Creativity and play are at the heart of Wellbeats’ new classes for kids – including kids with special needs.
Background and experience
Jackie parlayed her kinesiology degree into teaching roles including physical education for ages preschool through middle school; fitness classes for adults; and trainer, assessor, and presenter for a global fitness company.
“I really enjoy working on child development and education, including children’s fitness,” says Jackie. Wellbeats reached out to her last spring to co-create our next generation of classes for kids focused on structured and unstructured play, imagination, physical activity, and fun.
“Our goal was to create a program that can be used in a classroom setting as well as at home,” Jackie explains. Anywhere that kids can play, move, and explore can work, as the classes may be accessed anywhere via the Wellbeats app, a computer, or cast to a TV.
Five class components
“Each class has a theme, so no two classes are alike,” says Jackie. “In fact, we really encourage parents and teachers to preview a class so they know what the kids will be asked to create or build, and they can choose themes they know their children or students will enjoy.” We encourage the adults to not get hung up on the listed age ranges (age categories are assigned for the purpose of sorting and searching in the platform). Siblings can do these classes together, or a child who is into karate, for example, may enjoy a class with a Ninja theme.
“We start with a parent/teacher introduction including the goals of the class, the theme, and equipment that is needed. We call this the scavenger hunt. Parents or teachers can gather equipment ahead of time or leave it up to the children to gather the items during the class.”
2. Creative build
“After the scavenger hunt, we do a ‘creative build’ that coincides with the class theme.” For Jackie’s class The Beach, the kids made pretend sandcastles. Activities that involve fine motor skills, imagination, building, balancing, or artwork (drawing and coloring) are integrated into the classes. And once the build is complete, they pause to celebrate their creations.
“The class then moves on to a physical warmup, which consists of four basic moves: march, run, squat, and jumping jacks. The moves are performed in a creative way to match the theme of the class. For example, some are performed in a story format, while others are performed in a traditional fitness format.”
4. Body Exploration
“Next we do games using creation. It allows freedom within the class for exploration in space with our bodies and through creative building.”
“We end with a mindfulness cooldown and meditation where we do some gentle yoga moves or stretches to quiet the mind and body, followed by a final farewell and goodbye celebration.”
How did it go?
“The whole experience left me really happy,” says Jackie. “It was amazing to see all the different pieces that go into filming a class, from planning outfits to props to lighting and background. It was such a treat to experience it all through the lens of a child.”
Joy and laughter abounded throughout the five days of filming. “Everyone just had a ginormous smile on their face the whole time,” says Jackie. “There were moments where I messed up, and then we all laughed. I think it’s fun for kids to see grownups make mistakes and then just laugh about it. And then maybe they would make a mistake and we’d say ‘cut’ and everybody would laugh. The patience, the dedication, the fun, and the laughter from everyone on the set – kids, parents, and staff – is what stood out for me.”
Jackie’s classes are listed below. (More classes will be released in early November.)
Road Trip (26 minutes)
Traveling on an adventure can be so much fun … especially in an RV! We are going to build our own RV and go on and adventure with big imaginations and fun exercises to keep us moving!
The Beach (16 minutes)
The beach is such a fun place to play! Put your creative hats on and let’s build a pretend sandcastle while doing some fun, beach-related activities!
Winter (17 minutes)
Who wants to build a snowman? Join Jackie as she walks us through some fun creativity and games centered around a winter theme. Grab a hat and scarf and have some fun!