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Friday, January 23, 2015

Large Group Hula Hoop games for ages prek and up!

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Ok.  So the hubby is planning a retreat for our church and he put the two of us down to lead an hour of recreation.  To help him out I said I'd take this on (I love doing this kind of thing anyway, but lets just say I did it out of love ;).  Since we are scheduled right after worship and right before lunch I figure we need some active games - everyone is going to need to move around after sitting for an hour and work up an appetite for lunch! :)  So I got on pinterest and starting searching.  I wanted something different...and something we could do with 50 people of all ages.  We have children from age 6 up to older adults - so we have a wide range to plan for!  After searching for about 10 minutes I saw a hula hoop game I liked.  Then I happened across another one.  Then I got to thinking - could I plan an hour's worth of activities just using hula hoops?  Challenge accepted!  I searched for a little while longer, put on my creative hat and the ideas started flowing.  Fun!!  So, here it is - our Hula Hoop Hour of Fun.  I'll post pics when we actually do them.  For now, this is like my lesson plan :)

setting: gym/large enough space to accommodate your group
materials: 1 HH for every pair (in our case 25)
# of people: we have 50 but can be played with 10 or more
Time: depending on how many people you have 10-15 minutes

1.  Like I said we will have around 50 people and you need about one HH for every pair.  In this game, start with 25 HH laid out all around the gym.  Start the music or have someone play guitar while everyone walks around.  When the music stops, they have to find a HH and join whoever else is at that HH.  There can be any number 2 or higher.  Then they have to tell the other people their favorite something (team, color, book, movie, ice cream flavor, subject, weather, sport, animal, etc.).  Pick someone to take away 5 HHs and then do it again.  Keep going (taking away 5 HHs) until there are only 5 HHs left (and close to 10 people at each one).
2.  Have someone add in enough HHs so there are three people at each one.  In our case we need 17.  turn on the music once more and tell them when the music stops to get in groups of 3.  Have them share with everyone their full name.  Do this a few more times then have them sit down in the HHs with their feet outside the hoop (and their rear inside).  (This game can be found in this video).   Tell one person in the group to raise their hand.  Tell another person to raise a foot.  The one with their hand raise is number 1, the one with their foot raised is number 2 and the one sitting normal is number 3.  They have to remember their numbers!  (make sure the trios are sitting pretty far away from each other so they don't run into one another)  The leader is going to call out 1, 2 or 3 and that person has to get up and run around their HH and sit back down first.  Start in order then mix it up getting faster.  Then, stop the game and tell them they now have to learn their left from their right.  The leader will now call a number with a direction - ex. "number 3, left!" and number three has to stand up and run around the HH going left or counter-clockwise :)  The younger kids may need help with this.  After 3-4 rounds stop the game.  Their next direction is to join 2 other groups of 3.

setting: gym/large enough space to accommodate your group
materials: 1 HH for every 9 people (or however big you want your circle)
# of people: 5-10 (much more than that and it would take too long)
Time: 10 minutes

So you ended the last game in groups of 9 at one hoop.  Have them join hands around their hoop in the form of a circle.  Have one person pick up the hula hoop and put their hand through it...then join hands again with the circle - so the HH is now stuck hanging from a pair of hands :)  This game is everywhere on pinterest, but I found it here.  When the leader says GO!, they will start passing the HH around the circle without letting go of their hands.  First one around wins!  Do it a few times - going different directions.  Stay in your group of 9 for the next game.

setting: gym/large enough space to accommodate your group
materials: 3-5 HH for every 9 people
# of people: 5-10 if you want to do groups or this could be a large group activity
Time: 10-15 minutes

I thought about doing this as a whole group activity, but I thought it would be fun if everyone got a chance to be the conductor!  So, I'm going with small groups.  I'll let you know how it goes :)  In our case, everyone will still be in a group of 9 with one HH.  They will need 3-5 HH total - depending on how brave you are to try this ;)  I got this idea here.  I'm going to do this slightly different so that everyone will get a chance (if they want to) to be the conductor.  I think I will have the group sit in a line instead of a circle.  Have them pick someone to start as the conductor...explain to them everyone will get a chance that wants one and that it will get increasingly harder...this may change the order of volunteers :)  The conductor stands in front and starts with one HH on the ground.  When the conductor stands in the HH, everyone in the group sings the ABCs.  When the C jumps out, they stop, when he jumps in they start over.  Simple, right?  Practice it a few times and then switch conductors and add a HH.  Now, when the C jumps in the first HH they sing, but in the second they clap.  Let them practice this a few times (if the C jumps out of both HHs they are silent).  Now change conductors and add a 3rd HH!  The third one will be stomping.  Let them practice this a few times.  If the group wants to be challenged even further let them add a 4th (snapping) and then 5th (humming jingle bells).  If the group doesn't want to keep adding, let them switch conductors until everyone has had a chance to try.  Once you decide the game is over, tell them to leave the HHs on the ground and walk around the gym with the music. When they hear the music stop, tell them to find a HH and make a group of 5.  While they are walking around, pick up enough HHs so that you leave enough to make the groups of 5 (in our case, with 50 people, we need 10 HH).  I had one from each group take a video on their phone and send me their best "conductor" (if they wanted to) and I told them the best one would go online :) Here are two! :)  You can see they got adventurous and started jumping into two hoops at the same time :) lol  Some of the conductors overestimated the skills of their orchestra ;)

setting: gym/large enough space to accommodate your group
materials: 1 HH for every 10 people
# of people: no less than 6 to as many as you want
Time: 10-15 minutes

This game sounds awesome.  I found it here.  But I love the spin that the video I posted above put on it.  Now my large group of 50 has been divided into 10 groups of five.  Once they are in their groups, have them spread out all over the gym (the farther away they are the more they will run :)  Have one person in each group come up to you and get 3 items from your box.  You can use bean bags, blocks, the little plastic thingamajigs from the link...basically anything that you have at least 30 of and doesn't roll.  Have them put their items in their HH.  When the leader says "GO!", they are to run around and grab other groups' items and bring them back to their own.  Rules: you can only pick up 1 item at a time.  2.  NO guarding your HH.  The leader will call time and whichever team has the most items in their HH wins.  Play a few times for about 1-2 minutes, then have two groups join (we'll then have 5 groups of 10) and play a few more times.  Hopefully everyone will be on a winning team at least once :)  The pic is a little blurry cause everyone was running so fast! :)

After these four games you probably won't have much time left.  Even if they all only take 10 minutes (which they won't) and you count all the "in between" times of changing games and explaining instructions you are still up to around 50 minutes.  HOWEVER, I always like to over plan so here is one more game "just in case"...

setting: gym/large enough space to accommodate your group
materials: 1 HH for every 2 people
# of people: 4 to as many as you want
Time: 10 minutes

If you are following my plan, then everyone is divided up into groups of 10.  To get them into pairs, tell everyone to think of their favorite Disney Movie.  When the leader says Go!, they are to yell out their movie and find someone else who is yelling the same thing.  Once they have a partner, tell them to line up on the sideline.  Give them one minute and then stop them.  Tell them to pick a color and do it again.  Anyone left standing tell them to pair up and line up.  Give each pair a hula hoop.  Tell one person to throw/roll the hula hoop as far as they can and the other person tries to catch it before it stops rolling.  I got this idea from the video I mentioned above :)  Let them do this for a few minutes and then have them time each other and see which of the partners can HH the longest.  Once they have their winner - tell the 25 people left to stand out in the middle and you can do a final HHing contest to see who is the best hooper :)
We ended up doing the contest and it was hilarious!  Well, maybe hilarious isn't the right was unbelievable! :) We had 3 girls who went 15 minutes and wouldn't stop!  They could've gone forever!  I had to make it harder for them - walk 5 steps forward, 5 steps backwards, turn in a circle...but they still didn't stop!  So I declared a 3 way tie :)  You can see that 2 of the girls didn't even stop for the group photo we took after we had all finished playing :)  They did stop for lunch though!

Here's a pic from when we I told all the "expert" hula hoopers to get a hoop and get in the middle!
group pic!  The two girls on the right were our winners!  They got to take home the fancy, sparkly, water filled hula hoops :)  The little boy on the left was very good too!!
I hope you have a great time Hula Hooping!!


Do you write your own VBS at your church?  Do you lead VBS at your church and don't know where to start?  I can help :)  Check out this blog and my materials at my teacherspayteachers store :)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Admire Jesus...not people

   "I'll be there in a minute!" I shouted outside to my family.  They were all outside swimming in the pool.  I was inside by the TV waiting for the Cosby show to come on.  I was a fanatic and I wanted to see if it was a rerun before I went outside...otherwise I might miss a new one.  No other show meant that much to me...but Cosby was different.  I loved the family.  I loved the jokes.  I loved the children.  When I was sick at home, I'd watch a VHS tape (we had 4) filled with cosby's we had recorded. Bored? Watched Cosby.  Couldn't sleep?  I would replay my favorite episode in my head (that I had memorized) to help me go to sleep.  I didn't just love the show...I loved Bill Cosby.  I loved his stand up as well as his show.  He was a "clean" comedian so even in elementary school I could listen to his stand up.  My favorite?  Noah.  Still makes me smile :)

   I grew up knowing Cosby.  In a way, I admired him.  As I got older I learned that he wasn't just a comedian, but he also had strong values.  I never read any of his books all the way through, but I read excerpts and have heard clips of commencement addresses.  I loved his take on diversity and the role of fathers.  I loved how he could inspire people of any race.  Yes, I admired him.  That's where I went wrong.

   I wanted to pass on my love for Cosby to my kids.  Before all the accusations started hitting the fan, I put on the first season of the Cosby show - When Rudy's fish dies.  It was a hit.  They have been asking to watch the show ever since :) How could anyone not like the show? :)  Once I started reading all the recent articles about him however, I haven't wanted to see it.  I can't watch it without cringing when he's sweet and loving towards his "wife" or "family".  I can't watch it without saying "hypocrite" in my head.  Not only is he accused of breaking the law and hurting dozens of women, he did it repeatedly...and in turn hurt the family and friends of all these women.  I was hurt when I read the articles.  I was disillusioned.  I was angry.  I suddenly was let down by someone I admired.  It has happened to everyone of you I'm business, sports, people in everyday life...the world is full of them...and they let us down because they mess up.  But in a way, it's our fault.

   If you think about it, there is no one in life that we should really admire.  We are all sinners.  We will all mess up and let people down...even people we care about...especially people we care about.  Jesus is the only one that is without sin.  Jesus is the only one that we can truly admire as a person.  I'm not saying we shouldn't have any human admirations.  I'm saying that, perhaps, instead of admiring the person, we should admire what they do.  We admire what they have done or said.    People can do admirable things and they can say admirable things...but no person can live up to anyone's full admiration.  I'm sure you can think of someone you admire.  If you are thinking to yourself - but that person has never let me down, they are truly worthy of my admiration - you are kidding yourself.  No one is perfect...except Jesus.

Acts 5:29 ESV 

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must

 obey God rather than men.

    In Paul's cub scout troop this week we talked about faith and people we know or have read about who exhibit a strong faith.  Names came up like Martin Luther King, Jr.  and Mother Teresa.  Two very well known figures who did amazing things.  Those things should be admired, their profound teachings and speeches should be remembered and admired...but they were not perfect.  They messed up too.  Luckily, God can use messed up people to do amazing things.
Look at David in the Bible.  He is definitely not someone I would want my children to admire!  He did many things that, in this day and age would get him kicked out of the church as a leader and possibly put in jail.  Yet God used a huge way.  And we can admire the many teachings and stories he wrote in the Bible. This humanly admiration is common with pastors.  Many people hold pastors up too high and they admire them for being people of God.  Those people will always get disappointed and sometimes even disillusioned with the church because the pastor in some way or another failed.  I remember the first time I saw a pastor "mess up".  I couldn't believe it! How many times have you heard, "I don't go to church because it's full of hypocrites".  Duh.  Of course it is.  Christians want to do the right thing, they try to do good, but we go to church to remind ourselves over and over of what that is...because we all mess up.  We all need forgiveness and we all need second chances (and third and fourth and fifth...).

    So, as more horrible things come out about Bill Cosby, true or not, I am trying to remind myself that we should "hate the sin and not the sinner".  This doesn't mean we should condone what he did (I realize he is innocent until proven guilty...but I have a hard time believing that dozens of women are making up the exact same story and he has yet to deny it.  Even if only one woman is telling the truth...that's one too many), it means that he needs help.  He needs prayer and guidance because he obviously has issues he needs to work through.  Knowing how old he is, I just hope he can find peace before he passes away.  It also means that all the words of wisdom, speeches, inspiring shows and monologues that he has given can still be admired.  It's like a congressman who preaches family values and then cheats on his wife.  How many times has that happened?  It's hard to still believe their words after seeing their actions, but the words are still admirable.  That's what bothers me most about Cosby - that all the people who looked up to him and what he stood for and who based their morals and values on his words - may turn around and think that now those words are no longer true.  He obviously didn't live by them, why should I?  It doesn't work that way.

    The Cosby show is still funny and the lessons he has taught about fatherhood and racism are still powerful and true.  David's psalms are still beautifully written and faith filled.  The pastor's sermon is still relevant and inspiring.  These are all still things we should admire...just save your humanly admiration for Jesus.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Why I never get up before my kids...

It's such a good idea - set the alarm 30 minutes before the kids get up so I can do a devotional, exercise, get lunches ready...whatever I feel like doing for those peaceful 30 minutes of no bustling around. I've always wanted to do it. When the children were newborn and 2 years old, 1 and 3 and even 2 and 4 it wasn't really even a possibility because sleep was too precious :)  But now, it is possible.  I want to do it...but I don't.  Here's why -

Excuse the puffy and sleepy eyes...we did just wake up ;)

And that's the only reason :)  Ever since the children were able to get out of their "big kid" beds, they would wake up, run into our room, jump on our bed and snuggle up with us until we had to get up.  My oldest monkey, who is now 8, grew out of this around the age of 6 when he got into video games and, well...priorities ;) Our youngest, now 6, will also probably outgrow it soon.  I hope not, but eventually the time will come.  Until she does, you better believe that when she comes running into the room to jump into our bed for a few pre-school snuggles, I'll be waiting :)  One day those little feet won't come running, they'll sleep later and I'll be the one running in to her room to wake her up (and she'll probably tell me to go away. lol).  When that happens, I'll set my alarm (which I don't even bother to set right now!) to get up 30 minutes early so I can enjoy some peace and quiet first thing in the morning and get a few more things done.  That time will come.  Until then, I will cherish these moments...until they become wonderful memories :)