Swimming & Yoga dominoes coming...eventually.
I made these ages ago and finally got around to posting them! I've always used character dominoes for swimming & climbing, but by making my own we can incorporate some vocabulary.
The nice thing about any domino play is that kids have a motivator to climb towards, and then are encouraged to rest while matching the pieces on the floor. It turns into a focused break between climbs.
Atomik has a great selection of kids climbing holds, and I have used Atomik pictures in the hold type dominoes. The free printable PDF's are at the bottom of this page.
I love to use silly words with a familiar cadence in all of my lessons. Even the infant classes start to recognize certain words and guess what's coming next. I didn't realize how many of them involved junk food until I wrote a list. Apparently I was hungry at the time. I'll have to add one about kale & quinoa that the kids can relate to.
Some of the phrases I use are:
Intermediate Swimming- Beginning Roll-Overs:
When introducing rolling onto the back to breath, I have kids say "Peanut Butter M&M mmmm" while on their back. As they say mmm (encourages blowing bubbles through the nose like humming) I roll them onto their belly. As they start doing roll-overs (swim 4 arms on belly, roll on back to breath, repeat) on their own a lot of kids will do a fast 360 and miss the breath. By saying "Peanut Butter M&M" out loud I know that they are breathing while on their back but not hanging out for too long.
Intermediate Swimming- Integrating Arms & Kick:
Some students have a great kick when using a kick board, but have trouble maintaining it while performing the whole stroke. I have kids begin with streamlining/kick for 3-5 seconds and then add in the arm stroke when I say "Cheddar Cheese Doodle".
Advanced Swimming- Breaststroke:
To encourage gliding in breaststroke and bring the timing together in a fun way we say "Pull, Breathe, Kick...Double Decker Chocolate Cake". As swimmers become more adept, we shorten the glide to "ooga booga" for a more natural flow. This tends to slow down the speed demon breaststrokers and bring some fun to learning proper timing- the most difficult part of breaststroke.
Yoga & Active Movement Games
Mindfulness- Introduction to Mantras & Walking Meditation:
I have used the silly phrases as a lead in to learning about mantras and walking meditation. I place yoga blocks in a circle or poly spots in a spiral. As we walk along the dots or blocks we say "yabba dabba doo" each time we place a foot. After getting out the giggles, we start to incorporate Thich Nhat Hanh's simple walking meditation (I usually only use the first two lines in kids classes):
l also love these posts about children's mantras from Left Brain Buddha and Move With Me.
Climbing- Static vs Dynamic:
I used to describe dynamic & static movement as fast and slow to the itty bitty climbers, but this wasn't even accurate enough for a 3 yr old translation. Now I have them hover their hand over the next hold and say a silly phrase before touching down. We use lots of different voices to keep things interesting as well. A climber should be able to pause at any time while moving statically, whereas he is committed to the dynamic move as soon as he leaves the first hold.
Climbing- Hold Types:
When reviewing hold types or simple movements you can keep kids engaged by calling out a hold when they reach it. For example, during a traverse we might say "crimper" in a small baby voice, "sloperific" with a surfer persona, or "jug" in a deep drawl when we come across each hold. I will also have students say "Matchey Matchey" in a bird chirp when matching feet, or "d-d-d-dyno" when making a dynamic move.
I decided to have a fun pirate week as I said goodbye to my Colorado students before moving to Lake Tahoe. The kids loved all of the pirate games and the egg hunts were a huge hit.
In the spring you can find silly face eggs in any grocery store. I also found them online here. I debated getting solid eggs and gluing an eye patch to each one, but in the end it was cheaper to purchase eggs with faces and piratize them myself with a permanent marker. It has started to rub off but they've held up pretty well. I also wrote pirate phrases on the back of each egg to keep us in the mood. I didn't use "son of a biscuit eater" but I really wish I had!
I like to use the same games in multiple venues, so we've played a few variations of this game:
Playground Lunch Hunt:
While the kids were laying on their backs telling each other "cloud stories" I hid their lunches in treasure boxes. I had a series of 8 clues hidden in the eggs that directed them to common playground features. Since we had a 4 yr old and an 8 yr old half of the clues were [cryptic] pictures and half were written so that they had to work as a team. The 8th egg had a picture of a treasure chest and a tree to direct them to their lunch hanging in a tree.
We reviewed hold types (terms for different shapes of climbing grips), wall angles and communication by having each child hide a gem, coin, or egg (some holds were too small to fit an egg) in a hold. The hider would give me a description of their hiding place to write down for the finder. For example, the gem might be hidden in "the finishing jug of the blue problem on the yellow overhanging wall". After each climber hid 3 pieces I handed over the clues and they went in search of treasure!
For younger climbers, I placed several eggs on the floor at the foot of each wall. When I called out "slab" everyone scrambled to retrieve an egg from the slab wall to find the treasure.
For a pool game, I placed a small gem or coin in each egg with one egg holding a large gem. We placed all of the eggs on one side of the pool and a treasure chest on the other end. Each child had to swim to the eggs and guess which held the large treasure.
Several students also started sorting the gems by placing them on top of colored coins.
I used bright pink and robin's egg blue "diamond scatter" from the bridal section of Party City, but I also found assorted colorful diamonds here.
I filled each egg with a stick figure yoga pose and scattered them in a large circle in a soccer field. I placed a motion card between each egg to get the kids moving. For example, we might "crawl like a snake" to an egg, mimic the pose inside and then "walk like a bear" to the next egg. I sometimes use animal flash cards so that kids can interpret that animals movement themselves.
Rebecca & Sarah have been working with children for over a decade. You can find a compilation of ideas for the classroom, home, and athletic fields here.