Instant Challenges

Homeschooling three kids this year has proved to be much more enjoyable than I had imagined.  I underestimated the special qualities of group dynamics now available to us.  We can do many things together like music, art, history, Spanish, sign-language, memory verses, some literature, and poetry recitation.

Early on, I recognized the need for some quick, fun, physical or challenging sort of activity to break up the more “sedate” lessons together.  So, I added in “Simon Says” to our morning times together.  Little did I know that would become the highlight of their first school days.   I knew it would soon grow old, so I began compiling a list of other ideas.

Here are a few ideas we came up with:

  • Simon Says
  • Wheelbarrow races
  • Head and Shoulders
  • Jump Rope
  • Human Knot
  • Red light, Green Light
  • Planks or push ups or sit-ups competition
  • *Mirror: Children copy your hand movements or body movements
  • *Copy the Movement :  Start with copying one movement, like kicking leg in air. Show another movement and then sequence the two. Keep adding to see how many they can remember to do in sequence.
  • *Watch the body: One child comes beside you and stands still. Whisper to him to move a body part very slightly and then stand still again. Others tell which part moves.
  • Charades

* From book 500 Five Minute Games by Jackie Silberg

These need a “prop”

  • Keep Balloon/Ball in air
  • Limbo
  • Monkey in the Middle
  • Hot/Cold (hide objects around the room)
  • Hot Potato
  • Indoor Bocci Ball
  • Hula Hoop
  • Chinese Jump Rope
  • Clapping “Games”

The basic idea was to get them moving, laughing, interacting and making memories together, breathing in a little air to get through some of our more focused for serious studies.

And today, I was thrilled to find the word for what I was really looking for: “instant challenges.”  Destination Imagination is a non-profit organization that hosts tournaments for school-aged kids all across the country and even world.  They focus on creative problem solving and teamwork skills.  Included in the tournament competition are “instant challenges” – putting creativity to the test in a specified amount of time.  They have consolidated many challenge ideas on their site and others.  But the basic idea is to define the constraints of something to build or perform and allow the students to produce it without any adult intervention.   If you don’t decide to form/join a team of your own for your children, perhaps you can incorporate some of these instant challenges into your weekly school routines.