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It was cold cold cold at the Riverside Museum in Glasgow yesterday for our 6th Set4Sport Roadshow but at least it wasn't Wet Wet Wet :). It was great to see so many parents and kids joining in and actually once we started playing, we forgot that it was 5 degrees! We had 6 stations and the only one that didn't work because of the weather was Boom Boom Balloon so we substituted that for the One Armed Bandit. That's a throwing and catching game where you lose a limb every time someone drops the ball. Luckily we had some cushions with us, as players end up kneeling, then sitting and even lying down while trying to catch (or bat) the ball back. Funny stuff but great for balancing skills...
Had some great feedback but the one constant is how simple the games are, how easily (and cheaply) they can be created and how much enjoyment everyone can get out of them. We have a great team of coaches working on Set4Sport and they give parents tips on which skills each game helps to develop and ideas on how to alter the game to make it, tougher, simpler or just different coz we all know how quickly young child's attention can wander...The great thing is that the kids are learning without realizing!
Of course the best games are the ones that parents and their kids dream up themselves but this programme allows me to share some of the things that I played with Jamie and Andy when they were growing up! So even if you are busy and only have 10 minutes to play, you can find something active to do that will help your kids develop the physical skills they need to be able to play any sport with confidence later in life.
See the pic of a family playing Down the Tubes. Simple game using the inside of a roll of gift wrap and a ping pong ball. Gr8 for developing concentration, quick reactions,catching skills...and a lot of fun too because the child cant see the ball coming! If you stick a bucket or a box on the ground, the child can aim the ball into it once its caught..and then you develop simple throwing skills too. Catch with or without a bounce...put 2 ping pong balls down at the same time...catch in a cup or a Tesco bag or a box...bat or kick the ball after it comes out the tube...endless ways of mixing this game up and can be played inside or out. Perfect. Go on, try it...you know you want to...:)
Just home from Swansea and have to say our 3rd Set4Sport Roadshow at the LC2 Leisure Centre was a cracker!! This was our first indoor venue and sods law….the sun shone :) Possibly just as well because we may not have been able to cope with many more kids and parents than we got. Over 200 in 4 hours. Fabulous. The LC2 Centre manager said that if it had rained, there would have been 4 times as many families and that might have been more than we bargained for!!!!
We set up 5 stations and worked 3 minute rotations with 3 parents-kids at each station. We used Race n Chase, Double Trouble, Down the Tubes, Dodgems and Jumping the River. If i was picking a kids favorite station from Swansea, I think it would be Jumping the River. Dai, the coach in charge of that station, was doing a great job in creating the story around the game. So, not only did the kids have to jump the shark infested waters (toy sharks scattered within 2 pieces of rope), they also had to land inside Noah’s ark (a hoop) to be safe. Then when they had landed safely (on balance -”don’t fall off the boat”)…….parent threw a soft toy or rag doll to them to catch. “save the lion/baby too”………
Amazing what a bit of imagination can do! Had some good feedback from 2 primary school teachers who came along with their kids. Both liking the simplicity of the games and the basic equipment required to set up. Another teacher said the activities were perfect for her slightly older special needs class. Although we have aimed the Set4Sport programme at 4-8 year olds, we were able to cater from 2-12 yesterday by adapting the games to make them easier or more challenging, tho the key for us is for the parents to join in. If parents experience the games with their kids, then they are way more likely to give them a go at home.
The 3 coaches who came to help also said they would start planning some parent-child sessions using the Set4Sport games to encourage families to play together at their clubs, but to help younger kids to develop the coordination skills required to play whatever sport takes their fancy. I know from watching beginner mini tennis lessons, that its very difficult to make contact with bat and ball unless the child has learned the basics of coordination, balance and throwing/catching. The same will apply to other sports too.
The day ended for me at Joe’s Ice Cream Parlor in Mumbles. One Strawberry Sundae, thank you very much. Awesome!
Off to Brighton tomorrow for Roadshow no4. Will be at the Old Paddling Pool from 11am-3pm. Would love to see you and your kids/grand kids/nieces/nephews…..and if you do come, could you bring the sunshine!!!
Here’s a pic of Down the Tubes. The tubes are the insides of rolls of gift wrap or cardboard mailing tubes. Hold em up. Stick a small ball, sweet, water bomb or rubbery creature inside and roll it down. Child cant see it coming and has to catch it (with or without a bounce) then throw it into a bucket. Great for quick reactions!! Favorite ball was the spiky one that lit up when it bounced. Strange that!!
Eureka! was an inspired choice of venue for the 2nd Set4Sport Roadshow in Halifax yesterday. Its the National Childrens Museum and if you havent been already, its well worth a visit. It’s open from 10am-4pm and you could easily spend all day there with your kids…there is just so much to see and do. You can even watch Archimedes having a bath…. yes really!
The philosophy of Eureka! is very similar to ours at Set4Sport – encouraging adults to help their kids to learn through play – so we were delighted to be able to set up in the grounds. Have to say I wasn’t happy when I woke up at 6.45am to hear the rain pelting down…but we had a space inside the museum on the first floor as well so we put a few taster games up there…just in case!!!! Boom Boom Balloon went down a storm. Amazing how a simple toy like a balloon (costs about 5p) filled with a few grains of rice, can keep a child entertained for ages…..IF you can find lots of different ways to play with it. Our Set4Sport team was on hand to give lots of tips and ideas of course and every child went home with a free Set4Sport book, courtesy of our sponsors RBS!
Meanwhile outside, the wind was playing a bit of havoc with our equipment and the showers were ruining my hair :) but we had 5 stations on the go and lots of kids buzzing to join in. Across the day I reckon we saw over 300 kids with parents, grandparents, childminders and nursery school teachers. The key for us is that the adults join in with the kids so they can actually experience the games rather than just watching. Way more fun for the kids too. It’s easy for our Roadshow team to engage the kids during the event but when the kids go home and want to play…they need someone to play with!
Here’s some pics I took. Loving both of these. Sam (age 6) is playing Double Trouble with one of our team. There’s a channel made from 2 bamboo canes, 2 balls and 2 small tubs. It involves throwing, rolling or kicking 2 balls at the same time (might need to say 1,2,3, GO) through the channel towards a target. And here’s what it does….help kids to learn to direct a ball in a straight line to a target. Great for tracking, sending and receiving a ball but also helps improve concentration, timing and quick reactions because both players are throwing at the same time. The kids don’t know all that though, they are having fun and learning without realising!!!
This one is Lila (age 3) who is playing Washing Line Tennis with her dad Jon who has posted a fab video clip on the Set4Sport facebook page showing lots of the things they did yesterday. He’s even put Match of the Day background music. So good!! Anyway, Washing Line Tennis is just a rope tied across a couple of posts…in this case 2 traffic cones we found in the car park. In our garden way back when…we used 2 plastic chairs. Lila has a lollipop paddle in each hand to bat the ball over the rope. If you have no bats, you can just use your hands. You want to know why she has a bat in each hand???? Well, if you are trying to develop coordination on both sides of the body – and not just the dominant side – then you challenge kids to do things with their opposite hand too! Think double-handed backhand in tennis or a rugby pass, a cricket strike or a basketball throw.. … all of these involve both hands!
A great day. So much fun with the kids. Feeling a bit stiff today though. Something to do with all the bending down to get to the same level as the 4 year olds! Haha. Looking forward to doing it all again at the LC Centre in Swansea on Friday 19th August. 11am-3pm if you are in the area we would love to play with you!! And your kids!!
Well it was wet (very) and windy (fairly) in South Shields for our first Set4Sport roadshow but rain didn’t stop play. Oh no….we just had to relocate from the wonderful South Marine Park and set up beneath the covered walkway on the Promenade. Big bonus that there was an alternative venue because all of the games can be played indoors and can be adapted to fit into restricted spaces. So they are perfect for living room or garden! Another bonus…….it was right beside Minchellas Ice Cream Parlour!
We had heaps of equipment with us…everything but the kitchen sink – and actually I would have brought that if it hadn’t been plumbed in. Would have made a great target for the end of the Dodgems game!!! By the end of the day our cereal boxes were a bit bashed n soggy but everything else survived. Including the helpers! Luckily our Set4Sport books – and my mascara – are waterproof!
What was so good about the kids that came in to see us, was that they were accompanied by an assortment of people. We had mums (might have been “mams” in South Shields?) dads, grandparents, older siblings and childminders. We even had the Park Rangers!
Being able to show everyone how easy it is to keep kids active and engaged using everyday household objects is exactly what we are aiming for. One granny who looked after her 3 grandkids during the school holidays said she couldn’t get them “off the sofa and away from the Playstation for love nor money”. Those 3 kids stayed for 4 hours and were still going strong when we had to pack up.
The key is not just in the equipment and the game – we know kids attention spans are short – its in the fact they had someone to play with who was continually adding to the game or changing it to make it easier, tougher or just different. And when they’ve had enough of that game, move on to the next roadshow station.
We learned a lot from the kids too. Boys love to hit or kick to targets. They like to score points too. Girls like the pink playballs and the glittery hoola hoops but in general they listen better and take their time to try and do things correctly. They reminded us how quickly kids can improve the basic skills just through repetition and encouragement. One boy Kai (7) showed me his hula hooping skills. He had taught himself. Outrageously good. Entertained himself for hours and could hula round his neck, shoulders, waist, knees and ankles. Fabulous sense of rhythm and awareness of how his body worked.
As well as keeping the kids engaged, we were able to share lots of tips and ideas for parents to try at home. And to show how to adapt things if kids can’t do something. For example….if a child is struggling to catch a tennis ball with both hands, simply throw a much larger ball OR give them a margarine tub (or biscuit tin) to catch it in. This will help them to make the catch, then as they grow in confidence….you can try the smaller ball or ditch the tin for hands again.
Back on the road on Tuesday at Eureka! Halifax. Come and join us if your anywhere near!!
Set4Sport launched at a primary school in South London on Tuesday 14th June with a group of school children and their parents, joined by Judy and her sons, Jamie and Andy. Lots of fun was had by all, here is a selection of images that you may have seen in the national press.
Watch footage from the event and hear Judy talk about Set4Sport on Daybreak