Sport 1: Play Four Square!
- To create your playing court, draw a 2 x 2 square grid measuring 8′ x 8′ on the paved surface with the sidewalk chalk. Draw a large capital “A” in the upper left square, a capital “B” in the upper right square, a capital “C” in the lower right square, and a capital “D” in the lower left square.
- The player in square A gets the ball first. Each of the squares is ranked, with A being the highest and D being the lowest. The goal of the game is to get to square A and remain there for as long as possible.
- To begin the game, player A bounces the ball in his square, then serves it to a player in another square by either hitting it lightly with the palm of his hand or gently tossing it.
- Each time the ball bounces in a player’s square, he must hit or catch and toss the ball into another square, making sure the ball bounces only once in his square. If a player catches the ball before it falls in his square, he must bounce it in his square before returning it.
- Have the players continue hitting and tossing the ball back and forth until one of the players fails to return the ball to an opponent. That player then moves to square D and the players who were behind him move up one square. For example, if player B fails to return the ball, he moves to square D and players C and D move to squares B and C, respectively.
- If more than 4 children are playing, have those who don’t have a square form a line next to the court. When a player fails to return a ball, he moves to the back of the line and the player at the start of the line moves to square D.
Discuss: What rule changes can you make to make the game more fun?
To make the game more challenging, incorporate special calls into the play. A special call is a spontaneous action prompt given by player A that all players must follow. Player A must have the ball before making a special call. If a player fails to execute a special call, he moves to square D or to the back of the line. Examples of special calls:
- Corners: All players run to the farthest corner of their squares.
- Bus Stop: All players run to cover their letter with one foot.
- Candlesticks: Player A starts by throwing the ball into the air, claps once, then catches the ball and passes it to player B. Player B then does the same, except he must clap twice instead of once! The action continues around the squares, each subsequent player adding an extra clap.
- Taxi: All players run to cover their letter with two feet.
- Titanic: All players kneel on one knee, mimicking the motion of a sinking ship.
Quiz: What do you enjoy more – individual or team sports. Why?
Sport 2: Ball-Handling Workout
- Start by having your child dribble the ball in front of and a little to the side of his body. For good dribbling technique, advise your child to use his fingertips, rather than his palm, to control the ball. He should keep his wrist relatively stiff and his elbow flexible.
- Have your child begin slowly, counting as he bounces to help him establish a steady rhythm. This technique is especially helpful for beginning dribblers.
- As your child grows more confident in his dribbling ability, vary the count by counting up and down or even using the letters of the alphabet.
Discuss: What new stuff can you try in dribbling?
When your child has good control of the ball, have him walk forward while dribbling, pausing every so often. When he’s ready, suggest more difficult tricks for him to try. Here are a few examples:
- Switch: Alternate dribbling the ball with the right and left hand.
- Bounce Low: Try to maintain a dribble below the knees.
- Bounce Medium: Maintain a waist-high dribble.
- Ziggy Zaggy: Move in a zigzag path while dribbling. Draw a path on the ground with sidewalk chalk for your child to follow (optional).
- Left, Right, Forward, Backward, Stop, Go, Curve, Circle: Call out directions in any order and have your child follow them while he dribbles the ball.
- Count Up: Maintain a dribble for as long as possible, counting each bounce as you go.
- Word Spell: Spell out simple words while dribbling, calling out one letter per bounce. You can also write words on the ground with sidewalk chalk and have your child bounce the ball on each letter as he calls them out (optional).
Once he’s a dribbling master, encourage him to invent his own tricks to wow his friends and classmates.
Quiz: Assume you are playing a game in which you have to confuse the opponent with your dribble. What will you do?
Sport 3: Exercise…with Dice!
- Measure and cut down pieces of paper to fit each side of both styrofoam boxes. This will require 12 sheets, one for each side of each dice.
- Have your child come up with six different ways to move around. Examples could be: run, crab walk, tip-toe, tumble, skip, etc.
- Using a marker, encourage your child to write one action on each piece of paper. Have her accompany the action word with a drawing depicting the action.
- Have her adhere the action words to a cube, one on each of the 6 sides.
- Now, have her print numbers 1-6 on the other cut pieces of paper. Make sure that there is one number per sheet of paper.
- Then, draw dots under the numbers to represent each number.
- Ask her to adhere the number sheets to the six sides of the other die.
- Go outside to a nice open area where she can move around without rocks or hard surfaces.
- Create an imaginary boundary in the form of a circle.
- Encourage your child to roll both of the dice and have her physically do the action word as many times around the imaginary circle as listed on the number die. For example, if the action die lands on “Skip” and the number die lands on “2”, she would skip twice around the imaginary circle.
Each player should take a turn rolling the dice. Play for as long as you like. The objective of the game is to follow directions and have fun!
Discuss: Which activity did you enjoy the most? Which one featured the most? If we look at all participants, do we see a pattern?
Quiz: How many sides does a cube have? What is the sum of all the numbers on the dice?