7 Ways to Get Your Children Moving (And Loving It) – Top Tips from Carolina Friends School

Kim Sulman, physical education teacher at Carolina Friends School, shares her top tips.

As more children return to school in-person, many families are trying to help their children transition to less screen time and more active time at home as well.

“As a physical education teacher, what I hope to encourage in my students is a lifetime commitment to health,” says Kim Sulman of Carolina Friends School, a pre-K to grade 12 Quaker day school between Durham and Chapel Hill. “That could mean anything from competitive athletics to walking a dog each day; what matters most is making it appealing. Children want to do things that help them feel successful and confident, and allow them to have fun.”

Below are some ideas for parents to help children discover a love of movement and physical activity:

  1. Be creative with your materials. Buy, build, or find a wide range of toys and equipment. Obstacle courses are a great way to engage children’s minds and bodies.
  2. Give your kids voice and choice. Even with traditional sports equipment, kids will find new ways to use them that keep them engaged — encourage it!
  3. Get silly with them. If you want your child to love moving their bodies, join them in making it fun. Even 30 minutes spent together in physical play is guaranteed to make you and your children more productive and happier.
  4. Go for walks in nature. You can utilize community spaces such as visiting a park, trail, or playground. In addition to the physical exercise, being in nature can reduce stress and allow for plant and animal observations.
  5. Find ways to turn your house into a playground. Rolled up socks in a laundry basket can be used for “snowball” fights. Socks worn on smooth floors can create an ice rink. It might get messy, but it will create lasting memories.
  6. Encourage healthy risk taking. Let your child attempt new skills by themselves. If they want to cross the monkey bars, don’t lift them up. Allow them the chance to figure out what they can do on their own. Identify safe spaces where they can test their strengths and ability to solve problems. Taking healthy risks is an important part of building both muscles and esteem.
  7. Variety is more important than specialization. Once your child is ready for organized sports, let them choose a variety of activities to try. Specializing at a young age can limit their future activity choices. Let them try indoor and outdoor, team and individual sports. This will build confidence, comradery, build skills in all planes of motion, teach them strategy, and more than anything, show the impact of resilience and effort.


To learn more about Carolina Friends School’s holistic view of child development and the importance of intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and expressive growth, visit www.cfsnc.org.

Categories: Education