AFL Max Blog

Join us here for all things education, footy and fun.

We will share a range of articles to help maximise wellbeing, growth and happiness - from positive learning and growth mindsets, through to the best birthday party tips and school holiday ideas.

We will keep it short, informative and fun - sharing and creating meaningful info with you every month.

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Managing Screen Time

September 2, 2021

Screen can be best described as the amount of time spent looking at a screen such as TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets, and video game consoles. Screens are used for work, education and leisure. For many of us they are essential to our daily life!

But now more than ever we are drawn to our screens. Screen time for both adults and children have increased throughout the pandemic for connection and communication.

Balancing screen time for children is a constant challenge for parents … and home learning has made this more complex.

Small amounts of screen time can be useful and enjoyable for families. It can offer time for children to connect with others, be creative and learn. It may be educational, especially in a school setting.

Research on the positive and negative effects of screen time on children is emerging.

According to The Sydney Children’s Hospital Network these effects include:

Negative effects

  • Weight gain from lack of activity
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Underdeveloped communication skills
  • Exposure to inappropriate or harmful information
  • Neck and Back Strain
  • Eye health
  • Mental Health concerns

Positive effects:

  • Connection with family
  • Social media can be a form of self-expression
  • Peer connection
  • Develops interests and skills
  • Platform to develop friendships
  • Educational skills

So, how can parents manage the effects of screen time?

  • Use government guidelines & recommendations as well as trusted organisational websites to self-educate about age-appropriate time limits and activity
  • Communicate firm and clear limits of screen time to children and be consistent enforcing them
  • Involve older children in the decision-making process, negotiate boundaries with your children
  • Quality over quantity, know what your children are watching and playing
  • Keep devices outside of the bedroom
  • Have screen free zones and times in the house, such as dinner time
  • Have screen free days
  • Cultivate and support your child’s talents, interests and hobbies away from the screen
  • Get outside and be active every day!
  • Try something new as a family … cook, complete a puzzle together, go for a bike ride, garden, play an old-fashioned board games or visit the local park or visit AFL MAX!
  • Focus on modelling the preferred behaviour to your children, have the same rules for yourself!

Children participating in Play lu activities
Group of kids practicing kicks

The Benefits of Team Sports for Kids

August 12, 2021

Most parents enroll their children in team sports for the physical fitness, with the goal to keep them active and healthy. Depending on the type of sport, physical activity can improve fitness, flexibility, strength, co-ordination, as well as muscular, bone and cardio-vascular health. But the non-physical elements of team sport are just as important.

Here are the top benefits of team sports for kids:


Working with others to achieve a common goal is rewarding. This may be to complete a simple drill or win a challenging match. They learn that each individual player needs to contribute positively; to work hard and display a positive attitude for the team as a whole to be successful. Team sport encourages positive collaboration by recognising and utilising each player’s strengths and supporting and encouraging each other to be the best versions of themselves. Collaboration ultimately builds social and emotional skills crucial not just in sport, but in life.


Communication is imperative in team sports. This may include verbal and non-verbal communication. In team sports, kids need to develop listening skills, process information and follow directions in both training and in game situations. Interpreting information from a coach and teammate is vital to team cohesion. Following prompts and cues quickly in a game situation is also beneficial. These skills may then be transferred into the classroom.


For kids, loosing a sporting match is their first introduction to building resilience. Loosing at times can be frustrating and disengaging. However, the ability to find fun and joy in being part of a team often overshadows the need for winning. Team sports may help kids to develop grit and determination to get better in many aspects of their life.


Following the team rules and expectations can help build organisational. To be part of a successful team, every member needs to commit to showing up to training and matches on time, and in the right gear. This builds a sense of responsibility and self-management skills.


Team sports can develop healthy habits in kids. Sports can help kids establish routine and structure into their life. Managing school, a part time job and footy training for example, empowers kids to have the motivation and drive to be active and involved in extra curricular activities. Healthy habits in exercise, sleep and nutrition may also result.


Team sports provide kids with a sense of connection. Being surrounded by likeminded people all striving for the same goal makes kids feel as though they are part of something special. This may assist emotional and social wellbeing. Team sports provide the opportunity for friendships to form. Sportsmanship and leadership skills may also result. A coach may also become a mentor and role model. And putting on a uniform and representing club forges a sense of belonging. Connection is one of the biggest benefits of team sports.

Check out more articles below!

Benefits of Attending School Camp

July 29, 2021

For many students, school camp is the highlight of the year. It’s a chance to learn away from the walls of the classroom and engage in activities outside of the mainstream curriculum. Being away from home can also be a challenging time for students (and parents). But attending camp is an important milestone and the benefits of are overwhelmingly positive.

Six Benefits of School Camps

Builds independence:
Time away from home allows students to make decisions on their own, away from the spotlight of their parents. A student deciding what to eat, what to wear and having to make their own bed are important life skills that can be practiced on camp. Camps encourage students to use their self-management skills, organisational skills and problem solving skills. Making individual choices leads to a greater sense of independence.

Builds Resilience and Confidence:
Students have the opportunity to participate in activities that are new to them. Accomplishing something in a new environment may help them over come fears and anxieties. Seeing a student, who is afraid of heights and attempting a rock wall climb, is an example of this. They may embrace the challenge of a new experience and see what they are capable of. This in turn fosters personal growth through personal challenges.

Builds Relationships:
One of the greatest benefits of a school camp allows the deepening of current friendships or forming of new ones. Friendships are tested and affirmed in new environments and experiences. This includes a student’s relationship with a teacher. These connections can have a positive impact on learning when returning to the classroom.

Builds Social Skills:
Camps allow students to develop their leadership and team building skills. They can practice their communication skills as well as demonstrate care, support and empathy to others. Working well with others for a common goal is another important life skill.

Builds Physical Fitness
Camps often encourage physical fitness. Students may do tasks that are new to them, like canoeing or hiking. Students have the chance to operate outside of their comfort zone and are exposed to activities that may become an interest to them outside of camp. On camp students are away from screens and devices, so they can be active and engaged in hands on activities. This may also have a positive impact on mental heath.

Builds Connection Between Teachers and Their Students:
For teachers normally camps can be a stressful time on the school calendar but an overnight Camp Max experience offers a reprieve and support to teachers, as everything is planned and facilitated by the AFL Max Education Team. It’s an easy and convenient option for teachers as our camps are designed by teachers for teachers in a meaningful 4 quarter model. This allows the opportunity and time for teachers to build stronger, improved relationships and connection with their students.

Overall camps allow students to grow and develop holistically … emotionally, socially and physically.

Like many areas of education, COVID has forced schools to adapt and reassess their camp options. AFL Max has a school program to suit any school. Camp Max has allowed students to experience the benefits of camps in a safe and healthy environment within Adelaide. With four different camp programs on offer, there is something to suit any school.

Take Your AFL Game to the Max

June 3, 2021

AFL football is one of the most dynamic and multifaceted sports on the planet. The sport requires a multitude of skills as well as high-level fitness and strength. Each zone at AFL Max is designed to help both beginner and elite footballers to be at top of their game. And did you know some AFL players and coaches helped design some of the zones?!

Here is a rundown of what you can expect in each zone to take your game to the max …

Max Interactive

Max Interactive is like a giant interactive video game, where traditional physical education boundaries are pushed and take learning to a new level. It is designed to bring active play and active learning together using technology that combines lights, sounds, videos and gameplay. A projector is reflected on a wall - like a big screen - and you use your body, mind and senses to play interactive games. Skills: Reaction time, decision-making, concentration

Max Aerial

Max Aerial has trampolines of different sizes and angles to help you jump your way to greater fitness heights. Trampolining is proven to be one of the most effective forms of cardiovascular exercise. The g-force also builds muscle without the impact of weights. Games like dodge ball help agility and reaction time. And it’s super fun! Skills: Spatial awareness, balance, agility, strength, coordination

Max Climb

Max Climb has 14 climbing walls to choose from. It aids flexibility which is really important in footy and is a good cardio workout. Have a teammate instruct you up the wall to practice communication skills. Skills: Hand, feet & eye coordination, core strength, upper and lower body strength, speed.

Max Skills

Max Skills allows for practicing one of the most fundamental skills of the game – kicking. Kicking practice is not only important to a beginner but also an elite footballer. It is a skill that needs to be practiced continuously. This large zone allows kicking (and hand balling) at various targets. Skills: Goal-kicking, handballing, target practice, depth perception, accuracy.

Max Bump

Max Bump is a giant inflatable course that includes a giant slide and obstacle course. It helps beginners to learn about blocking and tackling in a safe way. The intense bounce back translates neurologically; helping them understand their impact and contact made on others. Skills: Blocking, tackling, timing, decision making, upper and lower body strength.

Max Test and Tackle

Max Test and Tackle mimics what it would be like to be at the AFL draft camp! This zone measures fitness components required to be an AFL footballer. It helps to identify strengths and weaknesses. Find your PB or compete against a teammate to increase motivation. See if you improve over time! Skills: Speed, strength, vertical jump, reaction time.

Max Rookie

Max Rookie is for the Auskickers. A climbing tower and play area helps movement and all-round physical health. You have to start somewhere!

Teaching Empathy to Kids

April 30, 2021

A child’s world is small. They innately think about themselves first and everyone and everything second. Think about the concept of sharing. It is one of life’s hardest first lessons, and it has to be taught. Empathy is another social and emotional concept that needs time to develop.

So what is empathy? Empathy can be defined as the ability to be aware of, perceive, understand, and be sensitive to the feelings, thoughts and experiences of others. It can be demonstrated by expressing a supportive response.

We all want our children to grow up to be empathetic, caring and compassionate people. Empathy is a key ingredient in positive friendships and relationships. It reduces conflicts and misunderstandings and leads to helping behavior, kindness and even greater success in life in general.

Because cognitive abilities and life experiences develop over time, it is important to introduce the concept of empathy at an early age.

So … how to teach a child empathy?

Resolve conflicts through words

  • Allow each person to talk about how they are feeling so they feel heard. Acknowledge feelings. Decide on a positive outcome together.

Model empathy

  • Children need to see empathy in action. Model empathy through your actions and words, both verbal and non-verbal. They will see how you respond to others who are in need, and mimic your behavior.

Help others

  • Assist others locally in your community. Being socially aware grows empathy in an individual through purpose and connection. Practical experiences such as donating clothes & toys or volunteering at a shelter makes learning more powerful.

Praise empathetic behaviors

  • When a child demonstrates empathy, recognize it. Good behaviors should be praised and encourage. Focus on how it made them feel to do something kind. Be specific with the language you use. ‘You saw that Tom was alone and sad. You asked Tom to join in your game. You included him and that made him happy. How did that make you feel?’

Embrace difference and diversity in others

  • Learning about differences and the challenges faced by marginalized groups helps children to think about the experiences of others. They may compare their world to others and begin to form a sense of gratitude. Seeing the world through different a lens is a strong sign of empathy.

Identify feelings and emotions

  • Discuss characters’ feelings in the movies you watch or books you read together. Talk about why certain characters may feel the way they do in a challenging situation. Talk about what good choices the character made.

Observe current events

  • Learning about world events can be confronting for children, but it makes them see their place in the world. Ask questions like … how may these people be feeling? How would you feel? How can they be helped? Educating about social justice assists in the learning of empathy.

20 Fun Ideas for Active Birthday Parties!

March 30, 2021

Hosting a birthday party is a big undertaking. From the invites, to the food, decorations and party bags, these are just a few of the long list of things to organise. And then there is the main task of keeping a tribe of kids busy and happy (& sometimes their parents!).

How to entertain the guests is a big part of the party. When planning games there should be something for everyone to enjoy. Games should be fun, inclusive and active (to balance out that sugar overload)! With a bit of planning you can create a party the kids will remember.

Here are 20 games to keep kids active at a birthday party:

  • Tug of War
  • Egg and Spoon Race
  • Footy handball Competition
  • Water Balloon Toss
  • Hide and Seek
  • Treasure Hunt
  • Basketball hoop shoot out
  • TikTok Dance Challenge
  • Obstacle Course
  • Mini Olympics
  • Limbo
  • Pin the tail on the donkey or the horn on the unicorn
  • Netball goal shoot out
  • Scooter Race
  • Water Play (Slip and Slide or Sprinkler under the trampoline)
  • Soccer Goal Competition
  • Sack Relay
  • Musical Chairs
  • Red Rover
  • Musical statues

Or book your next party at AFL Max and let us handle everything! We have a variety of action packed packages to suit a variety of ages and interest.

Staying healthy this AFL season

March 15, 2021

The AFL season is under way, and many kids are in the midst of their school and club fixtures. And even though they aren’t elite athletes (yet!) here are some habits and routines that they can do like the experts to help keep themselves healthy on and off the field.

Here are some tips to keep on top of your game this season:

Drink Up
Hydration, before, during and after a game, is crucial to replace fluid loss through exercise. Dehydration can impact concentration and cause nausea. Water is the only drink recommended for children and adolescents.

Australian guidelines suggest the following water intake per day:

  • 5 -8 Year olds 5 glasses of water or 1Litre
  • 9- 12 Year olds 7 glasses or 1.5L
  • 13+ Year Olds 8 – 10 glasses or 2L

Pass on the sport drinks though; they are often packed with sugar and sometimes caffeine. The old school oranges at half time are still a good go-to.

Fuel Up
After a busy week of training and school it’s important to ensure carbohydrate stores are full. A pre-game meal should be eaten around 1-2 hours before the match. Grab a low fat, high carb meal or snack like:

  • Breakfast cereal or porridge
  • Smoothie
  • Toast with peanut butter
  • Banana

Gear Up
Being physically and mentally prepared may limit injury, and generally allow for a better game experience.

  • Boots: Support the ankle and heal. Well-fitted boots may improve balance and reduce slipping and sliding on a wet field.

  • Mouth Guards: Can be fitted by a dentist or purchased off a chemist shelf. At most clubs it’s a compulsory to keep those precious teeth in tact.

  • Sunscreen: Even in an Aussie autumn or winter, it’s important to slip, slop and slap!

  • Clothing: Wearing warm clothes and keeping them dry can help with the warm up/cool down process. Appropriate clothing will help to maintain body temperature. So have a jumper handy when sitting on the bench when waiting for field time.

Warm Up
Get to the oval on time for the warm up. A dynamic, active warm up gets the muscles and joints warm. It gets the heart pumping to get the blood moving around the body and increases oxygen to where it is needed. A simple jog and ball drills are a great start.

Now you are all set … get out there and have fun this AFL season!

Leadership in the School Yard

February 28, 2021

In schools the most talented and liked students are often voted as a leader. For example the best footy player is often voted as captain. Why is this so? It’s because kids don’t often know what good leadership looks like. So it’s an easy choice to pick the popular kid! Sometimes it’s a good choice, but it means others can be over looked. In an excellent educational setting all students should have the chance to lead.

Why is student leadership important?
A cohesive school environment whereby students have a voice in managing and directing others can:

  • Build relationships within groups
  • Develop individual identities
  • Improve communication skills
  • Build social skills
  • Resolve conflict
  • Create respect between students and teachers
  • Enforce school culture and values
  • Enforce positive actions and choices

What characteristics are required to be a good leader in a student?
A good leader may display:

  • Courage
  • Gratitude
  • Respect
  • Empathy
  • Listening skills
  • Vision

What are five ways to encourage good leadership within the schoolyard?

1. Encourage informal leadership. A student does not need a badge or a title to be a leader. Smaller roles of responsibility within the classroom can foster early leadership potential.

2. Encourage all students to have good habits. This can lead to excellent role modeling. When we all do the little things right, the bigger things can happen!

3. Give time and space for students to share their opinions and ideas at all levels. Be it in the classroom, to teachers or even the executive team.

4. Provide peer monitors. Students who monitor behavior, the school environment or equipment sends a more powerful message than if it came from a teacher.

5. Coach them! The quote ‘Students are not born they are made’ is well known because it is true! Students need guidance and feedback. They need support when they are challenged and praise when they are on the right track.

Growth Mindset in the classroom

February 15, 2021

A classroom full of students who are optimistic and resilient, and who display a high level of emotional intelligence, would be the goal for any excellent teacher.

Students, who are not only learning knowledge, but also awesome life skills, is the focus of any modern teaching professional. This can be reached through those buzzwords – a growth mindset.

So what is growth mindset? Simply students with a growth mindset believe their skills can improve over time. Students with a fixed mindset think their abilities can't change, no matter how hard they try.

Therefore a growth mindset is the idea that, with effort, it's possible to increase talents and abilities. Students who demonstrate a growth mindset believe their abilities develop over time, tend to seek out opportunities to gain new knowledge and broaden their skills, and do not typically shy away from challenges.

How can a teacher encourage a Growth Mindset approach in the classroom?

1. Use positive language
Teachers who use encouraging words and feedback create a supportive learning environment where students feel it is ok to make mistakes.

2. Build resilience
When students have the ability to cope with tough times and can engage inner strength as well as appropriate support networks, resilience grows.

3. Build Self Awareness
Self-awareness is when a student can regulate their own emotions, thoughts and values and understand how they influence behavior.

4. Self Management
When a student can successfully regulate their emotions and behaviors, this allows them to build personal and academic goals.

And like most skills these need to be explicitly taught.