We’ve all seen situations where 15 kids are standing in line during a game, or sitting on the sidelines after they’ve been called “out” of a game. This happens in schools and churches, alike. The catch is, if you really want to engage kids, you have to keep them active and focused on the game—not on the blades of grass they pluck from the soccer field. This is where the term “max participation” comes in. This means having the maximum number of people active during the entire game or activity. Here are 3 ways to ensure your kids stay engaged during an activity:
– More lines = shorter lines. If your group is playing a game where lines or groups are formed, try to make as many of them as you can. Meaning, instead of doing a relay race with 4 groups of 10, try doing 8 groups of 5. This will cut out the time where kids are just standing around and not paying attention. This will also help keep kids from getting bored with the game.
– No “outs.” Most traditional large group games like “tag” and “dodgeball,” end with most kids being called “out!” While these games are great to play, the “out” option needs to be changed. There are several ways you can do this. One option—once a kid is “out,” they have to do a certain activity in order to get back into the game, e.g., do 10 jumping jacks, recite the week’s theme verse, say their ABC’s, etc. Basically, anything to get themselves back in to the game. Second option—An activity where someone else has to help get them back into the game. An example would be in the game of traditional freeze tag. When one is called out, instead of going to the sidelines, have them sit criss-cross apple sauce where they are until a “free” person tags them back in.
– Kill it before it dies! End the game before it becomes boring and monotonous. When you think a game is getting good and the kids are running around like crazy and having a blast… end the game. You heard me—end it. It’s going to be hard because you will be telling yourself “but the kids are having so much fun!” Here’s the thing, though, games die quickly. Chances are, once you realize it’s dying, it’s too late.
Jessica Herrell loves to play games… in fact, her degree was in Physical Education and Health!