The Mirror Game!

sharron mirror game 1

Why It’s a Great Game!

Objectives & Learning Outcomes

Social Emotional Development:

  • Learning to cooperate
  • Accepting others’ ideas
  • Taking turns

Cognitive Development:

  • Replicating physically what the eyes see (developing visual sensitivity to change)
  • Developing focus, attention, and concentration
  • Learning about the concept of mirror reflection

Physical Development:

  • Practicing a variety of nonlocomotor movements
  • Developing spatial awareness (an awareness of space, relative distance, and relationships with space–experiencing personal space)

sharron mirror game 2

How to Play

Set Up and Materials

  • Available indoor or outdoor space
  • Children paired up and scattered in the space
  • Music
  • If desired, demonstrate the concept of reflection using a mirror

sharron mirror game 3

Directions

  1. Partners face each other at arm’s distance apart.
  2. Ask one child to be the “leader” and perform simple movements in place and his partner (the second child) to imitate the leader as a mirror reflection.  For example, if the leader  waves his right arm, the “mirror” waves his left arm in the same way, duplicating the movement as if he is looking into a mirror.
  3. Start the music–fast or slow.  The use of slow background music might help keep the partners moving slowly at first.
  4. Go from simple (only one body part moving) to complex (more than one body part moving at the same time).
  5. When the music stops, partners change roles, with the leader becoming the mirror and the mirror becoming the leader.

Suggestions & Variations

  • Children will mirror better if they watch each other’s eyes rather than extremities.
  • Ask the leader to move slowly enough so the mirror can follow.
  • Have the players do the activity while sitting.
  • Combine the activity with streamers or scarves.

sharron mirror game 4

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Rainbow Dancing Wrist Bands (RNBW)
Juggling Scarves (JUGGLE)
Daily Fitness 4 CD Set (MOVEMENT)
Circle Time Fun Set – 3 CDs (CTIMEFUN)
Hamilton™ AM/FM CD Player (BOOMBOX)
Look At Me Mirror Kit (LOOKATME)

Physical Activity for Children with Special Needs

childrunningwadult

A child with special needs is one who requires some form of special care due to physical, mental, emotional or health reasons. Children with special needs are also commonly referred to as children with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a child with a disability more specifically as one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits the child’s ability to care for herself or himself, perform manual tasks, or engage in any other “major life activity,” such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, or learning, in an age-appropriate manner.

Children with disabilities are more similar than different from other children.  Avoid becoming too focused on a child’s disability.  Treat each child as a whole person.  Every child needs to feel successful and capable. Children with Aspergers, autism or attention deficit hyperactive disorder often have the uncontrollable need to move and physical activity can help them learn to do so appropriately.  Most young children need to and want to move frequently and all children benefit while promoting physical fitness (muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility), developing motor skills  (run, jump, hop, walk, gallop, skip, throw, catch, kick, bounce, strike, stretch, bend, twist, turn, balance), improving coordination, and building self-confidence.  The ways you include a child with physical differences or impairments will benefit all the children in your care.  Here are some strategies for inclusion.

  • Modify the environment
  • Modify the task for the individual
  • Use safe, soft objects
  • Simplify instructions
  • Give visual, oral, and kinesthetic cues
  • Provide plenty of repetition
  • Have role models
  • Use communication systems
  • Eliminate elimination games
  • Minimize waiting time

The primary reason that children participate in active play is to have fun, and the key reason they quit is a lack of fun.  With that being said, here is an activity that everyone can get in on the fun!

 Constructors & Destroyers

What:

20-30 Colored Cones
Portable iPod/CD Player
Music Suggestions: Taking Care of Business by Randy Bachman, Barefootin’ by Jimmy Buffett, Footloose by Kenny Loggins

Where:

Outdoor space (grass area or playground, etc.) or large indoor space (gym, multi-purpose room, etc.)

Who:

Children who want to move and play!

How:

  1. Set up the cones randomly spaced about 4-6 feet from each other.
  2. Knock over about one-third of those cones.  Space out those that are upright and those that are on their side.
  3. Organize the children into two groups.  One group is designated as the Constructors and the other group is designated as the Destroyers.  It is better to have a few more Constructors than Destroyers!
  4. The Constructors “job” is to stand up all the cones that were knocked over.
  5. The Destroyers “job” is to GENTLY tip over the cones that are standing up.  Make sure to remind the children to be gentle and only use the palms of their hands to touch the cones.  No kicking or throwing of the cones is allowed.
  6. The game begins (players move through the space doing their job) when the music starts and ends when the music stops.
  7. When the music stops, begin the game again but this time let the Constructors be Destroyers and Destroyers become the Constructors.

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Colored Cones – set of 10 (SETC – $16.99)
Hamilton® AM/FM, CD and MP3 Player (BEATBOX – $158.99)

DIY Streamer Ribbons

I really enjoy presenting workshops where I not only share active play products but also play props or toys that can be made using recyclables.  A favorite product is the Rainbow Dancing Wrist Bands from Discount School Supply®.  I prefer to use streamer ribbons that are not connected to a long stick.  The stick can be too cumbersome for little hands and a safety hazard as well.  Streamer Ribbons can be an easy “Do It Yourself” (DIY) project.  In previous posts I gave instructions on how to make a Floppy Flipper, Bread Bag Jump Rope, and a Six-Pack Net.  In this post, I will share with you on how to make a streamer ribbon using one plastic ring and some flagging tape.  Turn trash into toys for active play indoors or outdoors!

Sharron DIY StreamerRibbon

Materials:

  1. One plastic ring from six-pack plastic rings: a set of connected plastic rings that are used to carry six-packs of beverage cans or plastic bottles of soft drinks, aka ”carrier rings.”
  2. Colored flagging tape or surveyor’s tape: a non adhesive marking ribbon used for surveying, mapping, tagging, roping off areas or any other marking application. Available in a wide variety of bright and bold colors.

 Recycle & Play! Six-Pack Net & Bread Bag Jump Rope

Directions:

  1. Cut plastic rings apart, making sure to keep the rings intact.
  2. Cut 3-4 three foot pieces of different colored flagging tape and tie each piece to the plastic ring.
  3. Make two DIY Streamer Ribbons–one for each hand!

Sharron DIY StreamerRibbon Tape

Activities:

Streamer Ribbon Dancing
Start the music and bodies start moving.  With a streamer ribbon in their hand, encourage the children to dance and move about freely in the open space.  Suggest to the children that they move the streamer fast, slow, high, low, side to side, and all around.  Tell them that when the music stops, they are to stop and freeze (stand motionless like a statue).  When the music starts again, children resume dancing.  Ask children to follow along as you move the streamer across the front of your body, circle the streamer in front of your body like a Ferris wheel or circle it over your head like a helicopter blade.  Try to trick the dancers by starting and stopping the music quickly.  They love the element of surprise!  Use all different types of music: fast, slow, classical, rock, salsa.  When playing a slow song, suggest the children twirl, leap and float to the music.  Streamer Ribbon dancing promotes cross-lateral movements (crossing the midline) and develops body and space relationships, agility, flexibility, and listening skills.

Run Like the Wind
On your mark, get set, get ready, GO!  Have children run from one boundary to another with their Streamer Ribbon in their hand.  They will ask to do it again and again. Running is a locomotor skill and a form of vigorous physical activity that increases the heart rate while improving fitness.

Nature Play
Initiate creative movement using the Streamer Ribbon to imitate nature.  Ask the children to show you how they can make:

  • Ocean waves by shaking the ribbon in front of their body
  • A rainbow by moving the ribbon in an arc from one side of their body to the other
  • A river by dragging the ribbon across the floor or ground
  • Tree branches in a windstorm by holding the ribbon above their head and swaying from side to side
  • A tornado by spinning around and raising and lowering the ribbon

Tails
Set up boundaries using ropes or cones in the available space. Each child tucks a Streamer Ribbon into their waistband behind their back. The ribbon is now their tail. The game starts when the music starts and the children run in the available space.  The game is played like tag, but instead of tagging each other, children pull each others ribbons out of their waistbands and drop them on the ground.  The child whose ribbon is pulled picks up his streamer ribbon (tail), goes to “the tail repair area” (a designated spot, i.e., door, tree, etc.) to replace the ribbon in their waistband.  Once the ribbon is secure in their waistband, the child returns to the game and resumes pulling tails (ribbons).  The game ends when the music stops.  This group game promotes cooperative play, vigorous physical activity and lots of laughter!

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Rainbow Dancing Wrist Bands – set of 6 (RNBW)
Colored Cones – set of 10 (SETC)
7′ Nylon Jump Ropes – set of 3 (RPST)