I was contacted by a Balance former client and long-time friend about coming to her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop meeting. I love working with kids, so I jumped at the chance to spend an hour with second grade girls. The girls were working toward a “Fair Play” badge, so I came up with a series of activities to help them achieve the objectives.
I wanted the girls to understand that exercise doesn’t have to be playing a sport. Although all of these 10 girls participate in at least one organized sport, I hoped to emphasize the importance of active play. We worked together to create a game, with each girl offering an activity that built on the one before. For example, one girl suggested we do 10 jumping jacks, then the next girl wanted to run to a stone wall about 20 meters away while waving her arms and shrieking, the third girl wanted to jiggle while spinning in a circle, and then we finished by hopping like a frog back to the starting point. It was hilarious to watch the girls complete the ‘obstacle course’, giggling and encouraging each other.
Teamwork is a concept that kids hear about and they know it is important, but giving the girls a literal hands-on challenge really got the point across. I asked the girls to hold hands with two other girls to form a human knot.
The girls worked so hard to unwind themselves. The worked together, communicating with each other, and showing more determination and perseverance to solve the problem than I expected– in fact, the girls got all but two of their friends out of the knot, and they didn’t want to give up despite the impossibility of unwinding the whole group. (This happens sometimes– just like life, sometimes solutions aren’t tidy and complete.)
We moved on to some good old-fashioned relay races. There was running, running backwards, bear crawling, side shuffling, and lots of other ways to move quickly.
If you’ve ever been around second grade girls, you can imagine the squealing with delight as the girls cheered on their teammates. They were having a blast.
We finished our time together by setting up five easy circuit stations– jumping ‘rope’ with a hula hoop, hula hooping, stepping up and down, standing broad jump, and grapevine-ing. I partnered up the girls, and they took turns exercising and resting in one-minute intervals. It was a good way to introduce interval training to the girls.
I was so pleased to be asked to come work with these Girl Scouts. As I left the playground after our time together, I was filled with joy. To hear these girls excited about play and friendly competition, eager to move their bodies and focus on what their bodies can do, was incredibly uplifting.
Good health and great happiness to you!