YMCA Afterschool Program Is Jazzing up Gym Time

Knowing what to do when you enter a gym space, eliminating guesswork and becoming more self-sufficient

Gym time to some kids means throwing balls, chasing each other, and running wild! To after school program teachers, gym time can mean chaos and confusion. I have never been the athletic type, and I am definitely not a Physical Education Teacher, but I knew that there had to be a better system to making gym time manageable in the school age learning centers at the YMCA!

After reading a blog from a Michigan PE teacher named Carly, I knew that some of her ideas would work in my own setting. The idea is simple and the kids know exactly what to do every single time they enter the gym space. Not only are we eliminating the guesswork in our gym time, but the kids are becoming more self-sufficient and aware of their time there as well.

“I didn’t like the rainbow spots at first, but now I know where to go and what to do” – Xander Dahl, 2017

The children enter the gym quietly. They know exactly where to go because they are all assigned a rainbow spot marked by that color cone. The music is on and it sets the tone for the next step, the daily dozen. There are twelve exercises to include stretches, floor exercise, and heart pumping warmups. Each exercise is easy to follow because there is an activity card with a character completing the exercise. Once the daily dozen are complete, the children’s hearts are pumping and they are ready to learn the new gym game for the day!

“I like that the kids and the staff know what to do every time they enter the gym. There is no guess work because everything is laid out in the plan” Judi Reinke, 2017

The majority of youth today do not participate in sufficient amounts of physical activity in a day. Studies suggest that after school programs can improve health related aspects including physical activity for the children that they serve (Beets, Michael W. et. al. 2009). After school programs have an opportunity and a duty to promote daily physical activity and the YMCA daily dozen is a perfect way to do just that.




















Beets, Michael W. MPH, PhD., Beighle, Aaron PhD., Erwin, Heather E. PhD., & Huberty, Jennifer L. PhD. (2009). “After-School Program Impact on Physical Activity and Fitness: A Meta-Analysis”. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi/10.1016/j.amepre.2009.01.033.

Dahl, Xander. 2017. (YMCA participant)

Reinke, Judi. 2017 (YMCA Staff)



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