Physical activity benefits children of all ages. However, in these times of social distancing and limited contact, keeping fit and active can be challenging. As a result, non-contact school sports equipment is the best option for schools

Here’s some popular non-contact sports equipment. It’s easy to sanitise and won’t break the bank:

Skipping Ropes

Skipping is a schoolyard staple which can be done solo or in small groups.

It builds:

  • Cardiovascular fitness and body conditioning
  • Muscle strength, agility, and endurance
  • Balance and flexibility
  • Eye-hand coordination, spatial awareness, timing, and rhythm.

The good news! Quality skipping ropes, like those provided by Australian organisation Jump Rope For Heart, only cost about $8. They are also portable and can be used almost anywhere. With that in mind, it’s crucial to be aware of the pros and cons of different types of ropes.

Brightly coloured plastic, PVC, fabric ropes and ones with plastic beads are good for children and beginners. The sound of the beads on the floor helps novices develop a sense of rhythm and cadence. However these skipping ropes often break.

Fabric ropes are suitable for indoor use. Plastic and PVC cables are durable and suitable for both outdoor and indoor use. These recreational ropes are for general exercise, rather than athletic workouts.

For fitness and aerobics routines more expensive, thinner, high-density steel, leather, or weighted ropes work best compared to thicker, low-density ones which create more air resistance when turning. Asking students who own skipping ropes to bring them in is a great cost saving measure.

Hopscotch

Hopscotch is another low-cost perennial favourite. This deceptively simple game develops

  • body control,
  • rhythm
  • spatial awareness
  • flexibility and balance
  • eye-hand coordination
  • muscle strength and
  • fine motor skills.

Children also learn basic numeracy. Variations of the game can teach addition and subtraction.

All players need is chalk, a flat piece of ground on which to draw the court, and a pebble to throw.

Swings

Swings are a fun way to introduce kids to the joy of movement. Swing sets vary in price depending on the type of materials used.

Wooden swings rot in wet weather, while metal ones rust unless regularly maintained. Choose durable materials that can be easily cleaned and disinfected. Thoroughly clean swing sets after each play session.

Table Tennis

Table tennis develops essential transferable skills used in other School sports.

These include

  • hand-eye coordination
  • balance
  • agility,
  • running and jumping,
  • reaction time

Setup is simple: you only need celluloid ping-pong balls, a playing table, net, 2 paddles and a partner.

Tables are suitable for either indoor or outdoor play and are made from hardwood which is easy to disinfect. Prices for tables start at $200. Packets of balls start from around eight dollars Paddles range from $8-$60 at the high end. Quality nets can be found for $45. Paddle rubbers need to be cleaned and replaced regularly to get the most out of them.

Students can use a racquet assigned to them, and a ball.

Table tennis is easier for people with varying physical abilities to play then regular tennis. Tennis (singles) is also a good non-contact sport.

Boccia

Boccia accommodates players with varying degrees of physical ability and strength. A target sport, it can be played solo, in pairs, or teams of three.

Each kit has 6 blue and 6 red balls, plus a white ball or jack. The object is to get your ball or your team’s balls as close as possible to the jack.

Play improves

  • hand eye coordination
  • muscle control
  • concentration
  • tactical awareness.

Balls can be made of wood, resin, plastic or leather. Plastic and wooden sets are the cheapest, ranging between $15-$35, while leather sets cost around $85-400. Plastic and wooden balls are suitable for outdoor play, while leather ones work best on wood floors. Assistive throwing devices are available for disabled players. Referee kits with scoreboards, tape measures, callipers, and blue and red paddles to indicate which team is to play cost about $70.

Try these non-contact options today to keep your students fit, active, and at play.

Bibliography

Benefits of playing Table Tennis.” North Shore Table Tennis Club.

Get involved.” Boccia Brochure. Boccia Australia.

Rope Skipping for kids.” Active Activities.

Crawford, Benna.  “Examples of Non-Contact Sports.” Chron Magazine.  Updated 30 March 2018.

Hernández, Matías. “Step by Step GUIDE to choose the BEST Jump Rope for You.” Velites Sport.  19 January 2017.

McCarthy, Gill Connell Cheryl. “Why Hopscotch Matters.” Moving Smart Blog. 20 June 2012.

Smith, David. “Who’s Up for Hopscotch? Benefits of this Time-Tested Game.” Horizon Education Centres. 17 August 2016.

About the Author

PhD in European Languages and Cultures

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