I know it isn’t bright and sunny everywhere, but in my neck of the woods spring arrived a bit early and it has me feeling like getting outside and moving! As a teacher, leading games was never my strong suit, but as my teaching years went on I appreciated more and more the value of moving with my students, especially when a good (sometimes competitive) game was involved.
I often found the key to a successful games class was knowing when to bring a new and exciting game. With everything else that teachers need to do, the temptation to keep playing an old familiar game is strong, but there are some great resources out there with plenty of ideas for games, so it doesn’t have to be too difficult to come up with something new.
The New Games Book — A friend recently loaned me this book and I love it! It probably has about 50 different games, all with clear explanations and photographs to go with them. The photos really helped me because I often have a hard time visualizing games when they are explained with words. The book is broken down into sections determined by the number of players required for each game, which is an infinitely sensible way to organize the book. Waldorf teachers usually teach children a game with a story, or sometimes just a little image for the children to hold onto while they are playing the game. Many of the games in this book include an imagination along with them (catch the dragon’s tail, for example) but for others you’ll need to come up with your own imagination. Some of the games are old favorites that we all played when we were kids, and others are so new and different that I’ve never seen them played anywhere. You’ll have to use your intuition when it comes to determining which games are appropriate for the ages of your children. When in doubt it’s a good idea to stick with more collaborative games in the younger grades, increasing the level of competition and individuality as the children get older.
Games Children Play — This is one of the standard Waldorf games books, and it is quite good. If you’re not sure about trusting your intuition when it comes to determining appropriate games, this book can give you a guide. It follows the pedagogical decisions about appropriate games in a very logical way, even giving some explanation in each section. The book is broken down according to age, which makes it the perfect companion to The New Games Book. One flaw of this book, though, is that I found that it didn’t give enough games. My students and I ran through the games in each section and I found that they needed more new games. Still, this is a great book to have, and close to essential for helping to learn the pedagogical reasons behind choosing appropriate games.
Child’s Play 1 and 2 — I don’t have much personal experience with this book, but I’ve seen it on every shelf and it seems to be the “other” Waldorf games book. It seems that in my cursory glance through it I found that the games were most suited to the younger grades. If any of you have experience with it please post in the comments.
Have fun and get out there and move with your students!