It's a legitimate question. There are many things that might be called a kids fitness program, but you have to look beyond the name to fully understand how they deliver on the promise the description implies. Of course, as a parent, you might not even know what to expect from a true kids fitness program. Let's give you some answers to both of those questions.
To do that though, let's start by talking about what it is NOT. Many times when things are misunderstood there are assumptions made about them. So before we talk about what a kids fitness program is (or should be), it may be helpful to identify, at least where JumpBunch is concerned, what you won't find in a great kids fitness program.
What A Kids Fitness Program is NOT
- Free Play: There is most certainly a time for this, but a good kids fitness program is structured with specific routines that are needed for young attention spans.
- A Workout: By this we mean the point is not to make kids suffer through an exhausting and humbling program that leaves them with aching muscles the next day.
- Competitive: Sure, as kids get older a little competition is never a bad thing. However, for the youngest kids it is about participating and learning to be active first.
- Athletic Training: We are not seeking to build super athletes and give kids an "edge" over their fellow three year old.
- Sport Specialization: There may come a day when your child is old enough to choose a single sport they truly love and are great at. Today is not that day.
A good kids fitness program never loses sight of the fact that the participants are...KIDS! With that in mind, let's now turn to what such a program looks like.
What A Kids Fitness Program IS
- FUN! Remember the part about it being for kids? Well, kids associate fun with play. So a good kids fitness program makes having fun a core element. This might include fun music, fun coaches, and of course fun activities.
- Kids fitness programs should be diverse. First, remember you are working with shorter attention spans. Second, there are endless ways to be physically active! Kids are learning so much as their minds and bodies develop, so this is the perfect time to make sure they see variety when it comes to active options. This is why the JumpBunch curriculum has more than 70 different lesson plans for each age group!
- Keep it full of praise and encouragement. At these young ages it is about inclusion. A kids fitness program must therefore focus on positive feedback that rewards making an effort, trying something new, and exploring what you can do.
- It should be appropriately led. While kids are encouraged to explore what they can do, there should be a good coach guiding and assisting in this process. This also helps keep children safe as they learn how to work in groups, follow rules, and share during physical activity.
- Finally, a kids fitness program must be developmentally appropriate. What a 2 year old and a 5 year old can do are very different. So the activities offered must adhere to those developmental stages. Even within those age groups, an individual child develops uniquely. With JumpBunch, for example, each lesson plan has progression and regression steps to make sure every child can participate at their own level and grow from there. Of course, the equipment used must also be age-appropriate. This includes using items that are the right size and material for young hands to manipulate and safely handle.
A Final Word on Kids Fitness
It's easy to say you offer a kids fitness program, but this information should give you more insight on what to look for when determining if such a program delivers what the name promises.
If you are interested in learning about being one of those who helps deliver great programs to kids, we'd love to share more with you about JumpBunch. Just like the kids we introduce sports to, perhaps it time you learned something new.