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Children will develop gross-motor skills as they play this outdoor movement game.
- A portable cassette or CD player
- A few favorite music tapes
On a bright, sunny day, go outdoors for a "shadow hunt." Encourage children to look for shadows made by your school building, playground equipment, bushes, and their own bodies. Talk about how large shadows, such as those from trees, make the cool, shady areas people enjoy on hot days.
1. Invite interested children to play this shadow game. Start by playing a cassette or CD player. As the music plays, children dance or move in any way they choose, trying to avoid stepping on one another's shadows or letting shadows "step on" them.
2. Encourage children to watch the patterns their shadows make as they move. After a short time, stop the music and say, "Freeze!" Children then stop moving and hold their positions until the music starts again. After you do this a few times, select a child to operate the player. Let children take turns being the "Music Maker."
3. Continue the game as long as children are interested and time allows. If possible, make Shadow Freeze one of many options at outdoor playtime so children can join and leave the game as they choose.
For younger children: Place a ball on the pavement of your outdoor play space on a sunny day. Invite children to take turns jumping on and off the shadow of the ball.
For older children: After trying their own creative movements, ask children to move in specific ways as they try to avoid one another's shadows. For example, ask children to move like mice approaching a piece of cheese, monkeys jumping from tree to tree, lively puppies running toward a bone.
Observations: Which children seem to move freely and easily as they create their own movements? Which children seem confused or uninterested in moving about the play space?
Remember: Children will be interested in pointing out when others "break the rules" by stepping on someone's shadow, for example, or moving when they are supposed to "freeze." Allow for this development behavior, but avoid letting the game become too negative or competitive.
Spin Off: Invite children to play Number Freeze. Call out a series of numbers. Tell children that they need to freeze when they hear the number seven. Continue the game by encouraging children to freeze as you call out other specified numbers.
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