El Paso mom starts outdoor PE class for kids to socialize

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso mom and fitness instructor started an outdoor PE class that lets children hang out safely and get exercise.

Amber Banda, fitness instructor, personal trainer and nutrition coach, said she heard her 5-year-old daughter say she is best friends with a character from a YouTube show. That is when she realized her child was in dire need of company.

“Getting creative with how they can interact with each other without actually getting close,” said Banda, explaining she got the idea to form an outdoor PE class from a podcast she usually listens to.

After announcing she was planning on starting the class, a group of parents reached out to her in support of the program saying their children are missing in-person interaction due to virtual schooling.

She now leads the PE class with a small group of six to 10 students every Saturday morning at the Eastwood park.

She said “knowing how important fitness is, knowing how important child interaction is especially in their age,” was her leading idea in creating the activities.

They usually play a ‘superhero workout’ in which the children impersonate powers of well-known superheroes. Another favorite activity, she says, is the obstacle course.

“I know I liked show-and-tell at that age,” said Banda on why she decided to include that activity as well . She explained it gives children the opportunity to connect, just like they would in a classroom.

The class is also an opportunity for parents to catch up and share experiences.

Liana Diaz, one of the parents, said the parents are recognizing each other’s struggle and this offers a form of support.

“As soon as we come home [my daughter] will start asking – how many days until PE, so they really miss this interaction and it helps with it,” said Diaz explaining how her daughter and son love the opportunity of socializing with their peers.

Banda said she charges a fee of $10 per class to buy equipment for games and obstacle courses, but doesn’t plan on expanding the group to keep it small and safe. However, she wants to serve as an example for other parents to start their own outdoor PE groups.

“If [parents] have questions about starting their own class, by all means ask me, so more kids can be doing stuff like this instead of being home,” said Banda.

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