Fun without Competition : Cooperative Activities
Thanks to contributor Casie Millhouse-Singh, Casie is an American gymnastics coach with over 20 years of experience in the sport as both gymnast, coach and judge. Currently, she is coaching for the Singapore American Community Action Council, better known as SACAC, gymnastics program. She is elected as Singapore Gymnastics Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Recreational Pathway Technical Leader and is also a Singapore National judge. You can follow her blog at: COACH CASIE
Like most coaches of this sport or any sport we can think of great games to get kids motivated and to spark a little friendly competition between our athletes. But what if we have a recreational class with a young girl who is afraid to participate because she might lose and can’t deal with the embarrassment or have one of those super competitive type kids who will do anything, and I mean anything to win at all costs? Cooperative learning activities are great for pre-school, recreation classes and even our team workouts in ways that go deeper than just achieving the goal.
First, can show our children that all physical fitness doesn’t require competition or even a rule-governed game for that matter. Second, the camaraderie that results from teamwork is precisely the benefit of cooperative activity, whose very essence is working together for a common goal. Intergroup competition is not necessary for group cohesiveness. The distinguishing feature of team competition is that a given person works well with and is encouraged to feel warmly or work well with only half of those present. Let’s get all the kids involved and everyone on the same side.
Some examples of cooperative activities:
- -Partner Log Rolls
- -Toesie Rolls – log rolls with feet touching
- -Log rolls in 3s, 4s, 5s & super GIANT Log roll
- -Musical Mats where no one gets out. Instead, take the mats away and let them share all the way down to one mat.
- -Partnered 1-arm cartwheels
- -Across the Ocean – using a few carpet squares, or mats the children have to cross the floor jumping from one to another and passing the last one up without touching the floor.
- Hoop Ring – hold hands in a ring, a hoop is passed around the ring without breaking the ring
The gains realized from cooperative movement and learning are impressive and consistent; Think in terms of self-esteem, social interaction, achievement, individual accountability and positive interdependence. It’s great to show we do not need to beat other people to have a good time.
Video of Super GIANT log Roll