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"Kick It" for Water

Students learn the importance of water and work on their soccer skills in this fun game

Tags: nutrition activities, middle school, additional activities

Description: Students kick a soccer ball around while learning the importance of drinking water.
Objective: Students will be encouraged to drink water instead of soda or sweetened beverages.
Materials: One medium-sized ball for every group of four students; and, optionally, a jug of water and plastic cups
  1. Divide the class into groups of four students. Ask each group to stand in a large square shape with one student in each corner of the box. Students should stand approximately five feet away from each other.
  2. Give each group a ball and ask the students if they know what the best sports drink is.
  3. Tell them it is water, and that they should drink about eight cups of water every day. They should drink more water if they are exercising heavily, especially in hot weather.
  4. Tell them water has no calories, clears the skin, keeps hair shiny, and helps them exercise well. Explain that we lose water from our bodies each day (just by living)— about 3 cups lost from sweating and 2-4 cups from breathing!
  5. Ask them "What happens when we don’t drink as much water as our body needs?" (We are thirsty, get dry skin, chapped lips, feel fatigued (very tired), light-headed, and get headaches.)
  6. Explain that many drinks advertised as sports drinks are high in sugar and can actually dehydrate them so they should try to only drink sports drinks if they are exercising heavily for an hour or more.
  7. Have them pass the ball around the square to their group members in the following ways: kicking the ball only to the person on their right or kicking the ball only to the person on their left.
  8. Tell them with each successful kick, (the ball is both kicked and received), they get a new letter in the word water.
  9. If they make a mistake, all the letters they have accumulated are erased and they must start spelling the word all over again.
  10. Once they have successfully spelled "W-A-T-E-R" eight times, they are finished.

Anyone who engages in physical activity needs to make sure that lost fluids are replaced. It is important that students make sure they drink fluids before, during, and after physical activity.

  • Two hours before physical activity--drink 2-3 cups
  • Five to 15 minutes before--drink 1-2 cups
  • During--drink ½ to 1 cup every 15 to 20 minutes
  • After--drink 2 cups for every pound of weight loss

Sports drinks with glucose, glucose polymer, and sucrose stimulate fluid absorption. The carbohydrates also provide an energy boost for high-intensity workouts. But sports drinks are only necessary when working out for more than an hour. Fruit juice and carbonated sodas are too rich in carbohydrates and can cause stomach cramps and nausea. Students should avoid drinks that contain fructose as the main carbohydrate source (it can cause cramping), or have a lot of sodium or caffeine.

Related National Standards

NHES: 5.8.6, 7.8.1, 7.8.2
NSPE: 1, 5
NS: NS.5-8.6

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

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