This Is a Game Worth Playing
Sandy “Spin” Slade sent a product for review to the Highway and it comes as no surprise to us that the offering, Basketball Skillastics® like Sandy herself is well organized, and entertaining. Sandy, as many of you know is world renowned for her expertise in handling a basketball and as a motivational speaker, appearing before audiences in excess of 200 times per year during her career. She has performed and spoken at levels ranging from elementary school all the way to N.B.A. venues and is well respected throughout the basketball community. After retiring as a performer in 2008, Sandy has taken on a new focus, that being physical fitness for children. Citing the fact that in today’s society 16% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight, Sandy has begun creating games geared towards ending this cycle.
Basketball Skillastics® is aimed at children in grades 1-8 and provides fun and fitness in a board game for physical education classes, parks and recreation centers, child care programs, etc. Children participate in 26 physical activities that are “challenging, yet non- competitive”. This non-competitive angle takes on great importance when you consider that many children, because of a lack of coordination skills, shy away from getting involved in physically demanding activities in an attempt to avoid embarrassment in front of their peers. Sandy’s game takes this element out of the equation giving even less coordinated kids an opportunity to participate with fellow students in a sports oriented endeavor. Let’s take a look at how the game is played.
Physical Fitness Can Be Fun
Our game arrived to us in a neatly contained pouch that included everything one needs to get started. This nylon carrying case also serves as a great storage bag for the entire game when finished playing meaning that misplaced pieces of the game will be kept to a minimum as opposed to tossing the contents into a box or volleyball bag. The game set included 1- 5×7 synthetic leather mat (latex free), 6 assorted and colored 3- inch foam dice, 6 assorted and colored 2.5 inch miniature beanbags, 6 miniature game boards for each team involved which are exact replicas of the 5×7 version, and detailed instructions on how to set up and play the game. Fitness instructors, insuring the safety of the children, reportedly approve all drills and 1-100 children can play at any given time. The only equipment needed to get started are enough balls for each child who participates and this can include either basketballs or playground balls such as rubber balls, volleyballs, etc.
Putting The Game To Into A Real Classroom Test
Though Sandy Slade has a great reputation, like any product reviewer worth his salt, I wanted to put this product to the test. Readers of the Highway certainly deserve quality reviews and Sandy deserves a quality critique of her product consequently I had to go no further than down the hallway of my own home to my wife who is a second grade teacher. My agreement with my wife was this. On her first rain day in which she could not get her kids out of the classroom and onto the playground, I wanted her to try this product and give me some quality feedback. My wife took the product to her school and as agreed upon waited for inclement weather. On her classes first day of rain and unable to get outside to the playground, my wife brought out Basketball Skillastics® and put it to the test with her 2nd grade class. She had her children move their desk back to the walls thereby opening up the center of her room for placement of the 5×7 mat. She divided her 24 kids into 6 groups and assigned each a colored die and tennis ball. The game then began and my wife stated she found out something almost instantly about her 2nd grade class. She observed almost immediately that many of her kids were woefully out of shape! Imagine 2nd graders being out of shape. She stated the kids appeared to have a great time with this game and then she gave me a tidbit testifying to the strength of this offering. She stated that once the game ended, and classroom instruction began again, she found many in her class to be more attentive and alert and not as “wiggly” in their chairs. Being a runner herself, she could only surmise that the heightened cardio work for each of her kids had helped to relax them and take them to an increased state of awareness. When I questioned her as to why this did not always seem to happen when outdoor recess ended she could only guess that it was because so many kids go outside during the break but never get involved in any kind of physical exertion, instead simply spending time idly talking on the playground or riding the merry-go-round. As a testament to the program, my wife claims that though the next recess day was sunny and clear, her kids asked repeatedly if they could play the “inside” game again.
It Teaches, It Works
Not to end there, I decided on one more test of Basketball Skillastics® and I took the product to a local after school program and dropped it off. Sandy claims that this game is perfect for after school programs, right? Boy was she correct. In speaking with the 2 program directors, here is what I found. Having 40 after school participants can be a trying time for even the most skilled of teachers. Kids are full of energy and many are anxious to get home according to the directors. As such, many of these same children can find themselves looking for “things to get into”, even in an enclosed environment such as a gymnasium. Older kids sometimes pick on younger students and keeping up with children who “need to go to the restroom” born out of sheer boredom can become a teachers nightmare. But after letting the directors use the product for just 2 days, they became sold on its benefits. As the directors told me, because they were able to place the kids in teams, oversight of the students became a non-issue as all wanted to participate and the activity was not only fun but also beneficial from a safety standpoint. Some children I am told, while in the midst of a game, made their parents wait until the game was completed before leaving for home. That’s a pretty solid testamonial if you ask me.
Folks, Sandy Slade has made a career out of bringing smiles to the faces of people. Her hands on skills with a basketball are legendary and widely respected. Now she has taken her talents to a new and different level with the invention of Basketball Skillastics®. Not only will this product keep kids entertained, but it will enhance physical fitness with flexibility drills, cardio improvements and an increased self-image. I put this game to the real test with the everyday “foot soldier”, also known by the term “teacher”. If a teacher says a product is good, you can bet that it is and I can assure you that the teachers I spoke with loved this offering. I rate this product 5 + and would recommend it highly.
Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 large group physical activity resource. Skillastics® makes it easy to organize, motivate, and engage students to move, learn, and love it. Skillastics® is an innovative technique of play designed around an oversize mat where up to 100 children can play at one time. There are 13 different Skillastics® Activity Kit themes, ranging from general fitness, sport skill development, character enhancement, and academic integration, including STEM and nutrition. The newest layer of Skillastics® resources includes 30-Day Virtual Physical Activity programs, including Fitness, Martial Arts, and Yoga.
Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.