Megan Cawthorne

Active Life: Spare Blox program allows kids to get active and creative

NANAIMO – A second program targets younger audience in Nanaimo schools.

Parents who want to get their children active may want to look at City of Nanaimo parks and recreation department’s Spare Blox programs.

The longtime program, for youths 13 to 18 years of age, is still running at John Barsby Secondary School on Wednesday nights from 8-9:30 p.m. and a Spare Blox junior program has started for 11- to 14-year-olds. It runs Mondays from 7-8:30 p.m. at Fairview Elementary School.

Megan Cawthorne, who will graduate with an education degree from Vancouver Island University, is the program leader and said the sports-based program sees direction from children.

“Basically I give the youths total autonomy over the activities, so lots of choice … it’s structured around active play and minor games. We’ve done lots of different games here at Fairview … or different tag games,” said Cawthorne.

She said Barsby participants seem to favour basketball, but the younger crowd at Fairview likes dodgeball-like activities.

“Things that are more like smaller-scale games and maybe non-traditional sports because I think they might get a lot of that at school. Just letting them branch out and try new things on their own and a lot of time they get to create their own games and I’m just there to reinforce the rules that they create,” Cawthorne said.

One of the games created is skittles, said Cawthorne.

“It’s basically a type of dodgeball game … if you get hit a certain number of times, instead of just once, you have to sit down, but there are ways that if you are sitting, to get back in. The point of the game is to knock over the opposite team’s skittles (bowling pins),” Cawthorne said.

She said it is recommended children between five and 17 years of age get 60 minutes of physical activity a day and Spare Blox helps with that.

“Some of these students, especially in elementary, they might only get PE twice or three times a week and if they’re not playing sports outside of school, how are they supposed to be getting that? By having an open gym … it promotes students and youth learning to love physical activity,” said Cawthorne.

Both programs run until the end of May and are offered in partnership with Nanaimo school district.

For more information, please access the City of Nanaimo’s parks and recreation activity guide online at or phone 250-756-5200.

Just Posted

Nanaimo’s ‘Kidney Condo’ accommodates out-of-town dialysis patients

Facility first of its kind on Vancouver Island, according to Kidney Foundation of Canada

Warrant issued for man who wielded machete across from Nanaimo’s tent city last year

William Robert Francis Carrigan failed to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo on Tuesday

Working smoke alarms found in fewer than one-third of residential fires in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Fire Rescue urges residents to install smoke alarms in homes

Nanaimo Ladysmith education support workers’ deal ratified

CUPE Local 606, Nanaimo school district and bargaining agent ratify deal, which runs till June 2022

VIU professor writes over Shakespeare in new book of poetry

In ‘Sonnet’s Shakespeare,’ Sonnet L’Abbé superimposes her own poems over the sonnets of the Bard

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

B.C. father tells judge he did not kill his young daughters

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

City of Nanaimo says it’s ‘back on track’ with waste collection

Mechanical issues, new development stressing system

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

Retired B.C. fisherman wins record $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

Most Read