Why should camp counselors consider including more Physical Literacy in their programming?
In order for children to be successful in learning FUNdamental Movement Skills and improving their physical literacy, it is important that they feel safe and comfortable while doing so. You should provide an environment where children can learn new skills, build off existing ones, and create confidence in their ability to move
If children feel confident in their abilities they might want to try different activities and increase their movement vocabulary which then increases their physical literacy!
Wait a minute… so physical literacy the same thing as physical activity?
NO! Physical Literacy is a framework or ideology that help guides what physical activity will look, sound and feel like! Physical Literacy takes into account the child’s social, emotional, physical, and mental abilities to create a physical activity experience that is fun and engaging for ALL.
For complete physical literacy, children should learn movement and sport skills in four basic sport environments:
- On the ground – the basis of most games, sports, dances and physical activities
- In the water – the basis of all aquatic activities
- On the snow and ice – the basis of all winter sliding activities
- In the air – the basis for gymnastics, diving and other aerial activities.
Failure to develop physical literacy puts children at a great disadvantage when it comes to full engagement in physical activity and sport. Developing physical literacy in all children requires a combined effort from parents, guardians, teachers and sport coaches and even you, camp counselors!
It’s important to remember that children aren’t just miniature adults. Although children mature and learn at different rates, almost all children learn FUNdamental Movement Skills in the same sequence and phases. For almost every skill, children need to pass through a series of developmental stages. Few can skip a particular stage and still learn the skill. Although, some may pass through a developmental stage within a very short space of time. Learn more about the FUNdamental Movement Skills here (Coaching Association of Canada).
How much physical activity do kids need each day?
Resources to include more physically literate activities into your camp day!
- Active for Life 10-Week Lesson Plan (Based on age) – website
- Maximum Engagement in Physical Activities activity suggestions based on age – Resource (My personal favourite resource for designing a PL program)
- Physical Literacy Lesson Plan for K- 3 -PISE Resource
- Physical Literacy Lesson Plan for Gr. 4-5 – PISE Resource
- Developing Physical Literacy in Kids 0-12 – Canada Sports for Life Resource
- Run, Jump Throw Developing Fundamental Movement Skills-PHE Resource
- Multi-Cultural Community Activities- Resource for International Games
- PLayTubs Flipbook – Linda Whitefield Healthy Kids Ottawa Resource
- Recognizing optimal challenge infographic
- Hop, Skip, Jump – games resource
The Gender Divide
If a girl hasn’t participated in sports by the age of 10, there is only a 10% chance that she will be physically active as an adult. Only 16% of adult women report sport participation.
The difference in physical activity behaviours between boys and girls starts as young as 6 years old. This difference only increases as children grow older.
Physical literacy is a theory we can use in practical experiences to ensure our girls and women stay active and healthy for life.
Resources on the gender divide in sport and physical activity:
- Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity -website
- Actively Engaging Women and Girls- resource
- The Importance of Retaining Girls in Sports- article
- Female Coach Mentorship Project – website/ course
- Play for Change- website
- Gender Issues in Physical Education: Female Students’ Perspectives and Experiences- article
- Girls Lose Out in PE Gender Gap- article
- Why Are Girls Less Physically Active than Boys? – research article