Have you ever pulled toast out of a VCR? Or told your child to stop drinking water out of the carpet? I have.
Kids have the ability to destroy the house so completely and quickly and in such unimaginable ways that there is no way to fully child-proof a home, or create a set of rules that would cover every possible scenario (as if they would let rules get in the way of their play time anyway).
So what does an ailing parent do with their kids during summer break? The answer is definitely not to let them reign over the house the entire day. The answer? Get them outside. If it means pushing them out the door and locking the deadbolt then by all means….. OK not really. But how do you get them to WANT to go outside?
Star Battle Training for Kids
Don’t worry, you don’t need Jedi training to do it, but it might help.
Kids LOVE Star Wars. So these Star War-ish activities are perfect for all those Star Wars loving kids currently destroying your kitchen (you should probably go check on them right now).
I set this up as a 4-day camp with daily activities but you can pick and choose activities that will suit your needs, time, or budget.
Day 1 – Lightsword Training
- 4 x 4 x 12 inch piece of wood (balance beam)
For 1 lightsword
- 1/2 pool noodle
- duct tape
- electrical tape
For 1 battle bar
- pool noodle
- duct tape
- electrical tape
- 20 inch piece of 3/4 inch PVC pipe
*In later activities, the kids will be divided into teams so it is helpful to have two colors of lightsabers. That makes it easy to identify team members during defeat the scourge capture the flag.
Making a lightsword
Cut the pool noodle in half. Wrap the end in duct tape and electrical tape. Mine was very simple but you can get really creative with it.
Making a battle bar
Cut the pool noodle in half. Use electrical tape to wrap 6.5 inches of the middle of the PVC piece. Slide 1 piece of pool noodle onto each end.
Everyone starts with a lightsword.
Older kids may have fun learning basic defense and attack moves. There are several tutorials on YouTube you can watch. But the kids may just want to unceremoniously attack each other. In that case, just skip the training parts.
- Teach basic lightsword defense moves including overhead, right side, left side, left leg, right leg, and thrust defense. Those aren’t official names but will work for teaching kids.
- Teach basic attack moves including vertical slash, horizontal slash, diagonal slash and thrust.
Have them pair up with a sparring partner.
- Tell them that there is NO flying solo, unless their name is Han…. Wait for laughter!
- Partners take turns attacking and defending slowly. When they are getting comfortable with both, have them duel with their partner. Switch partners every once in a while.
- Absolutely no head shots. Don’t aim for the head.
- No aiming for private parts (parts covered by a bathing suit).
- Only attack someone who is armed AND ready. No surprise attacks.
Jedis must have balance
Choose 2 kids and have them duel on the balance beam. If someone falls off the beam, they are dead. You can either choose 2 new kids to duel, or have the winner fight a new challenger.
Introduce the battle bar and let the kids try some of the same attacks and defenses with the bar. Stress to them that it is very easy to “hurt” themselves with a two-sided lightsword so they must remember their lightsword has two sides.
- This is an everyone against everyone game.
- When the game begins, kids will run around trying to attack or defend themselves from other Jedis.
- Hits to the head do not count
- Hits to appendages result in the loss (you can’t use it for the rest of the game) of the appendage that was hit. If another Union fighter hit your left arm with a lightsword, you cannot use that arm for the rest of the game.
- Hits to the body are all lethal (you dead, man).
- If you are “killed” in battle, you must sit down on the ground and put your lightsword down, lest Union fighters who are still alive confuse you with a fighter who lost their legs.
- The last Union fighter alive is the winner.
Day 2 – Blaster training
- hot glue
- plastic cup
- fishing line
One per person of
- squirt guns
- 3×5 note cards
- Alka-Seltzer tablets
- safety pins
Fill a bucket with water as a refilling station and place it 5-10 feet away from the games. Kids will run out of water and come to refill their squirt guns.
It is helpful to put a plastic cup in the bucket with a small hole in the bottom of the cup. A straw through the hole gives better aim for water into the squirt gun. Fill the cup with water and hold it over the squirt gun refill hole. The squirt gun will fill up much faster than simply submerging it in the bucket.
It would also be wise to set boundaries to the refill station where there is no squirting within those boundaries.
The refill station will be used for all activities involving squirt guns, so keep it handy!
Go around the yard and set up toys, plastic or paper cups, or anything that can be knocked over with a squirt gun. You could make a course they have to advance through in order, or simply a line of things they can knock over.
Blow up a balloon and tape it to a plastic drinking straw. Stretch a fishing line between two trees or poles with the line going through the straw so that the balloon can slide up and down the line. Make sure the fishing line is as level as possible. If it is sloped in either direction, it will be unfair for one of the teams.
Last Union fighter standing
Cut a 3×5 card in half to make two roughly square cards. Glue (hot glue works great) the Alka-Seltzer tablet onto the card somewhere in the middle. Attach a safety pin to the top of the card.
Time them for how long it takes to knock down all the targets. You could also have other kids squirting them as they are knocking down targets to make the course extra difficult!
Split the kids into two teams. Slide the balloon into the center of the line and have each team stand on either side of the balloon with the balloon in between the teams. The object of the game is to get the balloon to the tree or pole of the opposite team. This is done by squirting the balloon with squirt guns, moving it down the line.
What will happen is the two teams will end up squirting the balloon and eventually the players on the other team. It will become a water brawl that is insanely fun to watch and play.
- No touching the balloon or fishing line with either your squirt gun, your body, or any other object or force (no blowing) the kids will come up with to push the balloon forward. Water from the squirt gun only.
- No pushing or touching in any way players on the other team. They may however squirt each other with water as a distraction.
- The team that can squirt the balloon to the opposite pole or tree wins.
Last Union fighter Standing
This is a basic squirt gun fight. The kids will battle it out with squirt guns until only one kid remains “Alive”. You are “Dead” when your Alka-Seltzer tablet is fizzing.
Pin an Alka-Seltzer card to the clothing of each child. I prefer to pin the card between the shoulder blades of each kid. This way the kids can’t put their hand over the card to protect it. If put on the back, you will have to have someone going around checking cards to see if it is fizzing.
- No shooting someone who is at the squirt gun refill station.
- No puppy guarding the refill station.
- No shooting someone who is already dead.
- No covering or putting your hand over the card pinned to your clothing.
Day 3 – Agility training (obstacle course)
- Anything you would use for an obstacle course. This can include a playground, or outside furniture.
- pool noodles
- balance beams
- hula hoops
Set up an obstacle course with as many different types of obstacles as possible. This can include things to climb, crawl under, step over, wiggle through, run around. You could also put in balls to throw, rings to toss, or puzzles to solve.
Have kids or adults not running the course spread throughout the obstacle course to defend parts of the course. They will be carrying lightsabers or battle bars. These defenders are the Stormtroopers.
Get a few stuffed animals or plastic people or animals and put them in a cage or bin or something representing a prison cell. Place another stuffed animal (or real person) to stand guard over the “Union Prisoners.” I used real people throughout the course and then a stuffed animal for the prisoner guard. The kids had to collect balls throughout the course that they then used to defeat the prisoner guard by hitting him/her with a ball.
- Kids will carry a lightsword with them while running through the obstacle course.
- Kids must run the course as designed. They cannot skip obstacles or do them out of order.
- When a Stormtrooper is encountered, the kids must fight them until the Stormtrooper is dead. I told my summer camp kids the Stormtroopers are completely unable to kill them, just like in the movies! Once the defender is dead, the kids may then move on to the next obstacle.
- Once the Union prisoners are freed, the kids must then carry them back through the obstacle course to the start.
Day 4 – Defeat the Scourge (steal the flag)
- squirt guns
- squirt gun refill stations
- Alka-Seltzer tablets glued onto cards
- a fake bomb (or substitute, see note below)
With the increase in news of school violence and bomb threats, you may want to substitute the “bomb” for something else. Be creative! Maybe it is a box of growing ooze that will cover the base. Or a canister of mini robots that eat through metal. You can still be sensitive to the needs of your location and have fun.
Set up two or three squirt gun refill stations. It may be helpful to have one near each team’s home base and one halfway in between.
Make one Alka-Seltzer tablet card and pin it to each kid. Divide the kids into two teams. One team will be the Scourge and another team will be the Union. Everyone gets a squirt gun and a lightsword. If you have two colors of lightswords, make sure each team member has the same color of lightsword. My summer camp kids were very adamant that the Scourge team had red lightswords and the Union team had blue ones!
Establish a Home base for each team. It must be clearly defined such as a park bench, picnic table, slab of concrete, or broken down 1986 I-Rock Z (a classic car from the 1980’s).
Find or make a fake bomb. I cut an old broomstick into 4 pieces and painted it red and taped them together with electrical tape and wire.
- The Union team wins if they can get “the bomb” into the Scourge base.
- The Scourge team wins if they can get “the bomb” into the Union base.
- The bomb will begin with the Union team. They will carry the bomb towards the Scourge base (I called it the Death Star).
- The bomb can be passed from kid to kid when both kids are still alive.
- If a person with the bomb dies, they cannot pass or hold on to the bomb. They must drop it where they were killed. They cannot pass it to another teammate. When the bomb is on the ground, anyone from either team can pick it up.
- The bomb cannot be thrown, especially if a kid anticipates dying and wants to pass it to another team member.
- A kid will die when:
- Their Alka-Seltzer tablet begins to fizz.
- They are hit with a lightsword on their body. Hits to the head do not count. Hits to the arms or legs only cause the loss of that limb.
- An alternate way to play is with lightsword only, and the kids can become alive again after counting out loud to 30.
May the Summer be with you…..
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