End of the Year Chaos Got Ya Juggling? Reach for Some Scarves!

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Throughout my career as a physical education teacher, I have grown a strong appreciation for juggling scarves! Inexpensive, portable, simple to use, easy to store – scarves should be in every PE teacher’s repertoire, especially towards the end of year when you find yourself teaching somewhere other than your gym! This piece of equipment is highly inclusive, improves hand-eye coordination, can be stimulating or calming for students, and instills a growth mindset through student autonomy. All while having fun! There aren’t many pieces of equipment that you can say that about right out of the box!

The Many Benefits of Juggling:

As physical education teachers, we are always coming across articles with data on the many benefits of movement, and juggling is no exception! According to a Natural News article Juggle to Improve your Brain (2009), researchers at University of Oxford concluded that juggling type activities can stimulate white matter (transfers information between grey matter) in the brain. Additionally, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany (2009) has concluded that juggling stimulates grey matter (information processing) in the brain. What does this all mean? Juggling is good for the brain!

Personally, juggling scarves is a piece of equipment I love to introduce in small doses throughout the year for 1st-4th graders. I believe in giving students the chance to play with the scarves early on, figuring out different ways to hold, toss, catch, and create pattern challenges! As opportunities to work with the scarves occur, I begin to introduce little tips and tricks to keep the scarves engaging and enjoyable. Then towards the end of the year when school wide activities take over the gym, juggling scarves becomes a dependable go-to when class needs to be held in an alternative location! Creativity begins to flow as the skillset (and the brain) grows!!!

10 Additional Uses for Scarves in Physical Education:

  1. Dancing! Use scarves as a prop during a dance unit. Encourage movement and creativity and challenge them to explore how they can use the scarf in different ways.
  2. Relay Races: Instead of using a baton, pass a scarf!
  3. Introduce Throwing: If you have limited space and still would like to teach throwing technique, have students bunch the scarf up into a ball and throw it! It’s safe and doesn’t travel very far.
  4. Flag Belts: Tuck the scarf in your waist band for a quick game of tag!
  5. Scarf Parachute: Create a makeshift parachute, where students hold onto the edges and work together to make it float. Or use a scarf to launch small items like Itty foam balls.
  6. Balancing: Work on balance and coordination by balancing a scarf of different body parts. Can your students walk with the scarf on their head? How about their shoulder? Can they hop with the scarf between their feet? Can the walk across the gym while trapping the scarf between their feet and a partner’s feet?
  7. Stretching and Yoga: Use scarves for stretching and to introduce yoga poses.
  8. Practice Mindfulness and Breathing: Here’s a free lesson from the health. moves. minds. curriculum that teaches better breathing with scarves.
  9. Scarf Repeat After Me/Coordination Drills: Create various coordination drills where students move their scarves in different patterns and directions mimicking the teacher.
  10. Scarf Fitness Challenges: Students partner up and take turns performing a fitness activity. After they perform their set, they pass the scarf to their partner and now it’s their turn. Whoever has the scarf performs the activity.

If you’re looking to change-up or add something to your PE lessons, consider this classic piece of equipment if you aren’t utilizing it already, especially if you are teaching in an alternative location! The kids will thank you. Happy Juggling!

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