Summer Activity: Fun in the Sun
Go outside for a "field day" of fun, noncompetitive activities
- Grades: PreK–K
Children participate in a series of games that emphasize cooperation and improve large-muscle skills.
- Instrumental movement music
- CD or cassette player (with batteries)
- A few funny hats
Talk about playing games in which people win or lose. Ask, “How do you feel when you win?” “Lose?” “Do all games have to have a winner and a loser?” “What would it be like to play games where everyone is a winner?”
Organize children outside for a day of field activities in which everyone wins. If possible, invite parents to join in. They add a wonderful dimension to the play!
Set up two simultaneous games in which each group has its own Simon. Play the game in the original way, but in this version when children are “out” in one game, they’ll just move to the other group!
Players sit in a circle. Whoever’s “it” sits in the center of the circle wearing a hat. When the music starts, “it” hands the hat to someone in the circle and the children quickly pass the hat around. When the music stops, the person holding the hat is “it” and goes into the center. Continue until the hat has been worn by all.
This game combines Follow the Leader and Tag. Suggest that children spread out in the play area. One person is “it.” Put on the music while “it” demonstrates a movement (walking, hopping, flapping arms). The others must imitate the movement but at the same time try to avoid getting tagged by “it.” The person who is tagged then chooses a movement for the others to copy. This continues until all children have had a chance to be “it.”
For younger children
Be sure to support even the smallest gains in children’s gross motor abilities. Some children may not want to participate in the games but would prefer to demonstrate their growing physical abilities for the group.
For older children
You can increase the level of difficulty in each of the games by having the child playing Simon in the first game demonstrate more complicated movements for children to imitate. In the second game, suggest that children pass the hat by tossing or twirling it. In Movement Tag, have the “it” person demonstrate increasingly complicated movements for children to imitate.
Play a movement guessing game. Cut out pictures of various movements (running, skipping, shoveling) from magazines and place in a bag. Invite children to take turns choosing a picture from the bag. Help them move in that way while the rest of the class tries to identify the movement. Continue until each child has a chance to choose and demonstrate a movement.
RELEVANT BOOKS AND RESOURCES
Introducing Your Kids to the Outdoors
by Christopher Van Tilburg
(Stackpole Books, 2005; $16.95)
Physical Development (Around the Year)
by Pauline Kenyon
(Scholastic, 2001; $28.66)
by Shen Roddie, Sally Ann Lambert
(American Natural Hygiene Society, 2001; $7.95)