Find activities and games to help children in K-4 develop fundamental movement skills and cultivate an enjoyment for running. Learn more here.
Between kindergarten and 4th grade kids should develop basic skills through a combination of unstructured play and quality instruction. Do this in a fun, positive way that keeps kids moving without concern for results. During these years, encourage kids to participate in many different types of physical activities and sports. Remember that children should not train for competition or performance, nor should they participate at a level strenuous enough to warrant concern for injuries. The goal is to make physical activity an integral part of kids' lives so they grow up with healthy habits and are equipped for success in recreational or competitive running, or any other sport they choose.
Elementary school running sessions should consist of a variety of activities, each lasting no more than 15 minutes to keep kids engaged. Activities should explore movement, promote body awareness, challenge kids to use fundamental skills, and instill confidence.
For this age group the activities in A Running Start focus on imparting these basic skills:
These skills are easiest to learn at a young age and are important to develop early. They provide a foundation upon which more advanced skills can be efficiently taught when children are older. The elementary activities also introduce concepts of pacing and other important skills for runners.
Focus on fun rather than performance and competition because kids who are having fun will continue running and engaging in sports. Additionally, studies show that physically immature youth who undertake systematic training are at high risk for injuries, abnormal growth and maturation, and psychological burnout. Finally, there is simply no benefit to pushing kids at a young age. Running, like most sports, does not require early specialization for ultimate success. It does however, like all sports, require early enjoyment.
The video segments include the primary benefits and key elements of execution for each activity so you understand its purpose and how to do it properly. While this information should inform your coaching, it is not intended to be shared with your kids and should not cause you to be concerned with performance.
Getting kids active at this age is vital. Active kids are more likely to be active teens and adults. And kids these days are simply not active enough. At this time more than one-third of U.S. children are overweight or obese. Recent studies show that obese 4 year olds have a 20% chance of becoming obese adults while obese teenagers have an 80% chance of becoming obese adults. This illustrates the short, critical window we have to help children develop good fitness habits, increasing the likelihood that they establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle. We need to get kids moving and enjoying it!