physical activity in kids. I think it’s ingrained in our minds that physical activity has to be soccer, baseball or ballet class for kids. It doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t even have to be organized. Some kids might be more interested in yoga, rock climbing, kayaking, skiing or playing Dance Dance Revolution. All of those things are exercise, even though they seem like playing.

This weekend, I’m planning to play like a kid! My niece and nephews and I have big plans for sledding, ice skating and Duck, Duck, Goose.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that K-5 students get at least 150 minutes a week. According to this article from NPR, schools, like Maeve’s are getting creative with physical activity.

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