Life is a team sport and fostering team building skills in children who are naturally self-centered creatures can be a challenge laced with fun.
Organized sports is a great way for kids to learn to work together and listen to directions, but there is off-season and kids who are too young to participate.
I love this activity that we do at our house. It uses a Dye-namic stretch band. The Dye-namic stretch band is a 6 foot long spandex-like fabric sewed at the ends so it is a continuous circle. I bought it several years ago for under $20 and we have certainly gotten our money’s worth. It seems like you could make something at home that would be similar with stretchy fabric, old t-shirts, exercise bands or jersey sheets. One word of warning: The stretchier the fabric, the closer adult supervision and soft surface playing surface will be needed!
The boys each get inside the stretchy loop and their first impulse is to run in opposite directions. I let them do so until they are showing signs of needing direction. Then I “coach” them into activities that require they work together. I am showing these games with just two children in the band, but have played many of them with 3 or more.
Team Building Games for Kids Using a Stretch Band:
- SLOW DOWN! – One child is the “driver” and the other pretends to be a passenger that doesn’t want to go as fast as the driver. The kids have to coordinate getting on opposite sides of the band and then going in the same direction with one holding the other back slightly. Once they get accomplished at this game, you will hear them planning out turns and giving each other simple directions to make their job easier.
- Shape Creation – While inside the stretchy band, I give them a shape to make with the band. Square! The boys have to figure out how to each get a corner made out of a foot on one side and an outstretched hand on the other to create a shape that resembles a square. It is a bit like twister and can be even more fun with extra people in the band.
- Obstacle Course – Design a simple obstacle course around, over and under objects where the kids have to plan out how to remain together and inside the stretchy loop.
- Impossible Pull – I get in the loop and see if the boys can work together to budge me. I am not going to admit whether they can!
It is so cute to see them whisper and pull as hard as they can trying to topple mommy. It is a good workout for all involved.
And what happens when the teamwork doesn’t quite come together?
A pile of laughter encircled in a stretchy band!
Now it is YOUR turn:
Answer the question “What life lessons do kids learn from playing team sports?” for a chance to win a $500 gift certificate for sporting equipment for your child's team.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SUBWAY ® Baseball DeSIGNS. The opinions and text are all mine. The $500 Gift Certificate Giveaway Contest runs from August 19 – 28, 2011. A random winner will be announced by September 1, 2011. Official Contest Rules.