Ultimate Guide to Exercise for Children in School and at Home

"Helping kids enjoy being active will set them up to become stronger and healthier teens and adults. Childhood obesity has become a serious epidemic over the last decade, and there are many contributing factors; however, one of the biggest causes is that kids have become more sedentary over the past 10 years or so. In other words, they’re spending a lot more time sitting than they used to. Kids are spending several hours every day in front of a screen (TVs, smartphones, tablets, and other devices). For most kids, there is far too much screen time and not enough physical activity, which can lead to the greater problem of childhood obesity.

This guide will include a list of resources and articles about activities and exercises for children in grades K-12 with the goal of promoting a healthier and more active lifestyle."

Check out the guide:

Ultimate Guide to Exercise for Children in School and at Home

Inclusive Physical Education and Physical Activity

Active Schools, in collaboration with Lakeshore Foundation – National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD), issued a Survey of Providing Inclusive Physical Education and Physical Activity and Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities to Active Schools’ champions who identified themselves as a PE teacher. The purpose of this needs assessment was to identify current practices and needs to providing inclusive PE among teachers. The survey addressed participation levels, class strategies, after school programs, certifications, support, teacher preparation, and the built environment. 

Download the survey report:

Inclusive Physical Education and Physical Activity: Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities

A Guide for Engaging Parents in School Physical Education and Physical Activity

Active Schools, a national movement to help K-12 schools provide students with at least 60 minutes a day of physical education and before, during and after school physical activity, has released a practical resource aimed at getting parents involved in their child’s physical education and physical activity. A Guide to Engaging Parents in Schools Physical Education and Physical Activity: Resources and Examples is designed for teachers, individuals, and groups who work with parents, such as physical education teachers, parent/family engagement staff, principals, PTA/PTOs, and school health/wellness committees.

Research shows that when schools engage families in ways that enhance student learning and parent involvement at home and school, students make greater gains. Charlene Burgeson, Active Schools Executive Director stresses that this pertains to students’ physical learning and development. “Families play an important role in helping students practice the knowledge and skills they learn in physical education class outside of school time. Just like reading and math, what a child learns about health and wellness at school needs to be practiced and reinforced at home.”

The practical 11-page guide, divided into seven easy to use sections, explores various opportunities for parental engagement. From ideas about back to school events and family fitness nights to cultivating active school environments, the interactive guide is full of links to tried-and-true examples — such as newsletters, bulletin boards, presentations, videos, and more.


About Active Schools

What is Active Schools?

Active Schools is a physical activity and physical education solution to ensure 60 minutes of physical activity is the new norm for schools. Powered by a national collaboration of leading health and education organizations, Active Schools streamlines the selection of programs, resources, professional development and funding opportunities, and delivers a customized action plan – making it simple for teachers and strategic for administrators. Ultimately, Active Schools, part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, helps schools develop a culture in which physical activity and physical education are foundational to academic success. 

What support is available?

The national Active Schools offers resources and grants to all schools across the country. You can access their library of online tools and resources at https://www.activeschoolsus.org/resources-grants/

Assessment, Implementation and Measuring Wellness Policies and Practices

The 2014 School Health Index is an online self-assessment and planning tool that schools can use to improve their health and safety policies and programs. Based on CDC’s Coordinated School Health model for improving students’ health and learning, the SHI measures how well schools address six health topics: nutrition, physical activity, unintentional injury and violence prevention, tobacco use prevention, asthma and sexual health. This comprehensive tool will help you to evaluate where your school stands and will guide your team in determining priorities and developing goals.

The Healthy Schools Program website hosts a version of the School Health Index that addresses two health topics: nutrition and physical activity. It also includes resources, access to national experts, and opportunities to earn national awards from the Alliance. 

The National Food Service Management Institute offers a guide to help school districts conduct an evaluation of local wellness policies. This guide details step-by-step instructions for conducting an evaluation, deciding what the results mean, and communicating the findings to stakeholders.

WellSAT: 2.0 was designed to assist schools in assessing the quality of their existing wellness policies. This tool will be especially useful for district-level administrators, wellness policy advisory board members and researchers.

Nutrition Education and Nutrition Promotion

Team Nutrition is an initiative of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to support the Child Nutrition Programs through training and technical assistance for foodservice, nutrition education for children and their caregivers, and school and community support for healthy eating and physical activity. 

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been published every five years as a joint effort between the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA). The guidelines serve as the basis for federal food and nutrition education programs.

Fuel up to Play 60: The NFL Movement for an Active Generation, created in partnership by the National Dairy Council (NDC) and the National Football League (NFL), empowers youth to take actions to improve nutrition and physical activity in their school and personal lives.

Physical Activity Resources

Let's Move! is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.                 

GoNoodle helps kids (and staff) channel their physical and emotional energy for good. Learn more about brain breaks for the classroom.

The JAM School Program is a free program for schools that is designed to incorporate physical activity and health education into the classroom. It provides a weekly one-minute exercise routine known as the JAMmin’ Minute as well as a monthly health newsletter.

Marathon Kids is a running club program for kids, dedicated to improving the health of children by providing them with the tools, motivation and support to live happier, healthier lifestyles. They offer grants of $2,500 per school.  

Celebrating School Wellness Success

Oregon Department of Education/Dairy Council/OSNA School Wellness Award is an award that was created as a way to recognize and celebrate schools with policies, programs and the infrastructure to support and promote the connection between health and academic achievement, healthy eating, physical activity, school employee wellness and community engagement.

Healthier US School Challenge is a voluntary certification initiative that has recognized thousands of schools for their efforts in improving food and beverage offerings, teaching kids about nutritious food choices and being physically active, providing opportunities for physical activity, and having supportive school wellness policies.

Healthy Schools Program National Recognition Award is presented to schools who complete the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s benchmarks.  


National Organizations that Focus on Wellness

USDA's Team Nutrition is an initiative to support the Child Nutrition Programs through training and technical assistance for food service, nutrition education for children and their caregivers, and school and community support for healthy eating and physical activity.

Let's Move! is a comprehensive initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama. It is dedicated to solving the problem of obesity with a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.

Action for Healthy Kids fights childhood obesity, undernourishment and physical inactivity by helping schools become healthier places so kids can live healthier lives by engaging diverse organizations, leaders and volunteers.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is a program founded by the National Dairy Council and NFL, in collaboration with USDA, that empowers students to take charge in making small, everyday changes at school.

The School Nutrition Association is a national, nonprofit organization working to ensure all children have access to healthful school meals and nutrition education. The website includes a resource center for up-to-date school nutrition research, marketing tools, best practices information on running a food service program, nutrition education information, meal preparation resources, and staff appreciation ideas. Current legislative action is also available on the website.

Food Research and Action Center has produced a School Wellness Policy and Practice: Meeting the Needs of Low-Income Students guide that provides sample policies, model programs and key research information that are important tools to address the nutrition concerns of low-income children and communities in the development of school wellness policies.

SHAPE America's mission is to advance professional practice and promote research related to health and physical education, physical activity, dance, and sport.