The kids have been taking Karate classes at this fantastic dojo recently, and today's Sweet Ninja Moves activity is essentially lifted whole-cloth from two things they do there which I kind of love. They're simple games that train for focus and let the kids have fun doing it.
First there's the listening game ofArrows / Rocks / Noodles / Chambers, which is just Simon Says with Karate hand positions. Arrows are open hands, rocks are fists, noodles are wiggly fingers (not used often in actual karate, I'm guessing), and chambers are fists pulled back to your chest.
Once the kids know the positions, you just bark out orders and they have to keep up. You can also throw in "crazy rocks" or "crazy noodles" to make them wave their hands around while in the correct position, that's fun. It's so simple but it's so good for them to get practice immediately processing information and acting on it. To play well requires focus, and that's SO IMPORTANT to instill in your kids. I don't do it nearly enough.
After that as a warm up, we moved on to a dodging challenge. In this, you take a tubular object and have kids jump over it as it comes towards them on the floor, or duck under it when it comes at them horizontally in the air, or dodge to the side as it comes at them vertically. In the dojo they use pool noodles to do this, which probably works better than what I used, an old toy lightsaber. But it did the trick alright.
The kids had to learn to stay on their feet, even while ducking. They kept on wanting to play this over and over again, and Zephyr REALLY wanted a turn swinging the lightsaber.
This was a quick one... or at least it felt quick. Time really does fly when you're having fun.