When kids get a chance to be active with other kids, all of them end up being more active.
Dr. Camille Hancock Friesen heads up the pediatric cardiac surgery at Halifax’s IWK Health Centre. She studied the effect of having older students lead younger ones in active games and found that “Active [peer-led] play provides greater opportunity for creativity, problem solving and conflict resolution.”
Students from a number of Nova Scotia schools were selected to be mentors and were trained in leadership, team building, and organization. During lunchtime, these mentors led fellow students through a variety of fun, active games. When compared with a control group, those who participated in the study averaged 1000 additional steps per day.
Dr. Hancock Friesen recommends that schools encourage children to get a daily dose of physical activity through active, non-sport-specific play. With each other.
Is this something you see happening in your child’s school? Are children encouraged to play with each other? Are they given opportunities to become activity leaders for their peers?