Posted by on July 24, 2015

Waddle Like a Penguin * Waddle Like a Duck

Penguins in the Antarctic or Ducks in Spring Puddles.

Beginner relay game for ages 3-6. (But do this with any age and it’s pretty funny.)

Equipment Needed:

  • 3-4″ Beanbags or Playground balls. I find a 6″ ball is a controllable size for pre-K-1st grades. Balls filled with plastic pellets or other filling that hinders them bouncing away are good; won’t waste time running after them.
  • Rhythmic music if possible

Physical Skills Practiced: Gross motor, leg strength, balance and tracking

Social Skills Reinforced: Teamwork; patience with self and others, encouragement, taking turns

Curriculum Connections:

  • Animals of the Antarctic or Weather Unit. Penguins walk on ice, Ducks walk through puddles.

How to play: Teachers! This is simple.

  1. Split the kids into groups of threes. Let them pick their ‘pattern’ (line order).
  2. Give each team one ball.
  3. Make a line or use the wall as the line to reach.
  4. Kids on front line hold the ball between their thighs. (above the knees).
  5. Turn on the music and say ‘go’.
  6. Kids on front line waddle with ball between their thighs, squeezing to keep it in place. They will need to squat a bit. Younger children may need to use their hands to steady the ball until they get the hang of it. If the ball drops out they can pick it up and keep going (older kids run back to the side line they are closest to and start again).
  7. Players arrive to the line, turn around and waddle back to the team, handing the ball off to the next member.
  8. Have each team go through their pattern twice or more depending on the room size. Or time them for a few minutes and see how many times the team completed a round (there and back).

Older kids: To make this more difficult and silly, add rules like, “You must be on tip-toes on your way TO the line and you must hop on two feet FROM the line. If the ball drops you must run back and start that side over again.”

Coach, Teacher, Mentor Note: When I was in school and asked to do something silly, like this physical game, I enjoyed it, as long as I felt supported. If I didn’t, it was awful. Being asked to do a movement activity in front of your peers, as a self-conscious kid is difficult, and what makes it worse is that you probably either put yourself at the end of the line or were sort of shuffled there by default.

Being the last in line means, if your team is in last place, the game will be ‘over’ and you will have to complete the task with no one cheering. So, you either drop out and don’t have the opportunity to do the exercise, or are told to finish it. You continue in silence, or to the noise of others’ excited chatter as they line up at the water fountain. Talk about feeling alone! It may seem over the top that I put this thought here, but bringing every student to the finish line, down to the last one, is everything for that student. Even older students who seem disengaged from an activity, are simply protecting themselves. Remember, every student is someone’s whole world. That’s an amazing reality.


Posted in: Science