kids, cups, and brooms

I don’t watch the news as much as I used to. So many bad and troubling events in the world. Divisiveness is running rampant in our country. People are putting butter in their coffee. We live in strange times.

But the one thing I really can’t seem to get my head around, the one thing that is just gnawing at me and making me question how we got to this point is…cup stacking.

I like cups. Cups are useful. Cups are the perfect place to put many things I like: coffee, wine, whiskey.

Creative, crafty people do other things with cups. I’m not creative or crafty so I don’t know what those things are, but I feel strongly that that is a truthful statement.

But.

The other day my daughter told me that they did cup stacking at school. I thought, “Wow! What a cool activity! I wonder what subject they were studying? Science, perhaps? Maybe math. What a neat learning tool. Those teachers are really fantastic. So creative. They’re probably crafty, too. I feel so good about my children’s education right now at this moment. There’s not one thing that could change my opinion on that. Nothing. At all. Especially nothing my daughter is about about to tell me.”

And then she said they did the cup stacking in P.E.

P.E. Huh. And then I thought, “I wonder if P.E. stills means what it used to? Perhaps they have a new STEM curriculum for which they abbreviate Physics and Engineering to P.E. Maybe they don’t call Physical Education P.E. any more? Because certainly they didn’t stack cups in Physical Education. That would be absurd.”

But.

They did.

Am I in some suburban episode of “Punk’d”? In P.E., in the United States, where kids are obese like they’ve never been before, they are SITTING STILL AND STACKING CUPS?

I don’t deny there is likely a level of skill and dexterity involved with cup stacking. I am sure it’s beneficial for brain development. I know that if I would stack cups instead of put drinks in them I would be less of a dummy.

Just to be sure, I went to the YouTube in case I was thinking of some other kind of cup stacking. Not only was I not, but there are videos of elementary school P.E. classes engaging in “relay” cup stacking. Those waiting for their turns to stack are instructed to do ACTUAL physical activity while they wait.

Even the P.E. teachers know something’s not right here.

I can see the benefits of cup stacking: problem solving, spatial relations, probably even some proprioception perks. Cup stacking looks like a fun way to explore math and science concepts, too. But don’t tell me it’s physical activity. Don’t put it in the same category as running, jumping rope, or even hula-hooping. Don’t make my kids think it’s a choice as a sport.

But mostly, don’t put cup stacking in the elementary PE curriculum when they already are so limited on opportunities to move their bodies freely during the day. If you have to add something to it to make it qualify as a physical activity, who is learning what here?

Here’s a thought: if you when you take out cup stacking you are lacking something in your curriculum, create a useful sport. My vote is Sport Sweeping. On one end of the room are kids with push brooms. The other end without. On the count of three everyone runs to the center of the room. First full team to the other side without falling or getting hurt wins. Kids learn how to sweep AND to think fast.

You’re welcome.