the Young and Restless
Try some of these suggestions for teaching kids from former Inline
Certification Program Director and current proud mom Kris Simeone.
& 4 Years
Attention spans are often very short at this age so your best bet is to
keep them moving and their minds off how hot and tired they are
Gather the group in a circle and begin by singing "scissor right foot
in, scissor your right foot out..." and let them shake their foot all
about; end the verse with a little hop and you're onto the other side!
They will be reinforcing their ability to do their heel brake stops
along with increasing their agility to perform more advanced maneuvers
such as the parallel turn.
These are a great trick for the timid 3 or 4 year old skater. Toss the
balls out of their reach and the little skaters will have fun trying to
bend down and scoop them up. This is a great way to get them motivated
to move and also allows the beginning students the confidence and
failing practice they need.
Singing the ABC's and counting as high as possible are additional ways
to keep the mind off the matter if the skaters seem apprehensive or
bored. Interaction and communication between you and the skater
increases with this verbal exchange while providing additional
reinforcement of basic skating, letter reciting and counting techniques.
GO TO THE ZOO
Imaginations are running wild. Take advantage of their imagination and
go on trips around the skating surface. Have them tell you where they
want to go (Disney World, the circus, the museum,etc ... ) and then act
like you are really there! This keeps them moving and excited about the
possibility of actually being somewhere they don't get to visit all the
Children love stickers. While they are most often used as a reward,
they can also be used as a learning tool. For example: Place a sticker
on the inside of their skates. An A-frame turn can be introduced by
telling them to squish their sticker on the ground to make the turn
happen. Preschool age skaters often are confused about their right and
left. Stickers place on hand be used to help distinguish a skater's
right and left.
For those learners who are primarily visual, this will definitely aid
in their understanding of the skills.
* Heel brake stops - draw a line and a stop sign. This gives them a
fixed point to stop at.
* Swizzles - draw "footballs" and "lemons".
* A-frame turns - draw a train track.
PICK A FLOWER
Using colored cones or other colored objects as petals, draw a stem
with chalk. Ask each child to skate and stop at a particular "petal."
This skill motivates them to move, reinforces their heel brake stop and
increases their color recognition.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Children at this age are not usually reading, but most can recognize
their names or at least the first letter. Write their names in chalk
and have each skater skate to their name. This is another motivational
activity to get reluctant skaters to move but also reinforces their
skating and stopping skills along with letter and name recognition.
MOON ROCKS AND BOULDERS
Tell the skaters a story about how there is this giant moon
rock/boulder in your way and there is no way around it. To get to where
you need to go (name a place) you need to push this object out of the
way. As they "push" it (Arms in front with heads up) around the skating
surface it continues to block their path. When telling the skaters to
push, have them focus on their inside edges. A lot of stability and
support can be found on a skater's inside edges - they especially come
in handy for pushing a 300 ton moon rock!
Traditional Red Rover minus the closed gate and entrapment! Have the
skaters form a circle and take turns having a skater to join hands with
you in the middle. (Ask permission to hold skaters hand.) Call the next
skater by saying "Red Rover, Red Rover let "(fill in blank)" come over.
As skater approaches the middle, drop hands or let the skater dip and
go under your arms.
PLUS & MINUS
Count the number of skaters in the class out loud. Ask certain skaters
to skate to a different part of the surface. When the skater has skated
away and stopped, ask the others how many are left. Also ask how many
have skated away. This one is used once again for motivation. It gets
them moving and helps them with their addition and subtraction skills.
RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT
Start with the heel brake stop.
Green light - skate
Yellow light - Ready position and scissor braking foot forward
Red light - light braking toe, apply pressure to brake and continue to
"sit" until completely stopped. Talk about obeying traffic signals
along with citing those skaters that do not stop completely.
CHEESE ON A PIZZA
Draw a circle on the surface. Make it large enough that all the skaters
an stand around it. If you can't draw on the surface, create your own
circle using the skaters as pizza crust. Determine braking foot for
each skater. Tell them they need to shave some cheese on the pizza.
Have the skaters perform a stationary heel brake stop toward the center
of the circle to apply the cheese on the pizza. Let the skaters add
their favorite topping, cut the pizza and let them have a piece!
BLOWING A UP A BALLOON
Have the skaters form a circle with you included (instructor within the
circle). Ask them if they want to blow up a balloon. Have them each
through their favorite color into the middle of the circle. Stir up the
colors for a rainbow colored balloon. Tell the skaters to start blowing
up the balloon and show them how.(The Academy will be notified about
your performance!) As the balloon is being "blown up," have the skaters
step backward from an "Inverted V" position, backward swizzles or
backward movement. This will give the illusion that the balloon is
actually expanding. When the skaters are far enough apart, tell them
you think the balloon is going to "POP!" The balloon then shrivels up
and they come back together in a tighter circle and conclude by
performing a heel brake stop. The skaters really seem to like this one.
Once is usually not enough! Even try it with older skaters.
MICKEY MOUSE & CO plus the three R's
Cut out and laminate various pictures of popular characters, (Mickey
Mouse, Barney, Big Bird), alphabet letters, numbers and colors. Tape
these on to whatever is available. Ask skaters to "skate to picture of
"__________." Find the color "___________." Who knows where the number
"______" is? This will motivate them to move and increase their
recognition of various subjects.
***Additional thought: Have them do a specific skill to a designated
picture. Example: Please swizzle to (or away from) the picture of
5 - 8
A sense of humor and keeping them guessing is the secret to your
success with this age group. Keep talking down to a minimal and moving
to a maximum!
THE GREAT BALANCING ACT
Let each skater try to balance a pencil or water bottle on a clip board
as they skate down the surface. The object is to get from point A to
point B without losing the cargo. This exercise helps to keep their
hands in front of their body, their shoulders in line and their upper
THE GREAT BALANCING ACT PART II
Balancing quarters on top of the hands, placing a glove or scarf on top
of the helmet or stickers on the wrist guards can help control out of
control fly away arms and help skaters that have trouble keeping their
upper torso erect.
SKATING TEACHER MAY I TAKE...
Played like the classic "Mother May I?" They ask if they can do
something, you say yes or no. If they ask to take 52 swizzles across
the surface you would most likely say no, but you might say instead,
take 10 swizzles into a heel brake stop.
Children love 'em! Change the formation, change the skill just use them
when the kids seem bored and anxious or when you are bored and anxious.
WILE E. COYOTE VS. THE ROAD RUNNER
If they don't know about these two, give them a quick update. Draw a
line on the surface and explain that it is the end of a cliff. They are
to skate toward the "cliff" and stop before going over the edge. If
they stop before the line, they are the Road Runner. If they go "over
the cliff" they are Wile E. Coyote. However, they were prepared for
such a situation and therefore much smarter then the real Wile E.
Coyote. At the beginning of the game, you equip them with an ACME
parachute to help them if an emergency situation should arise! This
game is usually a hit. No one really loses and the skaters really get
Incorporate two foot turns, hockey stops, t-stops, swizzles, slaloms,
etc... Relay races are a great way to end a group lessons and they help
develop strong skating skills.
Give the class a skill such as stride 1, forward swizzles, backward
swizzles, slalom, etc... and have them perform the skill for a
designated amount of time(2 minutes seems to work) This give you the
chance to see the progress of each skater while keeping the group
moving. Get those heart rates up!