Monday, February 25, 2013

Balloon Volleyball

Last week was my birthday week which means we played in the balloon cage (yes, please click through to see what I'm talking about, I'll wait) . . . which means we have a lot of balloons floating around the place. We did a little balloon surfing (I'll wait again) . . . and then, for the 11th time in my 11 years we tried balloon volleyball.

Balloon volleyball seems like an automatic winner. We stretch a strip of caution fencing between a couple of pylons, divide up into teams, then tap a balloon back and forth over the net. That's the theory. 

The problem is that this simple idea isn't so simple, I guess, when applied to the way we do school at Woodland Park. There are always enough kids who fail to understand the whole idea of "team" and staying on their own side of the net, or who forget in the heat of the moment, meaning that volleyball typically almost instantly devolves into a free-for-all with everyone just racing around in an effort to keep the balloon in the air, which is a perfectly fun game unto itself.

Since I'm not a fan of bossing kids around and figure there is never any reason to interrupt fun in order to have fun, volleyball at Woodland Park has normally meant playing with a balloon, together, with a homemade net in the same room.

The other challenge is that there are always one or two children who really can't resist catching the balloon when it comes to them instead of attempting to tap it back in the air, sometimes even running off with it, I suppose, in an effort to get the others to chase them. This behavior is a bit more of an aggravation because the others aren't always as enamored of this attempt to grab-and-run, which usually means I spend a lot of my referee time in hostage negotiation mode.

Still, I keep trotting the volleyball idea out each year, expecting that this will be the time it works the way I envision it. And this was my year! I love looking at these pictures, seeing all those heads up, just like a real volleyball team. I like seeing how many of them intuitively have their knees bent and hands up. They look to me a lot like real volleyball players.

This is my once in a decade team. Sweet!

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Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!

Anonymous said...

nice! Out of curiosity, have you tell them the 'rules' of the game or they have to figure it out? I am assuming you do since you mentioned you are the referee.

Its a great idea and concept.

Interesting enough my DS in 2nd grade recently mentioned a kid that still does the "grab and run" in their recess maybe that's an intrinsic behavior to some...