Fidgety, distracted, bored: these adjectives are synonymous with waiting in line. Add hunger and consider that those in line are young children in a lunch line. Each weekday when children are waiting in the lunch line, they are asked to remain idle while everything else within their body may be saying the opposite. So, what if those extra full minutes were used in a constructive manner, giving children an opportunity for engagement and some movement?
Activity is essential to children and movement provides benefits of activity to children before they sit down to eat their lunch. There are three important types of physical activity for children: aerobic activity, muscle strengthening, and bone strengthening. The recommendation is that children have one hour of activity a day. So, why not add activity in the lunch line by finding small ways to keep kids moving, focused, and engaged?
Below are some suggestions for adding activity to lunch line waiting time. Disclaimer: Do what children can handle and make sure you aren’t being disruptive in the cafeteria or lunch line process. Also, note that these activities may be done by teachers who are on duty or some school districts may require all physical activity to be done by physical activity teachers
Finding ways to keep high energy students interested, engaged, and distracted while using physical activity can create an environment that is fun as opposed to forced militant behavior. Waiting time does not have to be wasted time!
Vanessa Spero-Swingle, Florida State University Extension
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