‘A Physically Active Experience’: Setting the Stage for a New Approach to Engage Children in Physical Activity Using Themed Entertainment Experiences

Emily Budzynski-Seymour, Michelle Jones, James Steele

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite the multiple health benefits that result from engaging in physical activity, data suggest that children are moving less. Novel approaches to engaging children in physical activity are needed to address this public health concern. Recently, a new definition of physical activity was proposed that emphasizes, among other things, the fact that physical activity is deeply affective, emotional and situated in spaces that shape the experience. With the need to increase engagement in physical activity and this new proposed definition, this paper presents a more novel approach to addressing this problem through staging a physically active experience. The idea draws upon the well-established area of experience economy, which aims to engage those partaking in an educational, (e)aesthetic, escapist, and entertaining way. When staging something as an experience, the focus is on engagement. By staging physical activity as an experience, it is proposed that children can actively partake in physical activity in a way that is focused on the experience offered. This review explains the notion of experience economy and provides examples of how it could be applied to children’s physical activity. By creating an aesthetically pleasing, escapist and entertaining environment where children can learn and engage in physical activity, a more engaging positive experience of physical activity can be offered. Future research should examine the staging of physically active experiences for children and evaluate the practical implementation and effectiveness of this new approach to increasing children’s engagement in physical activity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSports Medicine
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2022

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