Free Team Building Games for Kids

Team-building activities are a fun way to teach children teamwork, leadership, communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills. To succeed at team-building games, children have to learn to work together, listen carefully, communicate clearly and think creatively. Many team-building games require no props and can be played in a backyard or even indoors. After each activity, discuss with children what they tried, what worked or didn’t work and what they learned. Be sure to let insights come from the children themselves; do not turn the discussion into a lecture.
Choose a volunteer from the group. Have this person step aside while the other children stand in a circle, about two feet apart from one another. The extra person is the starting player; she will choose a space in between two other players. Tell players they are not allowed to say anything except the word “Go.” Blow a whistle or clap your hands to start the game. The starting player will make eye contact with someone in the circle with the intent of getting that person to say “Go.” Once she receives the command, she will walk slowly toward the child who said it. The child who uttered the command will then make eye contact with another person in the circle with the intent of getting that person to say “Go.” Once this second person receives the command, he will start walking toward the person who said it. The idea is this: Each person who gives a command should receive a command quickly enough to vacate his position and give it over to the player who is approaching him. Once the group is able to successfully complete the task, challenge them to change spots while dribbling a ball.
For this exercise, you will need a large can and an object to place inside of it. Direct the group to stand in a circle. Assign limitations to each player or to the entire group. You could, for example, blindfold one or more participants while asking others to use only their feet. Show the children the can. Make up a story about how ancient, powerful or valuable it is and that it must not be dropped on the ground. Challenge the group to pass the can around to each member without dropping it or spilling its contents. If the can–or the object in the can–drops to the ground, the group must start over. After explaining the task to the group, ask them to set a time goal for completing the task. Discuss with participants their tactics, methods of communication and performance. Ask them how they felt about or dealt with the limitations placed on them. Invite them to connect the limitations imposed on them in the game to the obstacles they sometimes face in life.
For this exercise, you will need a hula hoop. Ask the children to stand in a tight circle with one hand inside the circle, raised to about head level. If you have available to you an area with a mild slope, use it; it will make the game more challenging. Tell participants to extend a finger from their raised arm. Lay the hula hoop on top of their fingers. The hoop may immediately start to rise. Hold it in place as you give the group directions. Tell them they must remain in contact with the hula hoop at all times, but they must not hook a finger around it or pull it. The hula hoop must simply lay on top of their fingers. Once they understand the rules, tell the children to simply lower the hula hoop to the ground. Step aside and allow the children to figure this out on their own. At the end of the game, ask participants to discuss their tactics, conflicts and methods of communication.

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Have a Heart — If You Can Find It

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So this slightly disturbing survey came out yesterday on CNN.com. The medical journal “BMC Family Practice” surveyed 722 Britons (people from England) about where various body organs were located. The participants were shown four body diagrams with the organs depicted in varying sizes and locations in the body. They were then asked to choose which one was correct, organ by organ.
Turns out only 46.5 percent could pinpoint the correct size and location of the heart. That would be the human heart. Not only that, but only 31 percent could identify the lungs, 39 percent could identify the stomach and 32 percent cold find the kidneys. What’s more, 589 of these folks were outpatients in a hospital. The same survey was performed in 1970 and researchers today expected better results thanks to the dawn of the information age. Unfortunately the results were about the same, despite the wonders of the Internet.
And get this, only 75 percent of people being treated for liver disease could locate the liver and 53 percent of diabetics could find the pancreas. Granted, failure to identify organs doesn’t mean you don’t care about your personal health, but it’s not very encouraging.
Lead author Dr. John Weinman spoke with some American colleagues and quoted one as saying that she didn’t feel like folks in the good old U.S.A. would perform much better. “Very many Americans don’t even know where New Jersey is, so how would they know where their pancreas is?”
Well, New Jersey has affectionately been called the “armpit of America” — a body part you can bet nobody would have missed.
Read up or you might look dumb in a survey: How Your Heart Works How Your Lungs Work How Diabetes Works
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Cheerleading Moves & Cheers for Beginners

When you are just beginning in cheerleading, there are many things to learn. You must master motions, cheers, jumps, tumbling, formations and stunts. It is a good idea to start slowly, mastering a small handful of items in each category before learning more. Practice your motions and cheers in front of a mirror to perfect them.
Beginners should master these top five easy motions, working hard to perfect placement and execution of just a handful of motions prior to learning any more. Touchdown involves raising both hands straight above your head. Keep your arms slightly forward, with your biceps close to your ears. Next work on T motion. Extend your arms straight out to the side at shoulder level. Master both High and Low V by making a V shape with your arms overhead for High V, or pointing down for Low V. The final basic motion you should master is Clasp. In a Clasp, you clasp your hands in front of you with your fists just below your chin.
If you are a beginner, the cheers you use should be simple with few words and few motions. Make sure you have no more than one motion per word. Use Clasps to keep time during your cheers and to simplify more difficult cheers that have many motions. Focus on clearly projecting the words of the cheer, getting your volume from your diaphragm instead of your throat.
Even as a beginning cheerleader, your cheer library should include many types of cheers. You need chants for when your team is on offense — “2, 2, we want 2!” — and on defense — “Steal that ball!” You also need all-purpose chants like, “Go! Fight! Win!” Chants typically are repeated three or more times. Crowd-involvement cheers are those that have a special part the crowd is supposed to cheer back to you. For example, you cheer: “We say Go, you say Fight — Go!” and the crowd should yell back, “Fight!” Finally, you need longer cheers that can be performed out on the floor during halftime or between quarters. These cheers are typically only repeated once.
Here is a beginner offense chant you can learn: “S-C-O-R-E” “Score Team Score!” Start with Clasps for “S, C, O.” Quickly add “R” in between Clasps, and then Clasp again on “E.” Hit a Low V motion on “Score.” Come back to a Clasp on “Team.” You can substitute the name of your team’s mascot here instead of “Team.” End the cheer with a High V on the “Score!” Since this is a chant, come back down to a Clasp, saying nothing. Then repeat the chant two more times.

Can a Basketball Player Step Out of Bounds & Step Back in & Touch the Ball?

The rules of basketball make it pretty clear that you can’t touch the ball while any part of you is out of bounds. The rules are different if a player steps out without the ball. Players who go out of bounds can legally rejoin the play and touch the ball once they have both feet back on the court.
Players are considered in or out of bounds based on where their feet were before they touched the ball. If a player leaps from out of bounds to touch a ball before she lands in-bounds, it’s a turnover. The reverse is also true, as players can jump from inside the court and touch a ball as long as they’re not touching it when they land out of bounds. An example is a player leaping to tip a ball that was going out of bounds toward a teammate to avoid a turnover.
The requirements for players leaving and reentering the field of play are different for basketball than in some other sports. For example, in football, a receiver who leaves the field without being forced out becomes an ineligible. Any pass he catches will be waived off.

Difference Between Little League Baseball & Soccer Cleats

Your son is playing baseball and soccer. Your daughter is playing soccer and softball. Since those sports always seem to be played in the spring and fall, there are days you are literally running from one sport to the other in a matter of minutes. So, a fairly common question among parents is, can my kid wear the same cleats for baseball, softball and soccer? The answer, unfortunately, is not that simple.
The major difference between soccer and baseball shoes is the pattern of the cleats on the bottom. On soccer cleats you will notice there is never a single cleat at the very front tip. The reason there is not single cleat at the front is because it can easily cause injury to an opposing player’s shin. Soccer cleats typically have two front cleats that are spread apart.
It used to be much easier to differentiate between soccer and baseball cleats. Soccer cleats were round and baseball cleats were rectangular in shape. This is no longer the case as soccer companies have altered the shape of the cleats on many models, such as the Predator and F-5 models by Adidas and the Mercurial by Nike, which have cleats that mimic the traditional, rectangular baseball cleat.
In soccer, a player’s shoes are his most important piece of equipment because his feet execute all of the game’s most important skills. In baseball, particularly at the youth level, cleats are way down the list of essential equipment. If your son of daughter is a soccer player, invest in a quality pair of cleats that fit snugly and are comfortable. You may have to pay a bit more, but it’s worth it. In baseball, look for comfort and durability at a reasonable price.
Soccer shoes can be worn for Little League baseball, but baseball shoes cannot be worn for soccer. If you’re only going to buy your child one pair of shoes for both sports, buy soccer shoes. In most youth soccer leagues, referees are instructed to check the cleat pattern of each player’s shoes before a game. If a player is wearing baseball shoes, she won’t be permitted to play.

Science vs. Monsters!

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The Future of Our Galaxy

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Yesterday, NASA released a new image of what happens when galaxies collide. Earlier this year, the Chandra X-ray Observatory discovered something interesting: About 60 million light-years from our solar system, a massive cloud of extremely hot gas seems to give evidence that local gravity once brought a dwarf galaxy crashing into a bigger galaxy called NGC 1232. There are other hypotheses that might account for the presence of the cloud overlay: An abundance of supernovae and massive stars on one side of the galaxy could create this kind of cloud, which possibly represents a total mass as great as that of 3 million suns. But according to NASA’s press statement, the most likely explanation at this stage of analysis seems to be the big crash.
Galaxy collisions aren’t unheard of. You’ll find them all across the universe at large. Take a look at the “Mice Galaxies,” below:
The Mice have already passed through one another at least once, and now they’re getting ready for an ever-tightening embrace. While the universe is generally known to be expanding, there’s still enough gravity out there to frequently bring objects on the galactic scale into close interaction.
In fact, this phenomenon is actually about to hit close to home. According to a NASA simulation, this is what the night sky out your back window will look like in just 3.75 billion years:
That huge thing on the left, greedily sucking mass away from the disc of our own Milky Way, is the galaxy Andromeda – quite soon to be our new best friend, whether we like it or not. Right now, Andromeda is about 2.5 million light-years away. But in approximately 4 billion years, the two galaxies will begin to collide, and within 6 billion years, they will likely become forever joined by gravity and momentum.
So what happens in a galactic collision? Well, it’s not quite as bad as it sounds, but it’s not great either. Keep in mind that most of the volume of each galaxy is composed of the empty expanse between stars, so it’s not exactly like the collision of a meteor with the planet Earth, or of a football with a poorly shielded groin.
You should NOT expect that the stars and planets of the two galaxies will all smash directly into one another. Instead, we’re more likely to see the effects of the collision as a massive gravity disruption. As the galaxies pass through one another, the gravity of each will exert a pull on the mass of the other – which could mean that Andromeda and the Milky Way, much like the Mice, will end up spiraling into one another until they finally merge.
For a scientific simulation of this process, check out this absolutely mesmerizing video from the people at NASA and the Hubble Space Telescope site:
Now, the big question: Will this galactic merger/acquisition spell death for the human race?
The answer: Not necessarily, but with some important caveats. This article over at io9 has a pretty good write-up of the major considerations: relocation of our solar system relative to the rest of the galaxy; a black hole death orgy at the newly consolidated galactic center; surges in radiation from aforementioned death orgy; and finally the unrelated fact that by the time the galactic collision goes down, the escalation of our sun’s energy output will already have destroyed all possibility for life on Earth. In other words, if we’re still alive, we won’t be around to see what happens to our planet of origin.
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