This school year, students across the nation will learn about the importance of staying fit and exercising with our adventure action, “play.” With childhood obesity on the rise, Boosterthon encourages students to play on the playground at recess as well as with friends after school.

With so many EPIC Adventures for children to have, we think that playing is one of the most important things kids can do—here’s why.

As we continue teaching students the value of “play,” we caught up with our friends at Norton Elementary in Allen, Texas, who used their Boosterthon funds last year to give their students the chance to play every day on their incredible new blacktop.

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Fitness

Since being built, the black top has reinforced the concept of “play” and has transformed the way students view their time outside. Before their black top was built last year, many students could be found standing in circles on the old, worn-out blacktop, with very little to do.

Believe it or not, a couple of students actually hid a pinecone in a tree to use as a “ball” each day, since there was no equipment available!

Now, the PTA’s Healthy Lifestyles chair, Carrie Zamora, says that a huge need has been filled to encourage students to stay fit while having fun. “Before purchasing the blacktop and new equipment last year, there was only one group of athletic students who would bring a ball each day to play with. The rest would sit around and chat, resulting in unnecessary cattiness.”

Teamwork

But after the new black top, everyone at the school is thrilled to have something to play with, whether it is the basketball goal, tetherball or foursquare court. Additionally, students have the opportunity to keep up their Boosterthon running skills throughout the year on the new track around the blacktop. The students often choose to have relay races during recess, encouraging teamwork among students.

“They are exploring new things that they haven’t been able to do before and wouldn’t have done without this equipment,” said Carrie. “Plus, camaraderie among the students has increased drastically, and we even have had parents tell us about how the new opportunities to play on the blacktop have decreased bullying at school. The students are busy doing, so don’t have the time or desire to be mean.”

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Additionally, the students have a chance to “play” more often than just during recess. Teachers have quickly adopted the new space to use the hopscotch and foursquare areas for various lessons that typically would be taught in the classroom.

The colored targets on the ground are used in math classes to draw fractions with sidewalk chalk. Teachers are engaging with students and are doing it all while getting the students outside and moving around. Schools like Norton have creatively incorporated outside play in daily learning!

Since Norton just finished the third Boosterthon Fun Run program, the PTA is already in the process to expand on the play area using the funds raised. Norton plans to build large freestanding play structures that will be appropriate for all grade levels to enjoy. With hopes of building these over the holiday break in December; students who participated in the Boosterthon Fun Run this year will have the chance to reap the benefits of their hard work.

We were so excited to hear how the schools we serve are taking advantage of opportunities to encourage students to play every day. Learning that fitness is fun can start at a young age, so now is the time to begin. We can’t wait to see how Norton’s new playground turns out!

Does your child have a particular outside activity he/she loves to play? Share with us on our Facebook page!

The Boosterthon Fun Run is a fundraising company designed for America’s top schools. Since 2001, Boosterthon’s taught millions of students across the nation about the importance of fitness, leadership, and character while helping schools raise needed funds. To inquire how our unique fundraising program can help with your school’s fundraising needs, visit www.boosterthon.com/contact.