As children get older, agility plays an increasingly important role in their ability to perform well is sports. But it is an important skill for all students, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and can be developed through games. Agility plays a key role in neuromuscular control and motor-skill function.
Snakes in the Gutter
Elementary school children are sure to get a giggle out of this game, provided by Nemours’ KidsHealth website, which incorporates a science lesson about snakes with an agility game. Line half the children up in two lines parallel with a wide gutter in between. These children are the “snakes.” Have the other children stand in front of the gutter. When you yell, “snakes in the gutter,” these children attempt to run through the “snakes” without getting tagged by one. If they make it through, they will continue on to the next round. But if a snake touches them, they must join the gutter. The game continues until all of the students have been tagged. Once the game is over, you can start again, placing the children who originally were snakes into the other line.
Tag is a classic game for increasing agility, but there are a variety of versions you can use to keep the game fun and exciting. Two fun versions provided by KidsHealth are blob tag and tunnel tag. In blob tag, the tagged student joins hands with the child who tagged them, and they set out together to tag someone else. This continues until there is a giant blob of students trying to work together to tag their targets. A variation of freeze tag, tunnel tag requires the students to stand with their legs open when they have been tagged. If another child crawls through their legs and unfreezes them, they can re-enter the game before the tagger has frozen everyone.
Four square is a popular agility drill for soccer players that easily is adapted for either young or advanced students. The purpose of the game is for the children to jump from box to box–there are usually four–as quickly as possible. The boxes can be drawn on the grass or cement and labeled. For younger students, number, alphabet or word mats work great; for older students, add additional boxes or make the drill more difficult by requiring them to jump on one foot, in diagonal directions or or in a longer sequence of jumps before the game is complete. Set up two or more sets of squares so you can have a relay between teams of students.