Johnson Elementary guidance counselor, Luana Nair, works with different groups of students to provide a structured recess experience once every six days with KinderKids, kindergarteners and first graders. The goal is for students to learn how to play at recess, as well as different things that they can do during recess.
“Today we have Bree Hanson, Clay County Conservation Board Naturalist, here to participate in structured recess, and she set up “Wild Fit” in Flower park,” Nair said. A program created and developed by Hanson, Wild Fit gets students active while learning about different animals. Hanson brought in pictures of the animals and described what each of their strengths is, and then the students replicated their strengths.
Hanson said that while kids are going to the different stations, they are competing against the animals. For example, students were challenged to run faster than a mountain lion, or jump as high as a grasshopper. “It gets the kids out and shows them a different way to explore nature and have fun,” said Hanson. “The stations today are scaled down because it is winter time. I have other versions where kids spend five minutes at each station, and there are usually 15 to 16 stations. Depending on how many students she is reaching, Hanson can scale Wild Fit to work with any group size.
First grader, Averie, said her favorite station was trying to flap her arms like the wings of a bird. While a bird can flap their wings 72 times per second, Averie was able to get two in a second. Other stations included walking backwards around an obstacle course like a crayfish, using the sight of a Hawk to find camouflage animal pictures in trees, and jumping as far as a deer or a grasshopper.
Having just learned about owls with Hanson a few weeks prior to participating with Wild Fit, the students played owl versus mouse. Students learned that owls are very quiet as a means to capture their prey, and at the station, the “quiet” owl had to try to catch the mice running around. Even though the crunchy snow made the owl quite noisy, the students had fun with the challenge, and enjoyed all of the Wild Fit stations.