Archive for December, 2013


Fitness Holiday Gift Ideas

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Looking for some healthy holiday gift ideas?  How about some fitness gifts for YOU and for the Kids?

Click Here to shop in the SPARKstore, and don’t forget about the SPARK Holiday Discount!

 

Fitness Gift Ideas for YOU

Resistance Bands: Great for stretching & strength training (Click Here)

Yoga Mat: What a stress relief!  (Click Here)

Medicine Balls: Multiple workout options for arms, shoulders, and core-strengthening (Click Here)

Bar Weights: Foam-covered weight bar that brings an innovative twist to juice up your routines! (Click Here)

Shoulder Folders: Every Physical Education Teacher’s dream gift!  (Click Here)

 

Fitness Gift Ideas for the Kids

Hands-On Basketball: Designed by kids, for kids! (Click Here)

Football Trainer: The soft tip eliminates the fear factor and makes this ball fun for everyone (Click Here)

Jump Ropes: Jump for fitness, jump for joy! (Click Here)

Ribbon Wands: Encourage creativity and add some flair to that dance routine! (Click Here)

Flying Disc: A classic that never goes out of style (Click Here)

SPARK Holiday Gift to YOU: 10% PE Equipment Discount & FREE Shipping!

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Use Promo code 049HOLIDAY13 to receive a 10% discount and FREE Shipping on SPARK PE equipment from December 10th – December 31st, 2013.  Click Here to start shopping!

Promo Details:

  • Must order online through SPARKstore (Click Here for the SPARKstore)
  • Valid: 12/10/13 – 12/31/13
  • EP 10% discount off 9/8 items
  • LP 32.5% discount off 9/8 items
  • Free shipping on 9/7 items
  • Cannot be combined with any other discounts
  • Free shipping does not apply to furniture, curriculum products, or other large ship items.  Items must ship parcel only to qualify for free shipping.  Available in continental U.S. only.  Online orders only

Questions?  Contact us at 1-800-SPARK PE or spark@sparkpe.org

Fluff-Balls---90mm

Holiday-Themed Tag Games

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Here are four fun holiday-themed tag games submitted by teachers across the country – these games will get your kids moving and put everyone in the holiday spirit!

  • Grinch Tag
    • Santa’s helpers vs. the Grinch. Holiday hustle has new meaning!
    • Grades K-2

 

  • Turtle Dove Tag
    • Limited space movement break with a hungry Turtle Dove.
    • Grades K-3

 

 

  • Tree Topple Tag
    • Chop down your opponent trees before they chop yours!
    • Grades K-8

 

For more December holiday games, login to www.sparkfamily.org and click on December Games in the Quick Links section.

Not a SPARKfamily member?  Click Here to learn how to join.

Holiday Pinwheels Recipe from Healthy Kids Challenge

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Our partners at Healthy Kids Challenge have shared one of their favorite healthy holiday recipes with us, so we’re sharing it with you!  Enjoy!

Take the Healthy Holiday Challenge: Help kids set a goal to choose healthy snacks during the holiday season, and join them in meeting the challenge!

How?SPARK Vegetables Dec 2013

1. Refresh your minds…
about why it’s important to choose healthy holiday snacks.

Utilize these printable tips to help get you started:

Curb Impulsive Holiday Snacking and

Explore What Influences Holiday Food Choices

2. Energize your bodies…
with this recipe, which you can make together with the kids.

Holiday Pinwheels (print this)

Serves: 4

4 (6-7”) whole grain tortillas

4 oz. fat free cream cheese

1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp tomato paste

4 oz. finely shredded low fat cheddar cheese

1-2 green peppers (to make 1 cup finely chopped)

knife, spoon, cutting board

Directions:

  1. Wash hands with soap and water before handling food or utensils.
  2. Rinse the green peppers, then finely chop to fill 1 cup measure.
  3. Blend cream cheese and tomato paste together in small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Place a tortilla on the cutting board and spread 1 Tbsp of the cream cheese mixture on top.
  5. Sprinkle 1/4 cup chopped green peppers and 1 Tbsp shredded cheese on top and roll up.
  6. Cut each wrap into 4 serving pieces. Use spatula to place them on
  7. Have kids clean up work area and utensils with warm soapy water. Rinse with clean water.

SPARK Comix

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

SPARK Comix December 2013

Holiday Message from Paul Rosengard

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Hi everybody:

Happy holidays to you and yours from SPARK!

Hard to believe it’s nearly the end of 2013.  Whether you are a preschool teacher, an after school youth leader, a physical education specialist, classroom teacher, or administrator, we know how hard you worked every day this year for your students.

SPARK has been busy too – working for YOU.  Here are some of the new resources we created in 2013:

  • SPARKabc’s (Activity Break Choices) for the Classroom (click here to learn more)
  • Downloadable Music in Every SPARK Program (on SPARKfamily.org – click here to learn more about SPARKfamily)
  • Resources to align to the Common Core State Standards (click here to learn more)
  • New Assessment tools in Grades 3-6 PE (SPARKfamily.org)
  • FUNctional Fitness Resources for High School and SPARKfit (SPARKfamily.org)

Our holiday gift to YOU is a promise to continue developing new, innovative tools that help your students learn and you to become the best teacher you can be.

On behalf of all of your friends at SPARK (and Scout) have a safe and wonderful holiday season.

Paul Rosengard

P.S:  Here’s a picture of Scout and I in Park City, Utah over Thanksgiving break.  Not sure where that bear came from…

Paul and Scout Dec 13

8 Ways to Improve Your Health by the End of the Year

Friday, December 6th, 2013

When January 1 rolls around, we are often more determined than ever to get fit and feel great. Research shows that only 8 percent of us actually achieve New Year’s resolutions, however. The main reason? We make dreamy resolutions but fail to follow up with the planning and work needed to achieve them.

Instead of waiting to make a New Year’s resolution when it comes to your health, get ahead of the game. Decide that instead of letting the holiday season get the best of you, you are going to get a jump start on a healthier 2014.

Ways To Improve Health - SPARKTake these 8 suggestions from SPARK to improve the whole family’s health by the New Year:

  • Just move. Our bodies were made for movement. Whether you take a family walk for an hour after dinner each evening, set the mood for the day with a morning yoga session, or even include some of SPARK’s lesson plans during playtime with your kids, just get moving. Park your car away from the crowds and put in a few extra steps when doing holiday shopping. Institute a friendly family football game each Sunday and teach the little ones how to throw a perfect spiral. If the holiday season seems too hectic to fit in a workout, think again! Movement in your everyday life counts.
  • Eat smart. There will be plenty of invitations to parties and gatherings this season, and you should definitely make the most of those and attend. But that doesn’t mean you have to fill your plate with the highest-calorie goodies at the serving table in the name of good cheer. Pack portable, protein-rich snacks for marathon shopping sessions rather than making a stop at the mall’s cafeteria. Gracefully turn down invites to go out to lunch with co-workers or bring your own meal packed from home along with you. There are so many delicious temptations during the holiday season, so save your splurging for the times when it means the most.
  • Buy an activity tracker. Many people track what they eat when they are trying to lose weight—but have you ever thought about keeping an eye on your activity levels? Upgrade your basic pedometer to a device like our very own Polar Active Monitor Watch that tracks all daily activity and progress. Some monitors even track sleep and have calorie-monitoring capability. When you have a high-calorie day, add some time onto your workout or take a long walk in your neighborhood. Don’t assume that your activity level is high enough to counteract what you consume. Have a device that tracks it for you and gives insight into your habits, helping you make healthy changes.
  • Drink more water. Of course, replacing calorie-laden beverages like soda with water is an instant health boost, but there are even more reasons to stay hydrated. People often mistake thirst with hunger and eat when they should really be pouring themselves a nice tall glass of water. Hydration can also boost immunity and energy level, a must during the fall and winter seasons. A good rule of thumb is to drink enough water in ounces to equal half of your weight in pounds. So if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water every day.
  • Replace sedentary habits with active ones. Keep a journal each day that charts how much activity you get in a 24-hour period. Write down the amount of time you spend watching television on the couch, sitting at your office desk, and sleeping. Take a look at your typical habits after you’ve recorded them and look for ways to replace some of the sedentary stuff with an activity. Just four five-minute breaks from your desk for a brief walk add up to an hour and 40 minutes every week. Schedule gym visits during your favorite shows and watch them from a treadmill. You do not need to be on your feet every waking hour, but make minor adjustments to maximize your activity levels.
  • Improve sleep habits. Sleep is an incredibly overlooked but very important component of overall health. The Centers for Disease Control have declared American sleep deprivation a health epidemic because of its prevalence and negative health outcomes. Adults generally need eight hours of sleep to perform their best the next day. If you have trouble nodding off when your body is tired, take a look at what habits may be causing it. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening and be sure to get that physical activity that makes for a good night’s rest. Consistent sleep will improve your entire quality of life so make it a priority going into the New Year.
  • Reduce stress. Stress is a part of life. That means stress management is a part of life. Try to approach every situation with a rational attitude and avoid negative thought patterns. What’s causing your stress? It’s a problem that needs a solution—and the solution is as simple as writing down what needs to be done to make the problem go away, and then following through. Practicing yoga, joining a church group, or simply taking a few minutes every morning to meditate will help keep your stress level low. Exercise, restful sleep, and a healthy diet help you manage stress too—see how it’s all connected?

Maintaining your health is a lifelong process, but there is certainly no reason to wait for January 1st to make some improvements. Instead of letting the holiday season steal your health, decide to make some changes now that will set you up for a successful 2014 and help you enjoy the holidays more.

How do you plan to tackle health goals this holiday season?