An ideal game for learning names by using movement. Also useful as a rit- ual for beginning a session, to recre- ate bonds in the group and to warm up before exercises which are more physically demanding.
Psychosocial: to develop concentra- tion as well as good communication (observation, listening) and coopera- tion in the group.
Physical: to work on reactions, differ- entiation (different actions: calling, throwing, catching, running) and pre- cise passes. The bigger the circle the more the physical ability is challenged and refined.
9 years and older
For this game you will need several balls. A group of minimum six to twelve people stand in a circle with at least 1 metre between each player. Player A holds the ball, calls the name of player B and then throws the ball to him. Player B calls someone else and throws the ball and so on.
As soon as everyone understands the principle and knows the names, one or two balls can be added, depending on the size of the group.
Progression: by adding running to the game it becomes more difficult but also more motivating. After calling player B and throwing the ball to him, player A “follows” the ball and runs to B’s place. B does the same after calling and throwing the ball to C, etc.
By making the circle bigger and/or increasing the number of players the game becomes more challenging.
The game helps to develop a number of skills simultaneously and the animator needs to concentrate on some of them. Firstly, the sequence of actions. There is a tendency to throw the ball first and say the name afterwards. The animator needs to insist on the order of the three stages (call, throw and catch) before adding more balls or adding running.
Then it can be useful to work on com- munication by reminding players of the importance and the difficulty of good communication which requires the will- ingness and responsibility of both peo- ple. If the ball is dropped, each is 50% responsible, both the player who per- haps threw it badly and the player who perhaps caught it badly. Children easily tend to accuse the other person, for- getting their own responsibility. If A calls B, who then concentrates on catching the ball, and then A throws the ball properly, the conditions are in place for everything to work.
Often, specific children are not or rarely called and therefore do not touch the ball. The animator could then give the group a mission: the game will end when each player has touched the ball X times. This rule gives the game an aspect of cooperation, for it obliges the players to have a strategy in order to involve all of them.
- What do we need for the game to be lively and to work well?
- Does it help to do a parallel with communication? Can you explain?
- Was it easy to remember who had already had the ball? How did you do?
- Was it difficult to find a strategy for the cooperative mission? Can you explain?
- Did you prefer playing in a small or large group? Can you explain?