Aerobic Fun for Kids
Glynn A. Leyshon is a professor of physical education at the University
of Western Ontario, a former weekly columnist for the London Free Press
and author of 18 Sporting Stories.
This book, whose title is self-explanatory, is one of the very best to appear on the market in many years. Author David Steen, who won gold medals as a shotputter in the Commonwealth Games, obviously has a great deal of experience and, even better, a feel for what kids will do and like. The book contains some 300 different games and variations, some old, some new, and all interesting. There is also a very cogent four pages of introduction, which puts the exercises in some perspective in our society. Steen notes, for example, that during the 1970s the average Canadian elementary schoolchild received only 60 minutes of physical education each week and much of that time was spent changing clothes, listening to instructions, or waiting a turn. This explains, in part, why the average Canadian youngster’s fitness begins to fall at age five.
In an attempt to correct this state, Steen has compiled six chapters of simple games and activities, some of which are non-competitive and all of which are good exercise. He has included individual exercises, partner exercises, aerobic games (32 of them), modified sports (one-pass soccer and basket-brawl, to name a few), aerobic races, running for fun, and aerobic challenges (dancing, water volleyball, etc.). He includes a final fitness test in the last chapter.
What makes this book any different from dozens of other exercise books? The approach. Steen has carefully included those things that can make exercise fun and not drudgery. Anyone can write an exercise book; few can write one that will be read and followed. While maintaining this careful balance between the necessary and the enjoyable, Steen also has been selective in the activities. They cover most areas of the body while focusing on the aerobic component. The exercises and games are for children six to sixteen, and the book is one of the most imaginative collections ever put together. It is a must for every elementary school teacher in the country; it would also be very useful at summer camps, recreation centres, daycare centres, and any place where groups of teens and pre-teens are likely to gather. Junior high schools could also benefit from having such a book available to their physical education teachers.