Having created Action Mats to get children engaging with being fit and healthy through fun games and challenges, we realised that we could do more to widen the concept. We regularly see and hear from schools how well Action Mats are received and how well they work in their core aim, so we felt inspired to build upon it. Our first thought was to include problem solving games within an Action Mats session; use the mats and solve a problem at the end. We introduced the jigsaw race mats and even tried them out on teachers and PE Coaches at various conferences. They proved to be a lot of fun and a great competitive challenge. The idea that you can break out into a sweat whilst building jigsaw is a novel one, but I have seen it happen.
Having seen the success of one problem solving game involving Action Mats, we realised that much more could be done. There is much evidence that physical activity and attainment in children are linked Click for more information and we realised that Action Mats are already well placed to contribute to this goal of moving and learning. We began to consider the opportunities for cross-curricular learning using Action Mats. The introduction of letter and number mats brought active learning with Action Mats to life. We ran test session in schools and watched whilst children worked together in challenges, creating the longest word possible with the letters the team had brought, create cross words and themed words or sharpened their individual thought process in a race against other teams using random letters in a stack to determine actions, movement or choice of mat to use. Number mats invite the same sorts of engaging challenges from races to produce a given total from a teams’ individual number mats, to numbers of exercises per mat, to equations and product games for teams to compete against each other in.
We have therefore produced three, ‘bolt-on’ sets and the associated resource material to compliment an Action Packed set. There is a set of numbers and mathematical symbols, letter of the alphabet with common punctuation marks and, of course, our KS1 and KS2 jigsaw race sets.
We are always looking for new ways to engage children in learning so, if you have any thoughts, please jot them down and send them to us. We’ll do the artwork and share them with the Action Mats community.