YARD SCARS – My lawn looks like crap and I couldn’t be more proud

With every skinned knee and childhood scar, there is usually a glowing or harrowing story attached. Kid scars are like badges of honor or kid tattoos. Proof we played. Proof we fell and proof we got up and tried again and again.

Over the years our yard has also been the victim of scars. One glance and you can see where the grass slowly turned to dust where tackles were made, Wiffle balls pitched, and three-point shots mastered. Our once green lawn is now riddled with what I now proudly call YARD SCARS and I couldn’t be happier. Here’s why…

Basketball
The more we play, the larger the scars!

About five years ago when my kids were 8, 10, and 11 years old, they played football in our front yard with friends. Their field was about 25 yards long by 15 yards wide with our house as one sideline and a sidewalk on the other. Not ideal for most, but perfect for them. After playing night after night, our yeard was riddled with yard scars.

As parents, we all know time passes quickly as our children grow up, so one would think to witness my kids playing hard, having a blast with friends, and problem-solving for hours would be calming and joyful. However, at the time, I was completely stressed out about our lawn’s appearance. Every bare spot worn out by dives and sprints were all I could see.

I slowly felt myself evolve into cranky, old Mr. Shannon from my hometown. Now, this was a man who took pride in his yard. Every week, he manicured his baseball field size lawn as if prepping for the Masters. But instead of golfers showing up, my friends and I did, merely to retrieve a few hundred stray passes that flew over his fence.

Back in the ’70s, the quality of your lawn defined your character as a homeowner and emphasized you were a good neighbor. Mr. Shannon was no exception. He would chase us off his yard as soon as our Pro-Keds broke a blade of his grass. So, using Mr. Shannon as a reference point for yard maintenance, I come by the stress honestly.

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Actual Pro-Keds – Remember these?

I take pride in our landscaping but with all that football playing the once beautiful grass gradually faded from deep green to yellow, to tan, to just plain dirt.

YARD SCARS!

Then a little thing I like to call perspective shook me back into reality.

God bless my wife. She had to talk me off the ledge. She REGULARLY reminded me we are fortunate to have active kids with friends who want to play OUTSIDE and at our house. If yard scars were our biggest problem, then consider us lucky. Then she’d add that line, as if reading from an empty nest script, “Imagine in five years when our lawn will be that boring, unscathed green …we’ll miss our scarred up yard soon enough.”

She was right. Perspective.

Five years later, my lawn looks crappier than ever and I couldn’t be more thankful! I still take the same pride in mowing, weeding, edging and blowing, but in a time when digital devices can often dominate a child’s day, my kids continue to appreciate playing outside. As a result, there are yard scars of different sizes, shapes, and levels of severity.

There’s a large triangular-shaped scar under our basketball hoop from the hours of shooting games they periodically play. Two of my favorite scars are the oval-shaped pitching mound, and the sunken and severely bare batter’s box from countless innings of Wiffle ball. First, second and third bases are also scarred so there’s no longer a need to drop Frisbees or sweatshirts as bases.

 

Above: Pitcher’s mound, batter’s box, and first base in our backyard.

Have you ever set up a badminton court in your backyard? If not prepare yourself for the utter destruction of nearly every blade of grass within the rectangular boundary. And if you play after a light to moderate rain, yard scars can quickly become a mud pit! AWESOME!

Badminton

As I watch our children grow up and move away too quickly, here’s what I’ve learned. Enjoy the yard scars now, the grass will grow back.


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September’s START THE SCHOOL YEAR “WRITE” Fitness Challenge

It’s once again time for our students to Flourish with Fitness by taking the Start the School Year Write fitness challenge. This challenge offers a unique combination of physical exercises to promote strength and endurance, as well as writing and educational challenges to help stimulate the mind and fine motor skills in preparation for another great school year. What better way to get back into the flow of school!

The Start the School Year Write fitness challenge consist of a calendar and an alphabet fitness key.

Each day of the month will have a Word and Workout of the Day.  The words and workouts become longer and more challenging throughout the month. Added Bonus: On the back of the calendar, write five sentences or more using any of the words of the day. 

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  1. Locate the Word of the Day on the calendar.
  2. Match each letter of the word to the “Alphabet Fitness Key” to decipher the workout.
  3. Complete the Workout of the Day.

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Example: September 1 – Art

 A30-Second High Plank, RHop on one foot 5 times, T10 Burpees

At the end of the month, students can turn in their calendars to receive an award certificate and a toe token. I also post their names on the door outside the gymnasium for added recognition and motivation. Our students are required to complete at least ten days in order to receive an award.

Back to School Certificate Screen

Click START THE SCHOOL YEAR WRITE for an editable copy of the fitness challenge.

Click START THE SCHOOL YEAR WRITE PDF for a PDF version of the fitness challenge.

Click Back to School Write Certificate for a copy of the award certificate.

 

A-L-P-H-A-B-E-T Fitness


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The Art of Losing – Parents! Stop yelling at your kids and referees after a game!!!

How we react, how we communicate, and the lessons we teach our kids following a youth athletic event is CRUCIAL to their social development!

Keeping Kids in motion

I recently had the honor of coaching my son’s U9 lacrosse team.  As a culminating event, we participated in a 2-day tournament along with several other Metro Atlanta teams.  The weather was beautiful and the competition was great!  However, as I coached our games and watched several others, I began to notice a pattern develop.  When teams began to face adversity and ultimately lose a game, storm clouds would roll in despite the cloudless skies.  Parents would inevitably begin screaming at the other team, blaming the referees, and demanding retribution.   Instead of greeting their children with smiles following the game, they would instead seek out a coach, referee, or another parent to demonstrate their disgust, all in plain view of their sons.  What message is this sending their child?  Frustrated and disgusted, I was inspired to send the following message to the parents of my team.

It’s always tough…

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My 11 Favorite Pieces of Equipment for Primary PE for 2019

In my research of why top 10 lists are so appealing to readers on the internet, the very first article to pop up was called, “The Top 10 Reasons that Top 10 Lists are so Popular…” There’s a list for EVERYTHING! In my opinion, the reason they’re so appealing is that they pique our interest. Top 10 lists are quick to read and simple to understand. They let us know how we fare on a given topic, and on many occasions, provide useful information to the reader. So as my son would say in my post on motivation, “WHY NOT ONE MORE?”.

So here are my TOP 11 favorite pieces of equipment for Primary PE. I am updating this post with the most suggested addition to my original list: MUSIC!

Click on pictures of equipment to purchase today and start playing!

  1. Ion Audio Pathfinder | High Power All-Weather Rechargeable Speaker (Renewed)

Exercising with music stimulates the brain, elevates moods, and motivates! A win for all of us.


2. Swim NoodlesClick on noodles to purchase now!

Whether full size, cut in half or sliced into small pieces, swim noodles have been used regularly with our students. A quick search on the internet will yield countless tag games, teambuilding activities, and competitive challenges. You can’t beat the price as well. I recently found some for $1.00 apiece at Five Below. Check out a few tag games you can play in the post called Tag Games with Hoops and Noodles.

3. Jump Ropes
Click on jump ropes to purchase now!

It is my opinion that like riding a bike, every child should be able to jump rope. The jump rope is a dynamic piece of exercise equipment. It’s small enough to fit into your backpack, improves coordination and enhances cardiovascular fitness while strengthening muscles. Most importantly, jumping rope is FUN! You can cater your lessons to any level and differentiate for advanced jumpers with a variety of challenges.

4. Gator Skin BallsClick to purchase!

I remember ordering my first set of gator skin balls in 1995. I was impressed by their practicality, durability, and level of safety. They come in a variety of sizes and styles. Our favorites are the six-inch Gator Skin Softi Balls. We use them for throwing and catching drills, team handball, rolling challenges and drills, lead-up games for baseball (gator ball), and Ultimate catch. Without question, there are thousands of other ways to use this incredible ball.

5. Foam Activity Pins

Click on foam pins to purchase!

Foam activity pins, or foam cylinder as they’re commonly called, are safe, easy to store, and unbelievably useful. We most commonly use them as targets and goals in rolling, throwing and kicking activities. If you’re familiar with my Twitter feed (@justybubpe), you’ve without a doubt seen these gems being utilized to the extreme! Trust me when I tell you, you’ll quickly discover them to be one of your favorite pieces of equipment.

 6. Beanbags/Yarn Balls

Click on beanbags and yarn balls to purchase now!

Although they’re two different pieces of equipment, I’ve placed them on my list together. Both are excellent implements for younger and older students to practice their tossing, catching, sliding and rolling skills. Kindergarten through second grades, in particular, can practice tossing and catching with a partner confidently, without fear of getting bonked by a heavier, traditional ball. Yarn balls are also a great choice when using plastic scoops and introducing indoor games like bocce.

7. Scooter Boards – Click on scooter boards to purchase now!

Scooter boards make many appearances throughout the year in our PE classes.  Early on, we use them during our cooperative lessons. Later, we break them out for a variety of tag and invasion games like scooter soccer, scooter handball, and ultimate bucketball .

Finally, scooters have become an important fitness tool.  Check out this blog post  Scooter Fitness – 11 Exercises Using Scooter Boards. Be sure to instruct your students on scooter safety prior to use.

 8. Plastic Scoops– Click on scoops to purchase now!

For years, plastic scoops sat in my PE storage room gathering dust. It was until recently that I discovered numerous practical uses for them. I’ve discovered ways to sprinkle in the scoops throughout our PE curriculum. Check out a previous post called 8 Group Games Using SCOOPS in PE.

Here you will discover simple games to help students enhance their hand-eye coordination and tossing and catching fundamentals.

 9Hula Hoops – Click on hula hoops to purchase now!

Try placing a stack of hula hoops out for a station during one of your PE classes. Give the students simple instructions such as,  “How many ways can you and your group use the hula hoops?” You’ll be blown away by the jumping, spinning, building, and overall creativity that will ensue.

The versatility of a hoop is limitless. My students have used them as targets, bases, steering wheels, goals, obstacles, agility patterns and much more. Try a few of these games found within a post called 11 Hula Hoop Activities You May Not Know About.

10. Screen/Projector – Click on projector to purchase now!

Our screen and projector hanging in our gym have been a godsend. Great for our visual learners, our screen allows us to project our daily lessons, directions to an activity, timers, scoreboards, rubrics, and expectations. It works wonders for instant activities! Students enter the gymnasium and automatically check the screen for their first task of the class.

  11. Cones – Click on cones to purchase now!

We have cones of all colors, shapes, and sizes. Primarily used to make boundaries, cones can also serve as batting tees, megaphones, targets, and hurdles.  Bonus!  Turn the cone into a  sign holder by taping a rubber band to the back of your sign, and slip it over a cone!

Did any of my equipment make your list? Share your Top 5 with your PE teaching peers. Let us know what we might be missing.


If you enjoyed this post, consider following my blog to receive future posts and fitness challenges.

Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/justybubpe.

Check out my Facebook group called Keeping Kids in Motion!

Youtube Channel

STAR WARS – Jedi Master Fitness Challenge

It’s time to take the JEDI Fitness Challenge called MAY the Force Be With You! Follow Yoda as he encourages students, teachers, and parents to strive to become a JEDI Master.

The training consists of two different workouts, each guaranteed to help build the strength, endurance, and wisdom necessary to be a JEDI Master. Each day you complete the exercises, log the level completed on your JEDI fitness calendar.

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Good luck! May the force be with you. -YODA

Click Star Wars Fitness Challenge for an editable copy of the challenge.

Click Star Wars Fitness Challenge PDF for a PDF version of the challenge.

Click JEDI Certificate 2 for a copy of the award certificate.


If you enjoyed this post, consider following my blog to receive future posts.

Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/justybubpe.

Check out my Facebook group called Keeping Kids in Motion!

Youtube Channel

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