Teachers' Questions: Outside Games from back home.

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Q: I teach a Saturday morning eikaiwa class for elementary school kids once a month. I decided it would be good to take the kids outside for one of the lessons. I was hoping to teach the kids some games that we play at home in England (non-stop cricket etc.). I was wondering if anyone had tried anything like this before and had any advice? Cheers!

(reply from Wendy Angela)

I often take my classes outside to play if the weather is good.

This website has the rules for all the normal outdoor games that kids play in Western countries: http://www.gameskidsplay.net/

Also, What time is it Mr Wolf? is a good one and uses plenty of English and lets the kids take huge big jump steps.

Other ones that I've done that don't use so much English are red light/green light or tag (all sorts of versions) -

* Freeze tag (or statues as it was called at my school) where the kids that get tagged have to stand in a star like shape and can't move until someone else crawls between their legs and "sets them free". Japanese kids know this game but they play it by just touching people to free them. ( Also see the Harry Potter game - Richard)

* Pair tag where the kids link arms with their pair. The "it" then joins on to one end of the pair and the person on the other end has to break away and is the new "it". Everyone must always be in a pair. It works best with more than one "it" at a time.

* Touch the body tag where you have to touch whatever part of your body that was tagged. So if you were tagged on your back then you have to touch your back and run around like that. Then if you are tagged again on say your arm, you have to run around with one hand touching your back and the other touching your arm. If you're touched a third time either you become an "it" or you have to touch that body part with your head/leg/tongue/up-to-your-imagination!

Non-stop cricket works really well too. I got a cheap cricket set sent over from home (paid for by the sister city association that employs me). I used rubbish bins from the classrooms for wickets and a tennis ball as the ball (to make the game easier and prevent injuries) and made up rules about bowling under-arm and at a decent speed. It worked really well and most of the girls were really good at it (I've only played with 4, 5 and 6th graders so far). And if the boys stood like a baseball player instead of like a cricket player (with the bat on the ground) while they were batting I made it a foul and they had to replay the shot or lost a run. I also found the kids weren't good at running between wickets (especially in pairs instead of alone like they would in a baseball game) so I put an extra wicket / rubbish bin adjacent to where they batted from and made the batters run around that and back to their base to bat the next ball. It worked well and prevented collisions and tears when the batter would run out the other player before the other person had had a turn to face the bowler. (Sorry, it is difficult to explain in words, but basically I adapted the game to suit my own needs after first playing 5 minutes of "real" cricket which bored the kids and made them fully understand why a cricket game often takes 5 days and still ends in a draw! All the kids and teachers have a great time guessing how long a game takes. I usually explain by first saying that baseballs games take a long time, about 3 hours or so, and a cricket game takes a little bit longer than that. How long do they think? Usually some smart alec will say "one day" and it is great to answer by saying "no, a bit longer"! But then make sure that you explain that there is sleeping and eating time! Otherwise they all think that cricketers play 24 hours a day for the full 5 days!!)

Wendy Angela

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Be genki,


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