Why Teaching Kids How to Move Has Become Essential

Although it may seem a bit counterintuitive, we must teach kids how to move. Humans are born with the capacity to move, but not the skills to do so.

Think about swimming the front crawl as an example. Most of us are born with the ability to stroke the water with our arms, kick our legs and turn our heads to the side, but we have to be taught these skills in order to be able to swim. The same is true for all “movement skills” that we believe are innate, such as running, jumping, and throwing.

Most of us have experienced this learning process through the games we played as kids. It was simple: Go outside, join whatever game was going on, watch the older kids and do what they did. If the game was kick the can, you learned to kick. If it was hide and seek or tag, you learned to twist, turn, and zigzag as you ran. Scrub baseball taught us how to pitch, catch, and strike a ball with a stick.

Without knowing it, as our skills grew, so did our confidence and our enjoyment. And that was magical, because when kids learn to love moving early in life they tend to remain active for the rest of their lives.

For centuries, the system worked perfectly: Children’s search for pleasure led them to play games and through play they learned the movement skills needed to survive. But today the system is backfiring.

One reason is kids’ inherent desire to seek fun and pleasure, not movement skills, per se. Like past generations, kids are born programmed to play, but the games they play have changed.

My childhood was filled with active games that helped me become an active person. Today’s kids learn sedentary games. They learn Read More

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