Martial Arts Games for Children
Children can get exercise and have fun with games that are based on martial arts moves. Regardless of whether your child has any martial arts training, she can participate in some fun and easy games that are inspired by karate, tae kwon do, judo and other techniques. Martial arts games can be used in classrooms or planned as activities for a martial arts themed birthday party.
A ninja trail is an obstacle course that relies on martial arts techniques. Build a ninja trail by setting up various obstacles around a large, empty room or on a patio. Use a balance beam -- it can be as simple as a taped line on the floor -- so children have to practice slow and controlled walking. Set up a large folding table and instruct children to crouch down and quietly crawl or sneak under the table. Have them step through a suspended hula hoop and jump over a few consecutive low obstacles. Remind children that ninjas move swiftly but quietly. Time the children to see how quickly they can complete the obstacle course without making any noise.
Piñatas are a common sight at children's parties. To add a martial arts twist to a party game, let the children use karate skills, using their hands and feet to punch, chop and kick the piñata until it breaks open. Test a store-bought piñata first to make sure you use one that is not too hard to be broken easily without causing injury.
A sheet of craft foam, painted brown, can be cut into "wood boards" for a dazzling display of karate chopping. Hold the foam and let children come up one at a time and karate chop the foam boards in half.
Pin the Black Belt on the Samurai
Replace pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey with a martial arts-inspired alternative. Purchase a poster of a martial artist in uniform and hang it on the wall within kids' reach. Cut enough black belts from black construction paper so there is one for each child. Trace the belt on the poster to use as a template for belts that will fit the picture. Put tape or glue on the back of each belt. Blindfolded children can take turns trying to put a black belt on the martial arts master.
Toss and Kick
Kids can release some energy with a game of toss and kick. Hand each child a foam pool noodle and ask the kids to line up. Ask the first child in line to walk up and hand you his pool noodle. The child should then stand on a designated spot a few feet away, which you can mark on the ground with painter's tape. Throw the noodle to the child, who should kick it, catch it in the air, then run back to the end of the line.
Leigh Good has been writing for magazines and newspapers for more than 10 years. Her work has been published in numerous print and online publications. Good has a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Georgia State University.