Amazing acrobats

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By Jean EvansEarly Years consultant and author

Encourage children to develop the qualities of trust and cooperation and enjoy working in harmony with these fun group activities

Activities in this article:

  1. Tightrope trust
  2. Flying trapeze
  3. Cross-curricular activities

1. Tightrope trust

Put your faith in a partner while daring to walk the tightrope

Personal, Social and Emotional Development – Making Relationships

Development matters: Seek out others to share experiences (22–36 months); Feel safe and secure and show a sense of trust (30–50 months).

Early learning goal: Work as part of a group or class, taking turns and sharing fairly.

What you need

Images of trapeze artists and tightrope walkers; balancing equipment, such as benches, beams and linked bricks.

What to do

  • Look at the images of the circus artists and ask the children to talk about what is happening. Introduce words to describe the skills the artists need, such as ‘good balancing’ and ‘concentration’. Ask why it is important for them to work with a partner they can trust.
  • Focus on the tightrope walkers and explain that they sometimes hold long poles to help them to keep their balance. Allay any anxieties by saying that there is always a safety net underneath the tightrope to stop them from hurting themselves if they fall.
  • Invite the children to pretend to be tightrope walkers balancing along ‘tightropes’ created from balance beams and benches. Explain that learning to balance high in the air often starts with low balancing.
  • Suggest to the children that a ‘safety partner’ might help them to feel safe and also keep their balance as they move along the ‘tightrope’. Demonstrate by holding a child’s hand as they negotiate along a beam.
  • After all of the tightrope walkers have had time to try out their balancing skills, ask them to change places with the ‘safety partners’.
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