Gym teacher Deloris Suddarth knows that schoolchildren need time to do more than sit at desks. They need time to play. In this book, she offers a host of playtime ideas, detailing games that teach the “four C’s – cooperation, competition, consideration of others and control of the self.”
The book’s chapters fall into themes: games of tag; activities for small spaces; relays, and so on. Suddarth offers a brief introduction to each, followed by instructions on how to play the games. She details one game per page and includes the appropriate ages, equipment required and diagrams that show the setup.
As such, the book could have been a wonderful resource – not only for teachers, but others who supervise children. Unfortunately, it suffers from poor mechanics (tenses change randomly, making the read jumpy) and a narrative that needs fleshing out in order to allow readers to more fully grasp the games’ purposes and goals. In the introduction to “Fun With Fundamentals,” for instance, Suddarth notes that the activities were “selected because everyone is active or on [sic] the action.” An expected discussion about what the “fundamentals” are and why they are important to master is notably absent.
Similarly, the descriptions of the games are often too brief and, thus, confusing. Consider “Kick for Distance”: “Kick the ball only once. Start 4-5 steps behind the ball and run up to the ball. Kick as hard as you can. Call out first, second and third places. Run to the ball and dribble back to the starting line. Group 2 then takes their turn.” The author neglects to first mention that the class will be divided into groups. And it’s unclear in the beginning who she is addressing, the student or the teacher (or both at different moments).
With an editor’s help and some expansion, this book could be a big seller. As it stands, readers will need patience to translate the instructions and put Suddarth’s many ideas to use.
Also available in hardcover.