Wednesday, June 16, 2010


The following activities are excerpts from Rae Pica's book, Great Games for Young Children.Over 100 Games to Develop Self-Confidence, Problem-Solving Skills, & Cooperation

Rae Pica has been a movement education consultant for 25 years. She is nationally known for her lively workshops and keynote speeches and has shared her expertise with such groups as the Sesame Street Research Department, the Head Start Bureau, Gymboree Play & Music Centers, The Centers for Disease Control, and Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues. She lives in New Hampshire.

Circles bring about a sense of community -- of belonging -- that no other formation offers. Whether the children are holding hands or simply sitting side by side, the circle is a symbol of togetherness. It allows them to see and hear everyone else. To remain part of the circle, children must accept the rules and role assigned. Recognition of others and both verbal and nonverbal communication are among the social skills fostered "in the round."

Name Ball. This simple game is a great way for children to get to know one another's names at the start of the school year. Later, it can be used to impart other pertinent information about each child.

Ask the children to stand in a large circle. One child starts by saying his name and then gently passes a small, easy-to-grip ball to the child to either his right or left, who must then say her name as she catches the ball. The process continues around the circle until all of the children have said their names. Then, to help the children more quickly remember each other's name, reverse the process.

Once the children know each other's names, have them call out the name of the person to whom they're tossing the ball.

Movement Mimic. This is similar to the old game of Gossip, where one player begins by whispering something into the ear of the next player, who in turn whispers it to the next player, and so on all the way around the circle. But, here, instead of trying to get the same words all the way around, the children try to replicate the same movement.

Standing, form a circle with the children and begin by choosing an action that each child must take turns imitating until it comes back to you. For instance, you might gently squeeze the hand of the child to your right, and she must do the same to the child on her right, and so on around the circle (i.e., sequential movement).

The Spokes of the Wheel Go 'Round & 'Round. Ask the children if they've seen the spokes on a bicycle wheel. Talk to them about the concept before starting this game.

Ask the children to stand in a close circle, each child facing someone else's back. The children then extend their arms toward the inside of the circle so everyone's hands are touching. They then go 'round and 'round, like a bicycle wheel, trying to keep all the spokes attached!

Do As I Say. This game requires concentration! Start off slowly -- speak slowly and give just a few commands at a time. Even if you notice children aren't getting it quite right, just smile and move right along to the next challenge.

The children stand in a circle, with you in the center. Explain that you're going to give them a short list of things to do but that they're not to do them until you've completed the list. Then present such challenges as:

· Jump forward, jump backward.
· Clap twice, blink your eyes.
· Turn yourself around, give yourself a hug.
· Touch your knees, touch your head.
· Clap twice, blink your eyes, turn around.

With older, more experienced children, you can extend the list of commands even further. They may not be able to "clap twice, blink eyes, turn around, give yourself a hug," but they'll have fun trying!

Book Review

"For those of us who believe that 'play is the right of every child,' this collection of non-competitive, non-embarrassing, non-eliminating, and yet fun and instructional games for young children, is highly welcomed in the early childhood community! I love the way Rae describes why each game is important in terms of cognitive, social/emotional, and physical benefits thus helping teachers articulate to parents and administrators that play is an 'essential part' of any curriculum for young children."

Marcy Guddemi,
Early Childhood Curriculum Specialist

These games, along with their variations, appear in Great Games for Young Children (Gryphon House, 2006) by Rae Pica.

The games in this book provide benefits for the whole child, meaning each game benefits all three domains of child development: cognitive, social/emotional, and physical. These new and classic games, each with a noncompetitive twist, are sure to get children up and moving. You’ll find everything you need to know to play over 100 great games, including outside games, musical games, circle games, concept games, and cooperative games. Perfect for rainy days, sunny days, and every day, each game in this book offers heart rate raising, team-building, friend-filled fun!

To find out more or purchasee from Amazon click on the box below.

Moving & Learning
Rae Pica, Director/Author
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1 comment:

Kristi Bernard said...

What a great idea. Turning circles into games looks like fun for kids.