The other players are ‘seals’ and run around the gym trying not to be tagged by a ‘shark.’
Place 4 mats or hula hoops around the gym to represent an island. ‘Seals’ can rest on an island for 5 seconds and not be tagged.
If a ‘seal’ is tagged this player is taken by a ‘shark’ to the middle of the gym. Here the ‘seal’ continues to do a pre-determined physical activity to keep them active (e.g. jumping jacks).
A ‘free seal’ needs to save a ‘captured seal’ by going to the middle of the gym and taking the ‘captured seal’ to a designated spot in the gym. Once there, both ‘seals’ run freely trying not to become tagged.
The Confidence to Try
Lukas is a 10-year-old Raptors fan who plays basketball with his local chapter of Special Olympics, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was afraid to join a team.
Lukas is an outgoing kid who likes to make friends and has always been very active. But his early experiences in organized physical activity were not positive. One of his biggest challenges with autism is struggling to follow directions in large groups. He was often told he was doing things wrong and even that he would embarrass the team. “These negative comments deflated his confidence, and he became afraid to try new things,” explained his mom Lisa.
When he was eight, Lukas took part in the Sports of All Sorts program at the Geneva Centre for Autism. The supportive environment in the Sports of All Sorts program, funded by a GoodLife Kids grant, was a real game-changer for him. Constant encouragement and positive reinforcement gave Lukas a safe space to explore new activities without a fear of being judged. With one-on-one support he played basketball, baseball, tennis, and golf. “We’re so glad to make physical activity a regular part of Lukas’ life and we’ve found ways for him to continue practicing at home,” said Lisa. “We bought a tennis net for the backyard, and now that he’s not afraid, he loves to go to glow-in-the-dark mini-putt with his dad!”
As Lukas turned around on the basketball court to wave to his mom, he gave her two big thumbs up and her eyes welled up with tears of joy. “Watching him enjoy himself, I’m overwhelmed with happiness and pride,” she shared. “He has talents! But most of all, he has regained a belief in himself – that he CAN do it – and that is so powerful.”