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Noodles and Balloons

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Here’s a fun and innovative way to help your younger students learn basic striking skills.  
Submitted by Sue Friesner from Elkhart, Indiana.  K-2 

 

Background: Need a fun and innovative way to help your younger students learn basic striking skills? Here’s an idea that has worked well for our kingergarten, first, and second grade students.

Equipment:

- Pool Noodles (cut in small lengths)
- Balloons

How We Do It: Each student is given a short pool noodle and a balloon. Provide a few minutes of “free play” with the new equipment before beginning the actual lesson. This helps to reduce off-task disruptions when teaching the lesson. Give the students a variety of different challenges. When you give a signal (e.g., “freeze”), everyone must freeze, look, and listen to the next challenge. The challenges include:

1. Balance the balloon on the end of the noodle.

2. Can you walk while keeping the balloon balanced?

3. Hit the balloon using only the end of the noodle. Hit it 3-4 times and then switch hands.

4. Volley the balloon with the noodle. Switch hands and continue volleying the balloon.

5. Hit the balloon with the noodle. Let the balloon drop and kick the balloon up into the air. Switch hands. Switch feet.

6. Hold the noodle lengthwise with both hands and balance the balloon on the noodle.

7. Take your balloon for “a walk” by pushing it with your noodle.

8. In an open area, pretend your noodle is a golf club. Address the balloon and swing. When the balloon is on the floor again repeat your swing.

9. Show how to do a baseball swing. Throw the balloon up, grip the noodle with both hands to strike and catch the balloon. Repeat several times.

10. Tennis serve: Toss, serve and catch the balloon.

11. How many times can you volley the balloon in the air without it touching the ground?

12. Can you use different locomotor skills and continue to volley the balloon with the noodle while you are moving?

Other: Once the students have progressed, you can move into a variety of cooperative partner and small group activities. For example:

- Can you and your partner volley the balloon for 30 seconds without a miss?

- Can you and your partner volley the balloon moving from one side of the gym to the other?

- Group Volley: While standing in a circle, can your small group volley the balloon for 30 seconds without a miss?

- Group Volley Spin: Students number off. The #1 student hits the balloon and spins around once. Now the #2 student strikes the balloon and does the same. Can your small group continue this for 30 seconds without a miss? How about two spins?

- Group Volley Run: The #1 student hits the balloon and runs around the circle and returns to his spot. The #2 student hits the balloon and does the same. Can your group do this for 30 seconds?

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