Build an Activity Wheel

Objective:

Children will contribute ideas of what they like to do to play hard, and then program staff can use these child-approved activities to plan the program's active time.

Materials:

  • Cardboard, cut into one large circle
  • Paper fastener and large popsicle stick
  • Poster-board or large pieces of construction paper cut into triangles
  • Plain or colored paper
  • Markers, crayons, or other art supplies of choice
  • Scissors and tape or paste

Leader Preparation

Create a spinning wheel around which the children will paste their physical activity drawings or pictures cut from magazines. While small spinning wheels may be available at a craft or education supply store (or even from an old game!), you can make one by attaching a flat wood popsicle stick to a paper fastener and securing to cardboard.

Instructions:

  • Tell the children that they will be creating an activity wheel that they can use to choose the games or activities they will do in the afterschool program.
  • Children should think of physical activities that get them "playing hard". Explain:
    • When we "play hard", our heart beats faster, our breath may become heavy or faster, we feel warm or sweat, and it may be hard to chat with friends. Our bodies are "highly active" (you could use the term "vigorous" activity with upper elementary children) when we play team sports, run, ride bikes, dance, play kick ball, tag, or basketball. We should do these things most days of the week to build strong hearts and bones and to improve fitness (when we are fit, it becomes easier to play hard).
  • Invite the children to draw pictures that represent their favorite ways to play hard and tape the pictures to the different triangles on the wheel (you may have children cut their pictures out so they fit).
    • Note: Some children may draw the same thing and that is ok - just put similar pictures on the same triangle.
  • Spin the wheel to choose an activity to do today!
  • Encourage children to move their bodies every day, and use the pictures or listed activities to guide the activity choices in your program.

Extenstion Activities

  • Some children may list enjoyable activities that cannot be done during program time (like roller skating, swimming, etc.) or that they do as part of their daily routine (such as walking the dog). Create "personal" activity wheel for kids to use at home. This can include active as well as quiet time activities that they can do alone or with their family. Have children share their personal activity wheels with the group.
  • Invite children to draw pictures to create a collage poster of every day things that they do to keep their bodies healthy. Ask the group to name some active things they do each day. Give examples, like walking to school, cleaning your room, helping around the house, or playing at recess.
    • Tell the group that it is good to move your body every day!
  • It is important to balance strength and flexibility activities with playing hard, so children may enjoyballetdancing, martial arts, or yoga a few times each week. Create another collage poster with these pictures. Pictures of enjoyable activities that children may only do once in a while, like canoeing, miniature golf, or sledding, also can be pasted to this poster.
  • Have students label the different pictures in both English and the languages they speak. See how many different words you can learn for the same activities!