Jacob from West Rolleston School with his SportStart Home Kit
One of the most important gifts we can give our children is a love of sport and physical activity. With parents and caregivers busy balancing work and family commitments, physical activity opportunities outside the school day can be limited. To address this, Sport Canterbury has been trialling a SportStart Home Kit to help make it easier for busy parents and caregivers to support their kids to get active at home.
Working with teacher Rebecca Lambert at West Rolleston School, Sport Canterbury has been trying out the kit with a group of Year Three and Four students. The kit includes equipment, activity cards and a ‘PassSport’ for students to track their progress.
Sport Canterbury Community Sport Manager Vicki Cowley says all the activities are designed to encourage children to explore for themselves ways to throw, field, catch and strike, aligned to the school’s current physical education (PE) unit.
The kit contains a bat, tennis ball, hitting tee or cone, beanbag and chalk to draw targets. Activity cards give guidance on ways of using the equipment, but kids are encouraged to be creative and make up their own games and activities, and record their experiences in their PassSport. Kids are encouraged to go outside when they can, but the kit is designed to prompt inside play as well.
Vicki says the idea behind the SportStart Home Kit is to consolidate learning introduced at school, and support children to have a go at home.
“For example the beanbag is great to use as an ‘inside’ object to throw and strike, but parents can encourage their child to think about what else they could use for their play – like rolled up socks as an object to throw or use rope or string to make hoops, or a big cooking pot for an inside target,” she says.
“We’re also encouraging playing together – family and friends as well as exploring on their own – and have had great feedback from parents and children about families all playing together on an activity for the first time, a dad coming home early from work to play with his daughters, and siblings excited to have played games before school.”
Sport Canterbury are now evaluating the pilot project and considering how to roll it out wider.
“We know that if children can access quality opportunities to be active it inspires ongoing participation and creates a lifelong love of being active, and all the health and wellbeing benefits that come with that,” says Vicki.
“Home is a vital setting for those opportunities, and we’re excited about the response to the Home Kit and ongoing potential to help families and kids get active.”