“Nobody wants to play with me!” Ashley says with frustration. Every time I ask a group of kids to play a game with me, they run off. When I do get a chance to play, all I hear is, ‘that’s not how you play!’ I’m not even sure if they like me.” Ashley is not a student, she’s a noon duty aid who helps everyday on the playground. It’s common for adults on the playground to run into challenges when introducing new games – at first! So CF Fitness did some research on the playground, and here’s what kids want from adults.
Second grader Chris says, “Adults are always trying to take me away from my football game. I like football. Why don’t the adults play the game I like?” Building rapport with students is a key component to your success on the playground. Start by joining their games! Make sure to give out plenty of high fives along the way. The kids will learn as you drop a pass, shake it off, and get back in the game.
Fifth grader Chad often says, “Wow!!! That game is for little kids!” Once you’ve built some rapport, start off with an age appropriate game you’re excited about. How about dancing? Or Sharks and Minnows? You can teach Fifth graders to act as leaders in the game by helping younger kids learn how to play.
Megan from the first grade got really excited when she found out adults were going to be playing with her at recess. When she heard Ashley had already been on the playground for a month, Megan responded, “How come nobody told me?” Have your school make an announcement letting everyone know that the adults will be setting up games and playing. Let students know where on the playground the games will happen. You can even make a poster that shows a map of the playground. On the playground, mark off the boundaries of the game with cones or chalk so kids see where a fun game will be played. Before starting, have the kids recruit more students to play. Megan guarantees that if adults did that, she would join in.