Movement games – Part 1 (Partner games)

I love a good Movement game! They allow us to move in a more free, open and playfull way than more ”strict” drills, they can help us to connect with others, improve coordination and agility as well as provide us with a laughter or two.

In this series of posts my plan is to share some of my favorite ones that I use with PT-clients as well as for group classes. Today we will cover 5 fun partner games with a few different variations! Most of the games I learned from someone else, some I added a few of my own adjustments and some I made up myself. The point is that these games are not someones to claim as their own. They are free for everyone to use and have fun with and feel free to change or add your own adjustments as well.

A few things to remember when playing these kinds of games;

  • It’s not a competition. The point is not to win over your friend. The point is to help each other to move in different ways, challenge each others limits, warm up and have fun
  • It will only get as fun as you make it. Allow yourself to let go, to move, to enjoy and to explore different movements. For some this is easier than for other

1. Catch the stick

Number of people: 2

What you need: A broomstick

Here is how you play: Stand facing each other with like one meter in between. Person 1 holds a stick with the pointy end standing on the floor. Person 1 drops the stick towards Person 2. The task of Person 2 is to catch the stick but not just as quick as possible. Try to catch the stick as close to the floor as possible and as smooth as possible and preferably as far out on the stick as possible. This will make us squat and lunge in different directions as well as improve our hand-eye coordination. Remember to have some footwork and move around as you drop the stick. Challenge your buddy by dropping to the sides or trick him/her a bit – But remember, it’s not a competition. If you drop the stick just pick it up and continue. You can either go every other round and after you have catched the stick you drop to your friend or let one friend be the dropper and one the catcher for a given time before you switch.

Variations: The dropper can call out ”Right” or ”Left” before dropping the stick. This tells the catcher which hand to catch the stick with.

The dropper can call out ”Squat” or ”Lunge” before dropping the stick. This tells the catcher what do to with the legs to catch the stick. Which hand doesn’t matter.

The dropper can call out for example ”Squat left” or ”Lunge right” before dropping the stick. This tells the catcher what to do with the legs and what hand to catch with.

2. Zen archer

Number of people: 2

What you need: A broomstick

Here is how you play: Stand facing each other. Person 1 holds a stick and uses it to slowly and smoothly sweep or poke at Person 2. Be clear in your ”attacks” and avoid to make sudden changes of direction.

The task of Person 2 is to avoid the stick but he/she can’t move the feet. It’s okay though to for example lift the heel, toes or side of the foot if Person 1 would poke towards them as long as you don’t lift them completely. Have the intention of moving just enough to avoid the stick. If for example Person 1 pokes at your should maybe it’s enough to just twist to turn your shoulder rather than squatting down as deep as you can. Person 1 are free to walk around to ”attack” from different directions. Go for given time and then change roles.

Variations: Person 2 is also allowed to move the feet which can create a bit more dynamic in the game. Still have the intention of moving just enough. Imagine you want to get away from the stick but all the time still be within a stick reach distance from your friend. So the point is not to run away to hide from the stick. Try to use all parts of your body on the floor to avoid the stick. Use your hands, roll on your belly and explore!

3. Twister

Number of people: 2

What you need: A broomstick

Here is how you play: Person 1 stands up holding a stick. Person 2 starts in a quadruped position (hands and feet) on the floor. Person 1 points somewhere (within reaching distance from Person 2) and calls out for example ”Right foot”. Person 2 then places right foot on said point and stays there until next instruction. Person 1 continues to call out spots to places for hands and feet and Person 2 will in this way crawl around on the floor in various ways. Try to avoid getting stuck in a loop of doing the same moves over and over. It’s the task of Person 1 to give spots that challenges Person 2 to creative solutions. Go for given time and then change roles.

Variations: Hip to floor – Move around in the same way as described above but after each move the person on the floor has to get the hips (hips in this case means everything around the hip area, front, back or sides) close to the floor and then up again before the next move.

3 points of contact – In the above variation the person on the floor has 4 points of contact on the floor (two hands and two feet). In this variation the person (Person 2) will stand with 3 points of contact on the floor. Start as before in a quadruped position on the floor but lift one hand – this is your ”free” hand. Now the person (Person 1) with the stick doesn’t have to call out what right or left or hand or foot but simply point somewhere on the floor. Person 2 has to place the ”free” hand on this spot and immediatey after placing the hand lift one foot. Now the foot is free which means that next time Person 1 points on the floor it’s the free foot that will be placed there. When the foot is placed you lift one hand and so on. This can be a bit tricky at first so Person 1 can help to say for exaple ”Place the hand and lift a foot” or ”place the foot and lift a hand”.

2 points of contact – We will make it harder by removing yet another point of contact. Now the person on the floor (Person 2) will start balancing on one hand and one foot as a starting position. Now where ever Person 1 points you can choose to place either the free hand or the free foot, the one that is closest and/or most convenient. As soon as you place a hand you must lift the other hand and if you place a foot you must lift the other foot so that you at all time only have two points of contact on the floor – One hand and one hand. Once again it’s good if Person 1 helps by saying for example ”If you place the hand you lift a hand” because this can be a bit of a mind f*ck for the crawling person.

4. Stick dance

Number of people: 2 to many

What you need: One broomstick per person

Here is how you play: Stand facing each other and hold the sticks between your by pressing the pointy end of the sticks in your palms so that right palm of Person 1 is connected via the stick to left palm of Person 2 and vice versa. Now your task is to simply move around in various ways, sort of like a dance, without dropping the sticks. Twist, turn and get as tangled up as you can!

Variations: One person leads – Just as described above but let one person lean and the other follow. You can even let the follower move with closed eyes.

Group dance – Stand in a circle with sticks connecting your palms as described above and move together!

5. Just touch this spot

Number of people: 2

What you need: Nothing

Here is how you play: Person 1 is the leader and Person 2 starts on the floor in a chosen position (Recommended Quadruped or Table/Crab position). Person 1 now points somewhere on the ground or give a target with the hand in the air (within reachable distance) from Person 2 and the task of Person 2 is to touch this spot with every limb (hands and feet), one at the time and all the time return to the starting position. Nothing but hands and feet can touch the ground. Go for given time and then swith roles.

Variations: Touch this and that spot – Set up as descrived above but this time Person 1 are a bit more detailed and can say for example ”Right hand here” and gives a target with the palm somewhere in the air. Person 2 then touches the target with right hand hand holds. Person 1 gives another target as says for example ”Left hip here”. Person 2 then touches left hip on the new target without losing the first target. After completed this you return to the starting position and wait for a new task.

Here it’s up to Person 1 to be a bit creative and give challenging but yet manageable tasks. If for example a task would be too hard to reach you can slowly move it a bit closer until Person 1 can reach. If you give a task that is too easy you can do the opposite and slowly move the target away until it becomes more challenging. As the person on the floor you want to touch the targets with control and return to the starting position, without momentum. Not just throw for example your hand away by chance.

Thank you for reading!

That was all the games for this time! I hope you could get some inspiration and that you will find these games usefull for yourself, your clients or classes. If you know someone that could benefit from reading this please be a good friend and share it. More posts with more games will be up in the future.

May you have a wonderful life filled with joy and movement!

– Viktor

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