This post, originally published July 31, 2015 has been slightly edited February 2019 (through tears, just looking at my now older kids back when they were so little) to include updated links and some game adaptations.
My kids attend an all-outdoor nature school (you can listen to me talk about it more in these podcast episodes: Nature School Moves and Nature School). Our non-profit outdoor school organization also offers summer camps of different themes, so I enrolled both my littles (2.5 and 4) in "Warrior Camp."
I'm one of those people who is always enthusiastic about new things and I'm a person who loves movement. I'm also someone who loves improving my survival skills, so imagine my excitement when the teacher began a game using spears. Ok, not really spears, but bamboo sticks of different length (you can buy 8' bamboo sticks at Home Depot and cut them into 3', 4', and 5' lengths, which is also a fun math problem), and hula hoops of different sizes.
The school gave me permission to share this game and camp pictures to help spread the nature/movement/skills game, and in exchange, I'm going to put a link to the school's donation page so you can donate a few bucks to this non-profit organization if you find this game valuable. Kind of like paying a portion of a camp you virtually attended for a few minutes.
Here's the game:
Have one person in charge of rolling a hoop in front of someone with a stick-spear. The larger the hoop, the easier a target it makes, so I recommend starting everyone on a big hoop. (Pants are optional, naturally.)
You can make this more challenging by rolling the hoop faster (like a faster-moving animal) or you can switch to a smaller hoop, which increases the need for accuracy.
THEN, if you want to have a ton of fun, take it to the sky. (I made this part up, by cutting in line in front of a bunch of little kids at Warrior Camp, and begging the teacher to throw it up in the air for me.)
Differently-abled bodies can modify this game in a few ways: You can play with the height from which you throw, you can use larger hoops, or you can also just tie up the hoop to make it stationary. P.S. I will often just tie a hoop from a tree, leave the kids with a pile of spears, and go lie down and read a book until they get tired of the game in 5.2 minutes.
For the adorners in the group, you can take cooled, burnt wood, add a bit of water, and mash it up into face paint.
Everyone knows that face paint increases your accuracy.
Also, don't forget to warm up.
And if you don't succeed at first,
you can always improvise and do it your way,
and celebrate your other skills.
If you found today's post helpful, may I request a small donation to this nature school? They do great work connecting kids, families, and the greater community to nature.
P.S. This game is super fun that can be used for OT or as a vision game. I've also played it with many grown-ups and other outdoor movement enthusiasts. It can also be adapted for those who need to stay seated (e.g. in a wheelchair) or who have other mobility limitations (lighter ball tossed through stationary or dynamic hoops work too).
Find more on baby and kid movement here, including more about kids and adults moving and connecting with nature.