How to Ice Skate Tots Class – The Zoo Game (Kayla Johnson)
Tots expert Kayla Johnson explains a fun game for a tots class that she calls the Zoo Game.  Kayla notes that effectively teaching a tots class requires the ability to let go and have fun with the skaters in the class.  Kayla also notes, “It’s also really important to get down at the kids level and just totally feel like a kid again.”  Kayla says that the Zoo Game can take up an entire 30 minute class as it really engages the tots.  The game keeps them moving and involved and skaters nearly always request it again.  She has had a lot of success with this game and highly recommends it.
Notice the full story line that Kayla creates for the skaters.  By building a story and creating actions that correspond to the story, the tots focus on the story rather than on skating or on how cold the rink is or how much time is left in class.  Notice how Kayla creates movement from one place to another on the ice (a major key to running a good tots class) and how she weaves skills into the “story” without focusing on the skills themselves.  Thus the skaters get practice working on important skill development while simply engaging in a story.  Some activities (like roaring like lions) have nothing to do with skating, but keeping it fun is important to keeping the class’ attention.  Notice how Kayla makes sure the “story” has an ending to help provide closure to the game (and to class).
During this kind of game, Kayla is less interested in skating technique than on participation in the game.  Keeping it fun is far more important than doing the skills correctly at this level.


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