My Town At Mardi Gras Game
I have always loved games that integrate creativity, music, multiple roles, and competition. It is also helpful to incorporate current events when working with children to encourage community awareness and opportunities to communicate about current events, or seasons and holidays. As a child care worker, parent, or teacher, you know that playful opportunities lose their charm if kids can’t connect to their world around them through play. Like trying to play a game about snow ball fights (that one is coming) in summer or rain storms during a blizzard. The activities just lose some of their appeal. Whereas, when you are able to make a game timely that relates to something popular or a season, the game has major potential for success.
With that said, who wants to be the king and queen of Mardi Gras? In this game, everyone wins.
Objective: To be the last team with a cup standing.
- Protector or King/Queen = protect the cups and give balls to their teammates
- Destroyer = in charge of throwing cups at other cities
- Collector = in charge of collecting balls from their team’s king/queen or by getting them from the overthrows
Setting Up the Game:
Divide the class into three groups (gold, purple, and green). Ask them to build a city made of cups of their respective colors. If you are playing in a gym, you could ask each team to building in a corner of the gym or space them out around the center court circle.
What is GaGa Ball?
I had heard of it. We sell a GaGa Pit at S&S Worlwide. I have listened to my kids tell stories about it in gym class. Yet, I still didn’t understand what ‘IT’ was! Is it like soccer with hands? Is it like handball? Is it dodgeball with no throws? “Big deal” I thought. Then our school’s PTO purchased one. Now that they got it, and I’ve played it. I get ‘IT’! I can now say that the GaGa Ball game is a blast and a huge hit with kids, getting them active while having fun. Isn’t that our goal?
My first introduction to the GaGa Pit was when I showed up on a Saturday morning with Gator Skin Balls in tote to greet kids chanting “GA GA! GA GA! GA GA!” My kids gave me a run down on the rules of GaGa on the 5 minute ride to the school. The rest we might call ‘experiential learning’. GaGa Rules of Play are simple and the kids pick it up quickly.
Before I list the rules of play and instructions, I just want to let you know that like any game, there are many variations to GaGa Ball. I am going to try and stay true to the way that we play, but I will highlight with an (*) in areas where there are popular variations. The best advice I can give everyone though is to KEEP THE GAME SIMPLE! The kids will have fun.
Object of GaGa Ball:
- To be the last player in the GaGa Pit.
- To keep the ball in play and moving (if you make this an emphasis it helps players to see the game as a constant flow, instead of aiming to catch the ball)
- Aim for players’ feet.
We love to share amazing success stories of schools becoming fitness champions and encouraging students to live an active lifestyle. John Taylor is a physical education teacher at Beloved Community Charter School in Jersey City, NJ, and his life’s mission is physical fitness. Here’s his inspiring story of how he brought this mission to life at his school.
Let’s Move! Active Schools allowed our health and safety team to come together, and review our policies regarding physical activity and nutrition. By working as a team to answer the application questions, we collectively created answers, identified deficiencies, and generated action plans to meet the health-related needs of our students. It was really eye opening to hear perceptions from other teachers regarding the effectiveness of our school health initiatives, and compared those perceptions to health screening data we obtained from our nurse and FitnessGram results. After we realized our perceptions didn’t match the data, we know it was time to implement program changes to improve student health.
Heather Parisi is the founder of the Fitness for Africa program and the Pearl Of Hope School in Uganda, Africa. She shares with us her incredible and inspiring story of her journey to Africa that made such a difference in the lives of the children in Uganda. This is her story:
It was a trip to Uganda to visit the Silverback Gorillas that changed my life forever. Always having a calling within to visit Africa and experience the animals and Safari, never did I imagine that five years after my first trip to Uganda I would have my own Not For Profit Organization and be operating a Nursery and Primary School based on bringing healthy lifestyles and opportunity to the vulnerable and forgotten people of Uganda.
Fitness For Africa is the result of my experience in Uganda five years ago, and Pearl of Hope Nursery and Primary School is my thriving and fully operational school now serving 60 students and their families in the village of Lela Obaro, Uganda.
Best selling author and award winning P.E. teacher J.D. Hughes shares with us his best parachute game:
The Mountain Climber is one of many tricks you can perform with the parachute. I purchased my 45″ parachute from S&S Worldwide. It is very durable, made with a very strong nylon material and comes with a mesh center. There are 4 different colors or 8 of each color, creating 32 individual spaces. My classes are typically large so I allow students to double up and share colors when all of the colors are taken.
Instructions for The Mountain Climber
The key to the mountain climber is capturing and keeping all of the air inside the parachute for as long as possible. Try a few practice runs before allowing students to climb by instructing students to go up with the parachute and then down, but instead of squatting down to trap the air inside, practice lying down sideways on top of the parachute at the very edge of the parachute.
Now students are ready for the actual Mountain Climber. Note: before actually starting, remind students that there will be a hole left by the color (called out by the teacher) that begins climbing the mountain. It’s the job of those students lying at the bottom of the parachute to completely cover their hole and the hole of the climbers to eliminate, as much as possible, the air from escaping.
Begin the process of going up and then down and immediately lie down to trap the air inside. Next call one color to begin crawling/climbing up and on top of the parachute with the goal of reaching the center before turning around and coming back. Remind these students to move slowly and carefully and not to jump or belly flop on top of the parachute because it is only air that is holding them up. See the video below for an example:
About J.D. Hughes
J.D. Hughes has taught elementary physical education since 1995 in Douglasville, GA. He has received numerous awards including 2015 Georgia and Southern District SHAPE America Elementary PE Teacher of the Year and the GAHPERD Acknowledgement Award. J.D. provides a challenging yet developmentally appropriate physical education learning environment striving for motor skill and social skills development, physical fitness and cognitive awareness as recognized by SHAPE standards. He has published five books and produced four related DVDs including No Standing Around in My Gym, PE2theMax, PE2theMax II, PE² and HyPEd Up.
Check out his page on our site!
For more fun parachute games, check out our blog Parachute Basics – Introductory Games for Kids