Throughout the United States, many schools are facing the challenge this winter of keeping kids active in subzero weather.
In Greenbay Wisconsin, local school administrators say they keep kids inside when temperatures or wind chills hit zero. Wednesday marked 47 days of subzero weather this winter. The continued arctic conditions are expected to continue today and that means another day of indoor recess for kids.
Schools are using board games, exercise videos and activities in the gym to keep students active and entertained during indoor recess and other free time.
Before school starts, students at Ashwaubenon’s Pioneer Elementary School head to the gym rather than hang out outside.
Principal Pete Marto said students are assigned certain spots in the gym by grade level and head to those spots and line up by class. Students are encouraged to bring books, small games or work sheets to work on quietly before school begins.
At lunch recess, students are walked back to their homeroom after they eat. The parent organization has donated games for each classroom — students can play them or read. Teachers also plan “movement breaks” throughout the day so kids get some exercise.
“Students would probably rather be outside,” Marto said. “But kids are resilient. They remain positive. They definitely want to be outside, but it’s not like they’re going stir crazy. They adjust.”
Students at Langlade Elementary School in the Green Bay School District keep active, in part, by using exercise videos in their classrooms during cold weather days. That includes yoga videos for younger students, according to Principal Jesse Brinkmann.
Students also help make posters for family events at the school, he said, or play games, read or work with coloring books.
“Some kids want to go outside,” Brinkmann said. “Some like to stay inside and color or read.”
Langland students, like those in other schools, are allowed into school before classes begin in extremely cold weather. Teachers often have book boxes or other materials they can work on before the school bell rings.
“We really try to make every minute count,” Brinkmann said.
Howe Elementary School in the Green Bay district gives most students a 20 minute segment in the gym to be active when the weather is too frigid to head outdoors.
Younger students might play interactive games such as duck, duck, goose or skip across the gym, Principal Christine Fabian said. Older students might jump rope or play basketball.
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