Stories that matter.
Stories that matter. Stories that matter.
Game On: Explore 5 Playful Pedagogical Approaches

Game On: Explore 5 Playful Pedagogical Approaches

Is the ball mightier than a pencil? That's the insight from our Magic Bus life skills activities. The ball takes centre stage as we explore the diverse world of Magic Bus life skills activities. This playful approach to learning integrates joy and happiness, extending its principles into education. From problem-solving in an intense ball game to negotiating rules in football, each activity is a playground for learning valuable life skills.

Here's a list of five life skills that adolescents are taught through engaging activities, each intricately connected with the essence of life skills and play :

  • Problem Solving
  • Negotiation
  • Self-Awareness
  • Communication
  • Empathy

1. Problem-Solving learnt through a game of ball

In the experiential session "IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM," participants immersed themselves in an outdoor activity using handballs and sports cone markers. Teams A and B competed to score points through throwing and catching, facing obstacles such as losing points if the ball fell and moving from their initial positions. The objective was to be the first team to reach 10 points. Following the activity, a 5-minute reflection allowed participants to discuss the goal and recognise the identified problem—restricted movement from left to right. The second round featured teams swapping courts, playing for two minutes, and the first to score five points emerged as the winner.

Reflection Time

During the 10-minute reflection segment, "Sit—Breathe—Think” participants shared their insights on the activity and provided personal definitions of a 'problem.'

Analysis :

  • Participants acknowledged obstacles hindering progress, such as limited sitting positions in the Main Activity.
  • Challenges like attending school regularly showcased the diverse nature of their problems.
  • They discussed the importance of asking "why" when faced with a problem to investigate the root cause.
  • They also explored nuanced reasons, responding, "I cannot attend school because I have to look after my younger sibling at home."
  • They demonstrated a proactive approach to problem-solving, including involving parents or grandparents in childcare assistance.

2. Negotiation learnt through football

In the 15-minute "NEGOTIATE AND PLAY" session, participants engaged in a thrilling football match adhering to set rules: if the ball goes outside the grid, the opposing team will restart the game. If a participant's hand touches the ball, it will be considered a foul, and the opposite team will restart. While the team scoring the highest wins, the twist is that Teams A and C have three minutes to play, and Teams B & D have seven minutes.

After the rules were announced, the participants were asked if the rules were fair. Then, participants were encouraged to negotiate and play, emphasising the importance of respectful negotiation even in moments of disagreement.

Reflection Time

In a 10-minute "Sit—Breathe—Think” session, participants reflected:

  • Negotiations addressing perceived unfairness caused delays, with time spent ensuring equitable conditions through discussions.
  • Participants reached a "WIN-WIN situation," emphasising effective communication, reasoning, and the importance of respectful listening and managing disagreements.
  • Participants applied negotiation skills to real-life scenarios, suggesting ways to handle disagreements at home or school, such as listening respectfully, expressing views calmly, understanding others' concerns, and promoting open discussions for collaborative solutions.

3. Self-Awareness learnt through sports cone markers

In the "TAAR, TAPAL, TELEPHONE" activity, the participants were divided into Groups A and B in two circles. The inner circle moved to the right, and the outer circle moved to the left based on the called-out commands—walking for "Taar," jogging for "Tapal," and halting for "Telephone." Participants faced the opposite group face-to-face when the leader announced the halt. The subsequent step involved participants completing statements with their emotions and behaviours in various situations, sharing them with the participant standing opposite them. For instance, completing the statement: "When I get very angry... I break things.

Reflection Time

In a 10-minute "Sit-Breathe-Think" session, participants reflected:

  • The session focused on expressions of feelings in individuals.
  • Participants mentioned various behaviors like shouting, dancing, and hitting.
  • Discussions included harmful actions such as self-inflicted pain or hurtful comments.
  • Diversity in emotional reactions was highlighted, acknowledging that not everyone responds with tears to sadness.
  • Overall, the reflection emphasized the crucial role of self-awareness in understanding and managing emotions.

4. Communication learnt through sports cone markers

In this "Be a Good Listener,” activity, the group is divided into three teams, each comprising 8 to 10 members, and a leader is appointed for each group. The leaders are provided with a shape, and their task is to guide their group members in forming the shape without explicitly stating what it is. Group members are allowed to ask one or two questions for clarification. The assigned shape for this activity is the alphabet "Z." After completing the first round, participants are given 5 minutes to guess the shape they have formed. A reflective pause follows, with participants standing in a circle, addressing probing questions. They discuss three factors that facilitated the completion of the activity: listening attentively to instructions, following the provided guidance, and seeking clarification through questions.

Reflection Time

In a 10-minute "Sit-Breathe-Think" session, participants reflected:

  • The focus is on clear expression and respectful listening for effective communication.
  • Emphasised understanding different perspectives, learning, and personal growth.
  • The team that was attentive demonstrated appropriate responses, waited for others to finish speaking, and took turns.
  • Successful teams showcase robust listening skills, whereas struggling teams might require assistance with challenges like inattentiveness or ineffective leadership.

5. Empathy learnt through balls and sport cone markers

Participants form groups of ten, and the first two teams stand 3 meters from the starting point. Team A scores points by hitting 25, 50, or 100 targets, while Team B aims exclusively for the 100- point target. After Team A collectively chooses their target, participants throw the ball. A designated leader maintains the scores. Positive feedback is encouraged throughout the 5-6 minute game, with the winning team determined by the highest score. During a reflective pause, participants consider their thoughts on the game rules, their success in hitting targets, and the emotional impact of hits and misses.

Reflection Time

In a 10-minute "Sit-Breathe-Think" session, participants reflected:

  • When someone appreciates you, it makes you feel good. It boosts your motivation and confidence.
  • Some found it easy to think about their partner's or their strengths, while others might have faced challenges. People are different.
  • Remember a time when you appreciated someone? Think about how they reacted. It's essential to reflect on the impact of expressing appreciation.

Playing Towards Holistic Development

In essence, these life skills activities weave a narrative of holistic development with a unique blend of play and learning.

Now, let’s reflect: What can shape a brighter tomorrow – a ball or a pencil? The choice, after all, might be a harmonious blend of both. Yet, when it comes to empowering young people living in poverty, a playful ball emerges as the key to unlocking endless possibilities.