Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New twists on familiar games help Rec&Ed - and you - promote active fun

"Mingle, mingle!" announced Erica Pittman, Rec&Ed School Age Child Care Supervisor at Wines Elementary. The twelve or so kids, grades K - 5, froze in their positions and looked at Erica. 

"Okay. Two...and...hopping!" 

The children quickly formed pairs and hopped in around in a large circle, laughing and shrieking. Upbeat music played in the background. A few minutes later, Erica once again turned down the music and said, "Mingle, mingle!" This time, she instructed the kids to form groups of three and skip.  
Children in Rec&Ed's after school child care
play a more active version of Follow the Leader.
These children, as well as those enrolled in the Rec&Ed after school child care at Abbot, are trying new physical activity games from the best-practice CATCH (Coordinated Action Toward Child Health) curriculum. Rec&Ed child care supervisors use lesson plans from the CATCH After School Club curriculum to lead about 30 minutes of these games. Each game emphasizes different types of fitness and all are designed for having fun while connecting with peers. 

The "Mingle Mingle" game is a new spin on familiar gross motor activities like running, skipping, dancing and hopping. This is an easy game to play with a group of kids in a basement or outside. We've found it works well with K-5 kids. See game directions here.

Do you remember playing "Follow the Leader" when you were a kid? 

In our Rec&Ed child care version, children take turns deciding on a type of physical activity and leading their peers in a long line, all of whom are copying their movements. 

Last week at Rec&Ed's after school child care at Abbot Elementary, the leader (an elementary student wearing red in the photo above) started out skipping with swinging arms, then moved to a gliding, ice-skating movement. Her peers followed her in a snake line as she led them around the multi-purpose room. Every child had an opportunity to lead the group, coming up with all sorts of interesting ways to flap their arms, run, walk and skip.

Next time you're looking for a fun birthday party game or need to entertain a group of kids for whatever reason, try these updated versions of familiar activities! Play kid-friendly music and join in yourself.

Rec&Ed is fortunate to have funding from the Michigan Dept of Community Health for the six-week "Fuel Up for Fun" program. Fuel Up for Fun provides staff training in the national best-practice CATCH After School Club to encourage healthy lifestyle habits for a lifetime. See previous posts for other new Rec&Ed programs funded by the MDCH.

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