Ga-ga. I’m not sure about you, but when I hear that word, I think of a famous pop singer or something a toddler would say as he learns to talk. Ga-ga, as I recently learned, is also a game that students love.
Students stand inside a circle of connected wooden boards, hitting a ball while trying to dodge out of the way. If the ball hits you, you have to leave the arena and you are “out”. The last person left wins. According to Wikipedia, ga-ga means “touch touch” in Hebrew and is also known as Israeli dodgeball, Octo-Ball and Panda Bal. Whatever you call it, I cannot tell you how much students LOVED this game! They played for nearly an hour. Kids were sweaty, out of breath, and laughing the entire time!
Ga-ga was one of my favorite activities during our early out on February 25th. I was asked to come to Waterville Elementary to host a fitness afternoon. I had over thirty energetic students greet me as I walked in the door! Luckily, I was not alone. I had plenty of after-school staff and jr high and high school students to help! It was magical to watch the older students mentor the younger kids. It’s not everyday that high schoolers play kickball or basketball with kindergartners.
And it’s not everyday I play dodgeball with jr high students. As it turns out, that is a great thing! I was nailed a few times by the ball. And it HURT. Thank goodness I managed not to cry in front of students. I learned many wonderful lessons that day: kids love to be active if it involves a game, dodgeballs can really sting, and multiple ages working together is a beautiful thing.