Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

How Video Games Are Helping Kids Exercise

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

How Video Games Are Helping Kids Exercise

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHON MANNING Reporter jonathon.manning@reachplc.com @JONNYAMANNING

ANORTH East business is arming kids with toy guns and encouraging them to recreate their favourite video game in an effort to get them playing outside.

Active Future has taken inspiration from the Fortnite video game which is sweeping the nation to encourage children to step away from their screens and run about outside.

During the Fortnite-themed sessions, children are given toy guns - which shoot foam darts - and allowed to play a variety of games. The play sessions have been designed to get usually non-active children exercising outside.

The events have attracted more than 80 kids at a time, and often involve them teaming up to compete against others or complete objectives.

Active Future founder Matt Goodman came up with the idea while trying to find a way of getting children who do not like traditional sports to play outside. The organisation is now working with the NE Futures UTC school, which is opening in September, to design activities for its PE classes.

"The idea came almost as one of those 'aha!' moments," said Mr Goodman. "It came through talking to the UTC and working with kids who don't like normal PE, and who we do weird and wonderful things with.

"With my kids playing Fortnite, as they do, the idea came to me. I ran it by my son and he said it would be an absolutely brilliant idea."

To make sure that his idea worked, Mr Goodman - who is working on a PhD focusing on why children drop out of sports - tracked how much the children moved during the sessions.

He said: "About six or eight weeks ago I hired a facility in the West End of Newcastle. We had to check that the kids were moving so we put pedometers on five kids and found that in two-and-a-half hours they moved anywhere between 3.5 and 6.5 miles. …

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