An Educator’s Guide on Integrating Loose-Part Play into an Elementary Cornerstone
We are quickly approaching an end-of-year, time-honored tradition for children across the United States. That’s right, we’re talking about field day! A day filled with tug of war, various types of races, and children sticky from sweat and the four popsicles they powered through after a healthy boxed lunch. This long day of competition amongst their peers in the outdoors is just what the doctor ordered after a long winter stuck in the classroom. For students, field day is a cornerstone of their youth that they look forward to all school year. For adults, this most-likely humid, and quite-possible logistical nightmare of a day may not be considered quite as joyful. Stress over the various activities, safety concerns and other details weeks in advance can sometimes dampen the joy the adults get from the event. We know as the school year is working its way to a close, educators already have enough to juggle (and not just on field day!). Luckily, your pals at Imagination Playground have you covered this year with ideas on how to easily integrate your Blue Blocks into your field day relays for a new, creative twist to collaborative activities and competitive races!
Relay Races – Blue Block Style
Blue Blocks Balancing Relay:
- Divide your students into teams if they are not already!
- Have a large pile of Blue Blocks stacked up on one end, and line up the teams on the other end.
- At the start, each team has one member run down to the pile of Blocks, selects one and runs back to their team. The next teammate takes that first Block, runs down to the end and selects another Block to stack on top, and returns to their teammates without tipping over their stacked Blocks.
- The students continue to run down to the pile, while balancing their own stack of Blocks, until each teammate has successfully selected a Block and the whole team has succeeded with balancing their Blue Blocks!
- Some additional guidance: Teams larger than 5 may have a hard time carrying that many blocks. We like to limit our teams to 6 or less when we play in the office. We also added the rule that anytime the blocks fall, the tower needs to be rebuilt and then carried the rest of the way.
Pass the Block Relay:
- Each team lines up their members shoulder to shoulder in a long line, with a number of Blue Blocks stacked beside the last person on each team.
- At the start, the person on each team that is closest to the Blocks selects one and passes it to the person next to them, and so on and so forth until all of the Blocks have made it to the other end.
- Add to the fun with this activity by incorporating different rules for different block shapes. The first person in line must shout out the rule as they pick the block. When we play, the noodles must be passed with everyone’s eyes closed. The plus gears require an animal noise to be made when you touch it. The chutes must go down and back and not stay at the end of the line.
- Have a large pile of Blue Blocks stacked up in the middle, with each team having their own designated area to “dress up” their volunteer.
- At the start, each team has one member run down to the pile of Blocks, selects one Block for their volunteer to “wear” and runs back to their team. After helping their volunteer “put on” their Block, the next teammate runs down to select a Block to be worn.
- After each teammate has selected a Block and successfully had it “worn” by the volunteer (not just held!), the team with the volunteer that is wearing the most Blocks, or is the best dressed, wins!
One of the reasons so many of us think of our childhood field days fondly was because the sense of community that came along with the day, working alongside our peers to accomplish a common goal – dominating the other grades and/or classes through our incredible teamwork. It is a finishing line to the school year, as classes work all year on their communication and collaboration skills!
Field Day is a spectacular way to show our youth that exercise, and teamwork can be fun, however we know this end-of-year celebration can be taxing on our educators that are already stretched thin. Luckily, the durable Big Blue Blocks are perfect for such an occasion, through their vast versatility, ability to be enjoyed on a variety of surfaces, like grass and sand, and how easily they can be cleaned afterwards (this could even be the perfect ending activity for the day!). We hope these activity ideas can be helpful not just for this special, traditional day, but utilized throughout the year in P.E. classes and recess activities. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your dedicated Play Professional at any time. We hope your 2023 field day is magnificent, and until next time, remember to BUILD ON!