A good physical-education program should focus not only on staying fit and active, but also on teaching important social skills, including working with others to achieve a common goal. Teamwork is not only valuable on the field. It can help students manage interpersonal conflicts in many areas of life and is an extremely important job skill. Kids can enjoy and benefit from simple teamwork games from preschool through high school.
A group of students stands close together in a circle. The students all extend their arms inward, mingling their hands together. Each student then closes his eyes and grabs another hand in the circle with each of his hands. The students then open their eyes and work together to untangle the knot while staying connected. To achieve this task, students will have to consider their teammates' positions in relation to their own, move in close proximity to others respectfully, and make complex requests and suggestions verbally.
A teacher scatters PE equipment or other common items of various shapes and sizes densely across the playing area. Students pair up and one member of the pair puts on a blindfold. The blindfolded student's partner then needs to guide the blindfolded student from one side of the "mine field" to the other, using only verbal instructions. The pair is not allowed to touch, but must work together to avoid the obstacles.
A group of six to eight students stands together in random order, with the students at least two arm lengths away from each other. A teacher provides an object to juggle, like a bean bag, a softball or a rubber chicken. Each of the students then tosses the object to another, remembering in what order each student receives it. When the students master one object, the teacher adds another, and the students have to toss both objects in the same pattern, one after the other. As the students get better at each round, the teacher can add another object. Students can work together to figure out what speed, throwing height and techniques best help them keep the objects in the air.
A teacher gives each student a hula hoop. The students spread out and drop their hula hoops on the ground, standing in the middle. The teacher then plays music and the students walk around the playing area, avoiding the hoops. When the music stops, everyone has to get into a hoop as quickly as possible. On the next round, the teacher takes some of the hoops away and tells the students that some of them will have to share hoops when the music stops, but they need to make sure everyone has a hoop to stand in. The teacher takes away more hoops on each subsequent round and has the students brainstorm about how they will make sure each person gets into a hoop. The focus of this game is on inclusion and finding ways to make everyone belong.
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