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Promoting Physical Activity

jdayWelcome to the Jumping Jacks Day (affectionately known as J DAY) web site. Although our example for a Jumping Jacks Day uses a school setting for descriptive purposes, it can also take place in a health club, YMCA, or camp.

Imagine your school day begins at 8:00 in the morning, and ends at 3:00 in the afternoon. Now imagine a jumping jack starting at your school at 8:00 am, but not ending until 3:00 pm. Children will get very excited at the notion that your school started doing jumping jacks as soon as the day began, and did not stop until the day was over! Your school will do one continuous session of jumping jacks for 7 hours. This novel idea teaches children the benefits of exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle.



The purpose of J Day is to promote children's health & fitness, fight childhood obesity, support physical education, and to make fitness fun. Jumping Jacks Day is very easy to organize and has a very high degree of success. The information on this page explains how to create a J Day, but you can feel free to modify it to suit your needs.

This concept is actually very simple to organize. For our example, we will use an elementary school with 20 classes, and a seven-hour school day (8 AM – 3 PM). Our example can easily be adjusted to accommodate a health club, YMCA, recreation department, or camp.

Let’s first do the math
A seven-hour school day = 420 minutes
There are 20 classes in our example
Each class is responsible for 21 minutes of the program.

How Does It Work?


So, how does the day work? The first thing you need to do is educate the school community about this event. It is recommended that you talk about the special day at a full staff meeting approximately one month before it takes place. It will be easier than putting everything in writing for the staff! A letter should also be sent to all personnel approximately one week before the program begins. It should include pertinent information: the date it will take place, and the master schedule. The event should also be discussed with the children in their Physical Education classes. It is further suggested that you write something in your school newsletter or newspaper about the event for the parent’s knowledge, followed up by a letter home about one week before the event.

Next, you need to do the math equation as shown above. This will tell you the responsibilities of each class for the event. In our equation, each class will contribute 21 minutes to the day’s event! Subsequently, you will have to create a master schedule for the school to observe during the day. An illustration of this will appear in the Downloads section of this web page.

kidsOnce your main schedule for the day is completed, you will need to get each class prepared for the program. At this point, it will be necessary for you, or the classroom teacher, to create a schedule solely for that individual class. Once again, an example of this will be in the Downloads section. For descriptive purposes, let’s say each class has 21 students. Since each class will contribute 21 minutes for the day, each child is actually responsible for participating one minute.

Since you are deviating from your normal schedule, and this is a special event (not PE class), you need not try to get 100% active participation from each child for the continuous 21 minutes. It is really not recommended since many children will exceed their fatigue limitations. Older children may be able to accomplish this feat; however, our example is an elementary school environment. Here are four options you may utilize when a class arrives.


star The children come into the room and form a single line. The first child in line will perform jumping jacks for one minute. When they are done, they pass the baton to the next child who will do the same until every child from that specific class has completed their task. At completion, the baton will be passed over to the next class.


star Children can partner up, and do the jumping jacks with their comrade for two minutes instead of one-minute solo. After the two-minute period, they pass the baton to the next pair. At completion, the baton will be passed over to the next class.


star Children can team up in groups of three, and do the jumping jacks for a three-minute cycle before passing the baton over to the next band of three. At completion, the baton will be passed over to the next class.


star Team the children up in groups of three again, but have them perform jumping jacks for one minute and then pass the baton over to the next group of three who will do their allotment for one minute. When each group completes their first minute, start the same cycle with the same groups of three for the next one-minute period, followed by the third and final one-minute period. At completion, the baton will be passed over to the next class. These are just four options for you to consider. Obviously, there are many combinations you can explore for each grade level. You need to take into account the age and fatigue factor before you decide on the format for each individual class.


1. Play music during the event for added excitement.

2. While children are waiting for their turn, have them cheer on their friends.

3. Fill the room with posters and pictures created by the students pertaining to exercise.

4. Invite the parents to come watch.

5. Have a large poster for each child to sign when they participate.

6. Get the local news to cover the event for added motivation.


1. When planning your timetable for the event, consider lunch and recess schedules.

2. Factor in arrival and dismissal schedules when planning the day.

3. Take into account teacher preparation time. How will they react if they miss their prep time due to this event? Will you have to manipulate your schedule to make sure the classroom teachers get their prep time? Will your school district give you a professional day along with a substitute teacher to cover your classes? There are many things to consider making this work properly!



downloadMaster Schedule

Classroom Schedule


Staff Letter

Parent Letter



questionsPlease feel free to use the 'Contact Us' link to ask any questions pertaining to J Day. All questions will be posted here anonymously.

Q. Can J Day only be done in a school?

A. No. It can be done any place that children attend. Just modify the material from the Downloads page to meet your needs and environment.

Q. Does this program have to be done with elementary age children?

A. No. It can be completed with children of any age.

Q. Can I use your certificate to run off copies for all the participants?

A. Yes, you can use the certificate on the Downloads page to give to all your children that participate.

Q. Does J Day have to be done on a certain date?

A. No. You can do it whenever you like.


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