A good old-fashioned field day is one of my favorite ways to get kids active outside. But old-fashioned doesn’t have to mean traditional! We played with several pieces of Play with a Purpose equipment (not unusual for us, this is our favorite equipment!) but instead of taking the old-school route, our team decided to double down and add some twists on traditional play.

Hop Along Bouncers

First, we played with the Rainbow Hop Along Bouncers.  Who doesn’t love a good hoppy ball?  That’s what we think, but too many kids today don’t have experience with hoppy balls, a staple of backyards of yesteryear. That is too bad because hoppy balls load kids up with all kinds of strengths and skills by challenging balance and core strength, which they need for comfort sitting at a desk and paying attention.

Hopping on Hop Along Bouncers also feed the proprioceptive system which helps children develop an understanding of force so they know how to tag in a game, how to play without being overly rough, how much pressure to put on a pencil or crayon to write without breaking the tip. The proprioceptive system also helps children build a mental map of their bodies so their brains know how long their arms and legs are, what they are doing, how to move them with control, and how much force it takes to manipulate them. A well-developed proprioceptive system helps kid move with skill to kick a ball, climb a tree, or write their name.

What did we do with the Hop Along Bouncers?

Since some of our kids didn’t know how to use them, we started with a simple relay, hopping around some cones.  But then we doubled down!

Kids playing

Plank Goal Keeping, ages 1st-3rd

This relay game challenges core strength and eye-foot coordination.

Children are divided into teams. About 4 feet in front of each team we placed 1 Rainbow Spot Marker and a Hop Along Bouncer. Each team has a small playground or soccer ball. On Go! Player 1 runs to the Hop Along Bouncer, places his arms on the Bouncer, and does forearm plank. Player 2 then dribbles the playground or soccer ball to Player 1 and kicks the ball under the friend doing a forearm plank. Player 2 then does a forearm plank on the Bouncer while Player 1 collects the soccer ball, takes it to Player 3, and goes to the back of the line. Play continues until all players have done both the forearm plank and kicking.

Kids playing

Over, Over, and Hop, ages 1st-3rd

In this game, children build grip, upper body, lower body, and core strength while working on balance.

Our players lined up belly to back, each player about 2-3 feet from the player in front of him. At the front of the line, we placed the Hop Along Bouncer. On GO! the first player picked up the Bouncer and passed it over his head backwards to the player behind him, repeating until the bouncer was passed to the last player who hopped on the Bouncer to the front of the line to repeat. Play continued until all players had hopped on the Bouncer. This game could also be played passing the Bouncer sideways.

Shotput, ages K-3rd

This game builds grip, upper body, and core strength.

We treated the Hop Along Bouncer like a shot put. Players were divided into teams, and each player had a chance to throw the bouncer underhanded as far away as possible. The coaches and I would mark the first bounce of a player’s throw with a Rainbow Spot Marker, trying to see who could throw the farthest.

Stay tuned for Part 2 to see how we used Mini Kanga Sacks and Mini DuraHoops too!