- Lay out an obstacle course.
- Have games (e.g., board games) for the kids to play while they wait for each other to go through the obstacle course.
- Or during homework time, take the kids one at a time to go through the obstacle course.
Have a volunteer in the obstacle course working with you.
- Have obstacles that are easy to get over, under, or around and others that are impossible.
- Suggestions for impossible tasks: a stack of wobbly chairs over which the kids must go; a rug under which they must crawl, but they can’t move the rug; a math problem that is beyond their knowledge which must be completed before they move forward.
- Suggestions for possible tasks: stack of pillows to climb over; a table under which they can crawl; strips of string tied to chairs they must step through without touching.
- Lay out masking tape to mark the course.
- You may want to set up more than one obstacle course
in different rooms if you have a lot of kids.
- The object of this activity is to make the kids have to choose what they are going to do – the hope is that they will choose to ask the adult for help.
- The adult should never offer help unless asked.
- Bring the kids into the obstacle course one at a time; you do not want them to observe the others going through the obstacle course.
- Explain to the kids what they are to do to get through the obstacle course.
- Give them the sense there will be winners and losers and that time is important.
- However, at no time indicate that you won’t help them over the impossible obstacles; while at the same time, never tell them that you will help them.
- When they come to the impossible obstacles, there are several choices they can make; they can try to do it on their own and fail, they can give up and not go on, or they can ask you what to do.
- If they ask for help, or ask you what to do, give them the ability to get around, over or under the obstacle. Do not do the activity for the kids; just make it possible to be accomplished.
- When a kid leaves to return to where the other kids are, tell him/her s/he will lose KidTrek Bucks if s/he shares with the other kids what s/he has been through.
- The winners are those who ask for help.
A volunteer could play the “devil” and encourage the kids to try and do it on their own.
You encourage them to choose wisely.
- What did you first think of when you came to the impossible obstacle?
- What did you do when you came to the impossible obstacle?
You want to get answers from several kids who responded differently.
- Who do you think the winners are?
The winners are those who asked for help; they chose wisely.