- 2 carrots
- 2 tricycles
- plastic cones and boxes (to mark off tricycle course)
- colored chalk or tape
- 3 adults
Objective: Children will engage in and invent a variety of organized outdoor play activities that encourage cooperation and large-motor development.
Prepare: Divide children into three groups. Explain that each group will have a chance to do every activity. Remind them to run or walk carefully, not to push, and to wait their turn. Use chalk or tape to mark off where the first person in line needs to stand for each activity.
1 Assign each adult volunteer to one of the following activities and take charge of the third yourself: Pass the Carrot. Explain to children that the first person in line holds the carrot and hops to a designated place and back. Then he hands the carrot to the next person on line as a signal that it is time for that child to go. As the relay progresses, the adult leader calls out an instruction for the way children are to move: "run," "walk fast," "walk backward," and so on. Instructions can get more complicated as children become more comfortable.
The Great Bike Race. Set up a course (using cones and/or boxes to designate a path) and provide each team with a tricycle or small scooter. Explain to the first child that she is to ride the tricycle and follow the course back to the front of the line, where she passes the trike to the next person in line. Raise the level of challenge by increasing the complexity of the course.
Ball-to-the-Back Race. Explain to children that in this activity everyone faces front and each child takes a turn at passing a ball over his head to the next person in line, until the ball reaches the last child. Then that child, bouncing the ball, walks to the front of the line to become the new first person. The process starts over again, continuing until everyone has had a turn to be first.
2 Encourage children to invent other challenge courses or modify any of these. Provide time for them to develop their ideas through drawing or writing out directions, and give them a chance to share their thoughts during group time. If enthusiasm is running high, you might suggest that interested children compile their ideas into an outdoor-activity book.
Tip: Some children may want to do these activities as relay races. Rather than promote an emphasis on winning, keep children's focus on accomplishing physical challenges and creating new versions to try.