In partnership with DreamWorks Animation
Staying active in this pandemic is no joke—especially when it comes to motivating your kids to ditch their devices, get off the couch and break a sweat outside. That’s where we come in.
Joining forces with DreamWorks Animation, we co-created Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous: Spartan Kids Challenge, a free, virtual fitness adventure for kids ages four to 14. A series of challenges (dubbed missions) send your kids into parallel worlds of OCR and Jurassic World, giving them a prime playground to push their limits, break a sweat and have a blast.
“Pandemic or no pandemic, human beings need to sweat, breathe heavily and move around,” says Joe De Sena, Spartan Race Founder and CEO. “It’s simple: we’re happier, healthier and we sleep better when we do.” The Spartan standard is absolutely #noexcuses, he says, and though devices plus pandemic equals hell for most parents raising fit kids, it’s more crucial, now than ever, to stick to your fitness goals as a family.
“Working out is a standard that my wife and I set in place when my kids were like three years old,” he says. “It has become much more challenging due to devices, and then you layer a pandemic on top of that and it’s nearly impossible. But as Spartans, we try to hold to our standards, so every day as a De Sena family, we are working out at 6 a.m. or earlier. We generate a sweat and we model that as a value for our kids. There might be some push back that goes on, but they’re tough and we do it regardless.”
In fact, tackling the Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous: Spartan Kids Challenge may just be the key to better grades and happier kids. Researchers at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found a link between physical fitness and a larger hippocampus (a part of the brain which stores memory) proving that active kids perform better than their less-fit peers.
De Sena has evidence this works. He ran a 50K with his oldest son, Jack, now 14, when Jack was just eight years old. “We didn’t break any records and we came in last and second to last, but he wanted to do it and he crushed it,” says De Sena. “When Jack got into the car post race, he didn’t sleep as you might think, but rather picked up his homework and did that on the five hour trip home. I didn’t even ask him to.”
And while you might think a 50K is too much for a kid, think again. Children all over the world run to get water and go to school and it’s not that abnormal in many countries, De Sena says. “There’s something amazing that happens when you introduce physical activity, even at a young age, which stimulates the brain to nourish your cells.”
Now, for the record, we’re not sending your kids on a 50K via this challenge, but it is designed to test their limits and use their brains and bodies in new ways, so they can attack life stronger and fitter than ever before. Because who doesn’t want to raise champions? So get after it!
How Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous: Spartan Kids Challenge Works
This four-week challenge is all virtual, so you can begin any time (the sooner the better!). All you need is a Spartan login to get going. The main goal? Unlock missions throughout the week and see how many your kids can bag. Choose from over 50 challenges, earn points by conquering tasks, check the leaderboard to see who’s crushing in real time, and score rewards and prizes along the way. Think: burpee battles, heavy backpack hauls, fun partner-bodyweight exercises (like stacked planks) and more.
But enough from us. Here’s inside intel from a real Spartan Kid doing the dang thing.
Q&A with a Mini Spartan Crushing the Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous: Spartan Kids Challenge
Avery Dollard, 13, is the oldest daughter of Spartan Race Vice President of Content, Kristen Dollard. And just like her mom, she lives and breathes the active lifestyle. Not only is she a tough-as-nails swimmer and avid field hockey player, but she planks like a champion and crushed her first Spartan 5K last year, embracing all obstacles with grit, determination and her fiery spirit. So asking her to give the Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous: Spartan Kids Challenge a whirl was a no brainer. Here’s what she has to say about it, so far.
SPARTAN RACE: What has been your favorite mission in the challenge, so far?
AVERY DOLLARD: The Birdcage has been the most fun so far! I grabbed my little brother Luke [age eight] and made him climb on top of me in the opposite direction, his feet to my head, while I was in plank. He had to balance on my shoulders and his grip was on my ankles so I have to give him credit for that. While he took time correctly positioning himself on my back, I had to hold him up. It was harder than I thought it would be, but we did it! The more we do it, the more stable and strong our Birdcage becomes. Not only was the mission accomplished, but it was a great bonding experience while working our abs!
SR: What was the toughest mission you accomplished, and why?
AD: Strength of Brontosaurus — you have to Bear Crawl underneath tables, chairs, basically anything you can fit underneath around your house without stopping. We have a lot of tables and chairs so it was really long. We had to just keep pushing, until we got under everything, and I mean everything. We wanted to stop when we could feel it in our legs, but we had to keep going. This task was taxing on our bodies. We were trying to go fast to quickly finish but we had to Bear Crawl very low and quickly, and we could feel our legs aching.
SR: Why is it important for you to stay active? What do you like about being active, versus sitting around to play video games?
AD: It’s important to stay active so that you feel good. I feel good when I’m in shape and get enough exercise so that my brain and body are content. I like being active because it helps me stay in shape and it allows me to take a mental break from all the outside stress of school and friends. I know when I can do hard things, like making hard intervals at swim or trying something new, for example, rowing, I can feel accomplished, proud, strong, focused and happy with myself.
SR: What are your favorite activities, sports and ways to stay healthy?
AD: Swimming! But I’m not swimming half as much as I was prior to Covid happening. At the start of Covid when I didn’t swim at all, I went stir crazy and my body felt different because I wasn’t as active as I was used to. This helped me realize that I needed to go and do other things to be active like the Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous: Spartan Kids Challenge. My little brother wants to do it with me, so it makes it even more enjoyable challenging him and having more laughs because he’s there.
SR: What’s one surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself by tackling these missions?
AD: Surprisingly, I have learned that I can do anything that I set my mind to. I have heard people say this in the past, but I didn’t really believe it because I thought so many things were very challenging and that I couldn’t be able to achieve them. For example, I didn’t think I could do the Upside Down Summer mission [to complete a 30 second handstand], I just thought I didn’t have it in me. But it was a huge goal of mine so I worked for it. I kept practicing and practicing until I got it. It took time and I got frustrated, but I can do it now. This showed me that I was mentally tough and that I was strong. When I say I’m going to do something, I do it because I’m stronger than I think, smarter than I know, and tougher than I believe.
Jurassic World franchise © Universal City Studios LLC and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. TV Series © DreamWorks Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved.