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Training Games for the Physical Conditions of Children

Mar 1, 2008
The training of the physical coordinations of children is most naturally accomlished through the medium of games.It should be fully appreciated by teachers and parents that the playing of these games is not "mere play," but definite training of the best kind. In many cases there is little else to be done.

The teacher should select such games as are most interesting to her special group and practice these until the children are reasonably proficient in them or until they prove uninteresting.

The games and exercises in written here are for use among mothers and teachers of normal and sub-normal children, the object being to help develop muscular control and to quicken the sense perceptions. The training should commence when the child is three years of age.

The following instructions should be observed:

1. Each one of the exercises should be put before the child in a spirit of play.

2. Absolute simplicity in tlie training is essential. The manner in which a game is played is of more importance than the game itself. A simple game or exercise taught in a complex manner will produce a confusion of ideas.

3. Aim to produce one idea at a time in the mind of the child.

4. In teaching both normal and sub-normal children the personality of the teacher plays an important part. She should be patient cheerful and optimistic, always ready with a word of encouragement when the child fails to produce the desired results; thorough in her methods and with keen power to observe. The mind of the teacher reacts upon the mind of the child: "Education is the process by which one mind forms another mind and one heart another heart."

5. The principal weakness in most children is their inability to concentrate, and it is only by fixed methods of simple work, elimination of all confusion, and the conviction of the teacher that good results must emanate from her training, that she can develop and strengthen concentration in the child.

The mode of procedure must not vary; children should be lined up in the same way, material of the same color used, and diagrams drawn to the same dimensions each time the game or exercise is used. Should the smallest alteration be made in these details, it will produce a confusion of ideas in the child's mind and successful training will not result.

6. Make all questions and answers as concrete and brief as possible, avoid superfluous detail and abstract ideas, for these tend to create confusion in the mind of the child.

7. The signal given for starting a game should be brief, as, "Are you ready?" followed by the word "Go!" said sharply and clearly. A signal with too many words is confusing. Always use the same form of signal in starting a game. Should this be changed the game will not start successfully, for the child's mind will be centered upon that change and he will lose the all- important idea, e.g., the start of the game. A game unsuccessfully started is a failure throughout.

8. During exercises the teacher should observe the reaction and should the children show signs of fatigue or loss of interest, an exercise should be immediately changed.

9. Make all exercises as attractive as possible. Aim to have an air of peace and tranquility in the schoolroom; tension in the slightest degree is disastrous to the training. The schoolroom should be made a pleasure-ground for the child. Bear in mind the best discipline always attends the most successful play.

10. It is not advisable to keep a child for longer than one hour at a session. In a longer session it will be noticed the child becomes depressed or restless and power of concentration weakens. During the session a child should not be kept too long at one exercise; from four to fifteen minutes is sufficient for any of the exer- cises. A game played too many consecutive times in an effort to perfect it, loses its object.

11. Two inactive exercises should not follow each other consecutively.

12. In teaching rhymes and songs, introduce simple action. It will help to develop sense of rhythm and aid the memory to a marked degree. The "Mother Goose" rhymes enclosed herein have been chosen for their rhythmic value and extreme simplicity.

13. In drawing diagrams on a polished wood floor, better results may be obtained by moistening the chalk.

The material used in these exercises and games is very; simple. Bean bags should be made five inches square, of bright-colored cloth of heavy texture, and filled with small, hard beans. The wooden blocks should be eight inches in length, and one and a half inches on each side; the corners should be sharp so that they may be stood on end with- out difficulty. Rubber balls, medicine balls, and baseballs should be regulation size.

Game: Bean Bag Toss. Material: Shallow box, bean bags.

Children sit in a circle on the floor, a distance of three feet from each other. Place the box in the center of circle. Give each child a bean bag. Have the children each throw their bean bag, in turn, endeavoring to get it into the box in centre of the circle.

Note: This game is especially adapted for crippled children and those unable to take part in active games.
Object: Train eye and hand; to stimulate play spirit.

Game: "Pat-A-Cake" Have class seated in half circle on small chairs. Teach children the following rhyme, saying the words slowly and distinctly so that the children may more readily understand, and have them clap their hands in rhythm to the words ; "Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man. Bake me a cake as fast as you can. Pat it, and prick it, and mark it with T, Put it in the oven for Tommy and me."

Object: Memory; rhythm; increase vocabulary.

Game: Medicine ball. Children stand in group at one end of. the room. Teacher throws medicine ball into their midst, the child catching the ball throws it back to teacher, who will immediately repeat the exercise. Encourage children to run after the ball when it falls to the ground. Do not call upon any particular child to catch the ball; by throwing it in their midst and letting those catch it who can, the children will become more alert.

Should a child be very slow, it is well to call upon that child in particular to catch.

Object: Training of eye and hand; attention; spontaneous activity.
About the Author
Malcolm Blake has researched into the field of all genres of games, including modern PSP games.
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