‘Be Fit Kit’ regional library program aims to build physical literacy

Kirk Starratt kstarratt@kingscountynews.ca
Published on April 4, 2015

BERWICK - Building fundamental movement skills like jumping, skipping, throwing and catching is what the concept of physical literacy is all about.

Just as the Annapolis Valley Regional Library has countless resources to help improve literacy in the traditional sense of reading and writing, new activity kits available for borrowing provide families with a toolbox to help build physical literacy skills.

Actually, the ‘Be Fit Kit’ toolbox is more like a toy box. The kits contain all the ingredients necessary for a number of fun physical activities and games, such as balls, foam dice, juggling scarves, skipping ropes, foam Frisbees and even stretchy rubber chickens.

The regional library is partnering with Sport Nova Scotia and the Active Living branch of the Department of Health and Wellness on the pilot project.

Angela Reynolds, the regional library’s head of youth services, said the nine kits have traditional literacy components as well: each contains a booklet explaining all the various games and activities that can be enjoyed and four picture books.

“The reason I was excited about this is that it gives all families access to some active play equipment,” Reynolds said at the program launch at the Berwick library and town hall gym on April 4. “It’s a great addition to the library.”

There have been two special kits made up including parachutes so library staff can add some active play into story time.

Reynolds said anyone with a library card could check out a kit for three weeks, the same as a book or other resource. There are kits at the Berwick, Windsor and Middleton regional library branches but clients in other communities can request to borrow them, much like a book in another location.

“Some people said it would be good for a birthday party or to take camping,” Reynolds said.

Anna Sherwood, regional physical activity coordinator with the Department of Health and Wellness, said that providing families with tools to teach children fundamental movement skills has become increasingly important in an age where screen time is taking over from playtime.

Sherwood, who brought daughters Lilly and Hilary to take part in the launch, said all the children trying out the kits were having a good time.

“Community groups can use them as well,” Sherwood said. “It’s open to anyone.”

Sherwood said the program was adapted from the Canadian Sport for Life Kingston PLAY Library Project. Sport Nova Scotia community sport development coordinator Melissa Sullivan brought the idea home from a conference she attended in Ottawa.

There will be a program launch event at the Windsor library on April 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The date, time and location of the Annapolis County launch will be announced soon on the Annapolis Valley Regional Library website.

For more information on ‘Be Fit’ kits and links to other physical literacy resources, visit http://www.valleylibrary.ca/be-fit-kits.

What makes up a ‘Be Fit Kit’?

- Three juggling scarves

- Two stretch chickens

- Six rainbow ground markers

- Six bean bags

- Two skipping ropes

- Foam dice, one with numbers and one with activities

- One mini Nerf soccer ball

- Two Nerf Frisbee discs

- Three easy-grip balls

- Six star spots

- An activity booklet

- Four picture books