The Bluearth Approach is built around six key elements, which are proven to help children move confidently and competently, and improve their physical, social, and emotional wellbeing.
The third element is Movement Challenges and Games, which encompasses partner or group activities that challenge students all while being fun and beneficial.
Read on to learn all there is to know about this element of our approach.
What are Movement Challenges and Games?
Involving partner, small group and whole groups activities, movement challenges are designed to awaken and prepare students physically and mentally by using feeling awareness.
By being aware with the body, we become alert, and open to our feedback system. Cooperation and awareness of movement are enhanced, allowing students to become receptive to the messages of their coach, partner, and own internal feedback system.
Games are an opportunity to cooperate as a whole group. They require strategies, decision-making, teamwork, and the importance of consequence of one’s actions, in the context of the game.
Games unfold according to the objectives of the game, and this is the testing ground of each student’s skill and adaptation, in relation to their interpretation and strategy around these objectives.
In this sense, what develops is an ability to be spontaneous, while taking into account communication, feedback, and planning.
What do students get out of Movement Challenges and Games?
There is a distinct difference between movement challenges and games and movement exercises. When students engage in movement challenges and games, they experience the following benefits:
Find freedom and expression of movement
In the flow of a game where the focus is no longer solely on ideal form or perfecting the skills required, participants find freedom and full expression of movement. This brings about feelings of joy and happiness.
Calibrate newly learned skills and build endurance
In a game setting, new skills are put to the test, where we are running, being chased, under pressure. This gives us the opportunity to see which skills we need to spend more time improving on.
Opportunity to see our own habits and tendencies in a team environment
Many tendencies or behaviour habits are revealed in a game setting. These are a few examples of questions one may ask themselves in reflecting on their game play: ‘Do I tend to hog the ball?’, ‘do I give up easily under pressure?’, ‘do I naturally take a leadership role?’, ‘can I take instructions to help my team?’, ‘does losing frustrate me?’.
When we then reflect on these tendencies as a group, we get the opportunity to see ourselves in a different light, how our actions impact our team. It gives great opportunity to resolve conflict as a group, working through difficult emotions that arise in the game environment.
Within the game we need to learn how to communicate to our team members, pregame strategy, during the game, post game reflection. In reflection as an entire group we learn to communicate feedback in a constructive and meaningful way. This is a very powerful life skill.
When playing games we learn to work as a team, how to cooperate, how to lead, how to work in teams, and take instructions.
In a game we need to think about strategies, problem solve and be creative and forward thinking.
Builds personal skills
Confidence, cooperation, leadership and communication, sportsmanship and how to be humble.
Builds interpersonal skills
When playing games, and then having the depth of reflection and discussion as we do in Bluearth, we see that relationships are built well beyond the usual friendship groups. Relationships are strengthened and celebrated throughout the group. This is ultimately the building of trust between class mates which is very important to the individuals, the class group as well as the entire school community.
Examples of Movement Challenges and Games
To give you an idea of what our movement challenges and games look like, and how they diversify from one to another in terms of equipment, motions and skills, here are three of them.
The objective of this game is to warm up students for further activity and to develop their awareness of their surroundings while moving. It involves agility, focus, and endurance.
How it works:
- Students are spread out over a full/half/third/quarter of a netball court.
- Students must keep moving around to the best of their ability searching/hunting for open space. They freeze on the whistle and check how they did by outstretching their arms and deciding if they found/caught their own area of space.
- As the activity progresses, the playing area is made smaller and smaller. Try walking, jogging, sprinting, hopping, skipping etc. to switch things up and challenge students further.
The Cooperation Game
This is a whole-class activity that develops coordination and initiative.
How it works:
- In groups and starting at one end of the court, students must move their piece of equipment (i.e. frisbee, basketball, gridiron ball) down the court from one end to a set point at the other ensuring all students in the group touch the object once.
- The coach can set a time limit or work on the group’s fastest time; however it is important for the group to compete against their own previous efforts and to have an achievable goal.
Screen Tag / Circle Tag
This tag variation aims to develop teamwork, communication, cooperation, agility, and strength.
How it works:
- In groups of 4-6, students will either link arms or hold hands to make a circle. There will be one student that starts on the outside of the circle and they will assume the role of tagger. The tagger will nominate a student to be the “target” and will then stand on the opposite side of the circle to the target player. On the word “GO”, the tagger will attempt to tag the targeted student, whilst the teammates of the targeted player do their best to protect the target by being on the move but still connected and maintaining their circle.
- Have the students change their roles regularly.