“Do You Want To Compete” Game

Is competition good or bad?  Competition is often viewed as bad for kids. Competition can bring pressure, stress, and disappointment for some kids.  It can also have a negative impact on class climate, as some students will use competition to control others by putting others down. Competition, however, is an important part of life and it can be used in class to teach kids about sportsmanship, hard work, and empathy.  It can also help students develop tenacity, resiliency, and self-esteem.  Having competition take place in class and still maintaining a positive learning environment takes continual teaching and modeling. 

This game encourages students to interact, compete, and encourage.  Begin by having the teacher model how to ask a classmate to compete in an activity, model how to compete, and model how to properly finish this interaction. During this demonstration, the teacher will, not only model the correct behavior but will also show and discuss some things that students may do that actually make the competition a negative experience.

Some Possible Activities Include:

  • Standing long jump
  • Running long jump
  • Triple jump
  • 5 hops for distance (try the other foot too)
  • Throwing to target
  • Underhand tossing to target
  • Push-ups
  • Rock-Paper-Scissors
  • Jump rope (first one to get to 30 jumps, try different skills)
  • Rolling at a pin
  • Frisbee Throw at a Target
  • Beanbag toss into a hula hoop from different distances
  • Basketball Shooting from a spot
  • Create a balance and hold
  • Burpees – first person to 5 with correct form
  • Basketball Shot
  • 40 Jumps over a line back and forth
  • Create your own competition
  • Working together to get 10 catches in a row (this is a team effort)

Key Points to Emphasize:

  • Always try to find positive comments to encourage during and after.
  • If offering advice or suggestions, always try to have positive encouragement along with it.
  • When we lose, it is an opportunity to grow.  (What did you learn from this competition that will help you in your next competition?)
  • Your worth or self-esteem does not come from your wins.  Everyone has different gifts and talents.
  • Always ask “How did you make your partner feel safe through your words and actions?” Be a builder!
  • Don’t be a victim!  Be resilient, even if you lose or someone is mean.  Let that motivate you to work harder and be kinder to others.  

2 Responses

  1. Hey Tim, as usual you are ‘on top of it’….. great comments! I have done a competition thing with my Pre K’s with the cone tip game…..First they stand by a cone that is either up or down and then I have them move around ‘changing’ all others to look like what they stood by. Eventually we play boys vs girls… and they have to stop moving on signal (no more moving or tipping/ integrity) then staff count for boys and girls and eventually someone wins…. but when I announce who won, I tell the winners they have to face the others and cheer for them as they worked hard during the game. At last, we all face each other and cheer for our ‘hearts’ as we are getting healthy via playing the game no matte who actually wins/ everyone wins! play on…..

  2. Hey Kris, Thanks for your input on teaching “competition” to pre-K students in physical education. Our expectations, and what we teach, determine the culture and climate we will have in our classroom.

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