Lesson Plan Development

The following contains the ongoing program that is being developed for Ninja Kids.  In essence, the outcomes of the lesson plan doesn’t change, the plan to get there simply adapts over time.

Screen shot 2015-09-01 at 2.30.47 PMJoin us Saturday’s 9:00 a.m. at the Athletic Centre at Trent for a demo class.

Lesson 1: Getting Warmed-up

Because the children are not used to any structure of Ninja Kids, the activities are randomized in order to assess the ability and behaviour of each child.  The lesson starts with a warm-up and light stretching.  The first activity is about safety.  Each child needs to demonstrate forward (from kneeling) and backward breakfall (from sitting).  Forward protects the face (by turning it to one side) and backward protects the head (by tucking the chin).  The children engage in Bumper Balls activity and then take a short break to drink water and eat something small.  Upon returning, the children get to jump on the crash mats to practice their safety activity.  The next activity revolves around confidence.  An obstacle course is created to include balance, application of safety lesson, memory, and speed.  The kids first cross a balance beam, finish with a Mai Ukemi, attempt a backward breakfall.  Run the ball to the other side of the mats, and zigzag through the bricks back in line.  Warm down exercise by bouncing and pretending to be a frog.  Children practice the skill of a flamingo and crocodile.  They practice balancing on one leg, and moving close to the ground like a crocodile.  Practice going from end to end as a crocodile.  Finish the session by learning Seiza as a group.  Then apply Seiza in closing with a warm down.  Present each Ninja Kids with their scroll to post at home.  Tell the children that each class they will get a sticker for their accomplishments.

Parent Exercise after first lesson:

Practice tucking chin and forward breakfall exercises on soft surface.  Ask child to kneel into Seiza position.  Remember to have kids turn their head and use their forearms with forward breakfall. Remember to have kids toes down and hands on their laps with Seiza.  Please note: these do not have to be performed perfectly, we will work on that in class.

Lesson 2: Next Step Safety

The previous lesson focused on forward breakfalls and falling backwards with chin tucked from sitting position.  We apply these lessons in warm-up and slightly increase the difficulty of warm-up.  We add some new stretches into the stretching activity.  We practice hitting the mat with an open hand on the front, on the sides and on the back.  We than apply the new activity by waddling like a penguin across the floor and doing a forward breakfall.  Then we move like a seal backwards and fall backwards keeping our chin tucked.  We then practice froward breakfalls and backwards breakfalls from standing.  We proceed to bumper balls and then a water/snack break.  Upon returning there is an obstacle course prepared to complete.  Animal activity includes a monkey where we practice hanging on things.  Instructor holds a belt out for kids to climb and we use the crash mats to swing onto.  The kids use the railing to hang onto and move from side-to-side.  Final activity includes the Tidy Game, where a green, blue, and yellow belt is placed in three corners.  There are objects of the same colour placed in the middle of the mats.  Kids have to work together to place all the objects into their respective coloured belts.  They are timed and asked to improve each time.  The best ninja’s always keep their room tidy. We close of learning Kyotsuke (meaning: attention in in your place).  Kids receive their Monkey stickers and we bow out.

Parent Exercise after second lesson:

Grab a durable rope or belt and have your kids hold onto to it for ten seconds, it should be very difficult. Perform this over a soft surface (carpet or bed), if they fall on their back or bum, their chins should be tucked.

Lesson 3: Stepping it up!

Today’s lesson was a challenging and fun one:

We started the session with a warm-up and light stretching. We integrated the previous sessions animals in warm-up. We moved to stretching and other light warm-ups. The warm-up challenged their stamina and ability to focus. The Ninja Kids showed fatigue already into the first 15 minutes of the session. We changed the focus of the session to breakfalls, we started with penguin and forward breakfall and performed the seal and did a backward breakfall. We practiced hitting the mats with our hands on our sides, and on our backs. We stood up and practiced falling to the side.

The next activity focused on confidence which was about practicing jumping over gaps into forward breakfalls on the crash mat. They practiced jumping over me on the floor onto the crash mat. Next we created platforms which they had to climb onto as I gradually made the platforms further away from their crash mats. This tested their climbing skills, depth perception, jumping skills and forward breakfalls. Some kids were using their hands and wrists to fall forwards, but eventually they started using their forearms and turning their heads to the side. It seemed instinctual that they turn their heads when they fell at the end of the exercise.

The next activity was bumper balls and then a snack.

The final exercise practiced crocodile and shrimp movements under and over objects. They performed kyotsuke and seisa. They received their stickers and left the session. Some stayed to help clean up.

Parent Exercise after lesson:

While your child is on their back on a soft surface at home, move them from side-to-side on the ground while holding their arms out on the sides, with palms down.  Make sure their chin is tucked,  say “tuck your chin” to verbally condition the response.

Lesson 4: Jump the Gap and Review

Today’s class was high octane and a lesson for Sensei as well.

We started the class making sure the mats were safe to use and that everything was in place. We warmed-up by moving in a circle and then did some light stretching.

We then practiced some animal exercises we learned from previous classes while practicing ukemi. Today’s lesson was the snake and the kids practiced moving on the ground without the use of their arms. They instinctually used their shoulders, torso, and feet to move around. We set up a mini obstacle course to apply the animal movement.

The kids played bumper balls and then took a break for snack and drink.

A larger obstacle course challenge was set up to practice balance, moving like a snake, and practicing forward breakfall on the crash mat. Then we practiced jumping over a gap.

At the end of the session, we played the Tidy-Game and then cleaned the mats together to respect the mats that Sensei Hino lets us use. The kids were presented with a lizard sticker because I didn’t have snake stickers. We put the mats away and our new guest Liam received his poster as well.

Sensei Teleki learned that if there are too many toys in sight, the kids will be more distracted throughout the session.

Parent Exercise after Lesson:

Ask you children to play the tidy game and to put their toys and clothes away like they play in Ninja Kids.

Lesson 5: Kiai and Ukemi practice

Today’s lesson was refined and very active.  We had a total of 15 activities in 60 minutes.

We increased the number of activities and removed distractions from the play area.

At the beginning of class we reiterated the three main principles of Ninja Kids: Safety, Confidence, and Respect. I talked to the parents that this age group needs open play time as we move gradually to a more structured environment. Random play is healthy for this age group.

We started the activities by walking in a circle using different movements. We then proceeded to practice all of the previous animal activities we learned in combination with Ukemi (breakfalls). The kids showed their skills in foreward, backwards and side breakfalls.

We then proceeded to get the exercise objects together and set up the activity together. We practiced jumping forward on the crash mat, and also practiced doing flips with Sensei’s help. I reiterated again and again that we only practice this at Ninja Kids.

We then proceeded to increase the height and distance of the platform to the crash mat. The kids loved it. We put the exercise objects away together. Then we played bumper balls with the exercise balls. The kids got snack and water.

Next we focused on Ukemi to the front, side, back, and using our arms and hands in the breakfall. The kids performed great!

The animal of the day was elephant, so the kids had to clasp their hands together to make a trunk and move the exercise ball through the obstacle course. At the end of the obstacle course was a pin to knock over with the ball (like they were bowling). We performed some light stretching and then practiced Ukemi again.

After that we sang a song and played the drum in an activity in a circle. Then we practiced Kiai (shouting) together.

After that we got some exercise objects, set up an obstacle course for the kids and then cleaned up together.

The kids can stand Kyotsuke and perform Seisa almost perfectly. I am so proud of these wonderful Ninja Kids.

Parent Exercise after Lesson:

Parents can help their kids practice Ukemi (breakfall) on the bed by having them hit the bed with their arm and hands.  Make sure they are using their whole arm and hand with palm facing downwards.

Lesson 6: Low to the Ground Mobility

What an amazing lesson today! We had a new student sign-up bringing our class to 7 students. We need more girls in our class though, so please bring your child to demo the class!

We are really starting to establish a routine and the kids are keeping up with the exercises. There were some children who were already exhausted by the time we started to warm-up.

After warm up we stretched and some of the kids showed their skills in how they stretch. We proceeded to get the crash mat together and practice some flips with the help of Sensei. I reminded the kids that we only practice this at Ninja Kids.

We then practiced Ukemi to the front, to the back and to the side. We practiced our previous animal exercises from one end of the mat to the other.

Kyotsuke means (Attention!) and signifies that children should stand in a row. We practiced this over and over and they were getting better and better.

We practiced the elephant again since some kids missed it from the previous class so they can get their elephant stickers at the end of class.

We put the balls away and got some toys from the storage room together. We practiced with the toys and then put them away together.

Then it was time for Bumper Balls and then the kids took a break for snack and drink.

We practiced our sit-ups, and push-ups, and leg-ups.

Next the kids got to practice climbing over Sensei’s back and falling onto the crash mat. Then we set up the obstacle course to practice the Octopus. We cleaned up the toys and then cleaned the mats together. I reiterated that good Ninja’s always tidy up.

We sang an activity song “Walking in the jungle” and then Sensei called Kyotsuke. The kids received their stickers, played the drum, and then we bowed out. The kids are becoming more and more apt to help clean up the mats at the end too.

We were all exhausted to say the least.

Parent Exercise after Lesson:

Set up a simple obstacle course in your home by placing an object close enough to the ground that your child has to crawl on their stomache or back.  You can use a firm pillow on top of two objects at each end or a yoga mat rolled up and propped up on each end.  Have fun!

Lesson 7: Balance with Confidence

What an amazing lesson today! We had a new student sign-up bringing our class to 7 students. We need more girls in our class though, so please bring your child to demo the class!

We are really starting to establish a routine and the kids are keeping up with the exercises. There were some children who were already exhausted by the time we started to warm-up.

After warm up we stretched and some of the kids showed their skills in how they stretch. We proceeded to get the crash mat together and practice some flips with the help of Sensei. I reminded the kids that we only practice this at Ninja Kids.

We then practiced Ukemi to the front, to the back and to the side. We practiced our previous animal exercises from one end of the mat to the other.

Kyotsuke means (Attention!) and signifies that children should stand in a row. We practiced this over and over and they were getting better and better.

We practiced the elephant again since some kids missed it from the previous class so they can get their elephant stickers at the end of class.

We put the balls away and got some toys from the storage room together. We practiced with the toys and then put them away together.

Then it was time for Bumper Balls and then the kids took a break for snack and drink.

We practiced our sit-ups, and push-ups, and leg-ups.

Next the kids got to practice climbing over Sensei’s back and falling onto the crash mat. Then we set up the obstacle course to practice the Octopus. We cleaned up the toys and then cleaned the mats together. I reiterated that good Ninja’s always tidy up.

We sang an activity song “Walking in the jungle” and then Sensei called Kyotsuke. The kids received their stickers, played the drum, and then we bowed out. The kids are becoming more and more apt to help clean up the mats at the end too.

We were all exhausted to say the least.

Parent Exercise after Lesson:

Find woodplank that you can elevate off the ground starting at 6 inches.  Place the balance beam over grass or a soft surface for gentle falling.

Lesson 8: Reconditioning Balance

We started with a high energy intro and the kids were brought back down to start the class with Seisa. The practiced Kyotsuke to remind them to stand to attention before seisa. We made sure the mats were safe to use and started with a balancing technique.

We performed all of the previous animals from the other classes in the warm up: seal, crocodile, monkey, etc.

We proceeded to use the crash mat, the kids used the skills they learned from the previous class of climbing over sensei and practicing tucking their chin while breakfalling on the mat.

We put the crash mat away together, there was one child that did not want the mat to be put away, he sat on it to make it difficult, but the rest of the kids persisted even with him sitting on it.

The kids love bumper balls: we pull out all the exercise balls and bump them into one another, the activity always ends in the kids chasing me and me demonstrating side, back and front breakfalls. They laughed.

The kids got a snack/drink and we proceeded onto singing an activity song. Always a hit, but I need more animals to give out *note to self*

We practiced front flips onto the crash mat, some of the kids able to perform it safely on their own. I was amazed.

Our animal of the day was the seal and seal’s are great at balancing. So we got an object to balance on our heads, a deflated ball. We practiced balancing on one leg and then on a balance beam on the floor. Then we raised the height of the practice to add confidence to the activity.

We completed the lesson by cleaning the mats together and performing seisa. The kids received their stickers and helped clean up the mats. One time, I had three kids beside me helping to roll up the mats.

A structure is forming, but the kids love and adapt quickly to the randomness of the activities.

Parent Exercise after Lesson:

Find better ways to practice balance at home, you can also set up a piece of material on the ground for them to walk and balance on

Lesson 9: Hopping like a Kangarooo

The Ninja Kids are listening better every lesson and today, the youngest started Kyotsuke (standing to attention) before all the others.

We started the lesson with a longer warm-up with stretching and Ukemi. While we were warming up, I asked them which animals we have practiced in all of the previous sessions. They told me a few so we practiced all the animals they have received stickers for.

After that we practiced a team exercise. All the Ninja Kids pulled the heavy crash mat across the floor together. This is a big task for the kids considering the weight of the crash mat. We practiced climbing over Sensei and tucking our chins when falling on the crash mat. The kids loved it and tried their forward breakfall off of Sensei’s back. Then we brought out platforms to practice front breakfall and front flips. We reiterated that we only practice this at Ninja Kids.

We put the mats and platforms away and played bumper balls. They practiced pushing Sensei off of his ball and I demonstrated breakfalls from every direction. They laughed and laughed.

We took a drink/snack break and then proceeded to sing an activity song.

Our animal of the day was a Kangaroo so we practiced jumping over things with two feet while carrying a baby kangaroo. The kids then pulled sensei across the mats using Judo belts and then Sensei pulled them across the mats.

Finally we cleaned up and practiced Kyotsuke. One Ninja Kids said that he wanted to practice his Kiai (shouting from hara), and they did at a deafening level smile emoticon We bowed to each other and Kano Sensei and the kids were given their stickers. The kids and parents helped clean up the mats. Great class!

Parent Exercise after Lesson: 

Set up an object so that your child can demonstrate their ability to jump over the object, add objects to widen the jump and make it more difficult

Lesson 10: Moving Like a Tiger and Ukemi

This lesson was a great opportunity to review all our previous animals and perfect our ukemi (breakfall) practice.  We had a solid warm-up, the kids listened carefully, and we went to stretching and ukemi without hesitation or distraction.

We proceeded to “bumper balls” where the  kids love to see Sensei fall off the ball from all sides.  Sensei shows the kids how to breakfall properly.

This lesson we set up an obstacle course and performed it forwards, backwards, and using the animal of the day (the tiger), we performed the obstacle course on all fours.  The class was an excellent review class to practice the previous class lessons and to demonstrate our respect for the mats and Kano Sensei.

We cleaned the mats, bowed to each other, and the kids got their tiger stickers.

Parent Exercise after Lesson: 

Ask your child to move around the house on all fours, except on stairs.  This will improve their close-to-the-ground mobility.

Lesson 11: Building Strength as a Hippo

Another solid lesson where we started the class reviewing the previous animals and exercises.  This class the Ninja Kids learned how to say good morning in Japanese “Ohayo Gozaimas”.  We completed our usual warm-up, stretching and ukemi with great success.  The kids crawled over sensei, practiced their zempo-kaiten on the crash mat, and then the tatami.  The kids are improving remarkably.  Even the parents can notice the improvements in their confidence and physical abilities.

Our confidence activity was falling backwards on the crash mat.  This took some time to develop because the kids are used to doing activities that they see in front of them.  Sensei was there to support them all the way.  After the crash mat, we practiced backwards breakfall from standing.

After bumper balls and singing an activity song, we practiced a strength building exercise with our animal of the day, the hippopotamus.  To simulate the strength of a hippo, we set up the obstacle course and carried 3-10 kg exercise balls around the obstacle course.  This tested their balance, ability to move through the course and perform zempo-kaiten with a heavy object.  The kids were exhausted and we ended the class by cleaning the mats together and bowing-out.

Lesson 12: Moving swiftly like a Fox (Final Class of Session)

This class was as awesome as any other class we have had.  The kids are listening very well and I am really proud of all of their accomplishments.   This class the Ninja Kids learned how to say good morning in Japanese “Ohayo Gozaimas”.  We completed our usual warm-up, stretching and ukemi with great success.  The kids crawled over sensei, practiced their zempo-kaiten on the crash mat, and then the tatami.  The kids are improving remarkably.  Even the parents can notice the improvements in their confidence and physical abilities.

The Ninja Kids played bumper balls where they practiced their breakfalls and watched Sensei breakfall as well.  This is our favourite time because of all the laughter that erupts from the kids.

The kids showcased their teamwork skills by pulling both crash mats into the centre of the tatami together. They are very strong together, this is an important thing for them to realize.  We created a mini obstacle course and made a wobbly bridge out of foam rollers.  They loved it!  Over and over again, they walked over the rollers and across the tricky balance beam.  It was amazing to see how they wanted to perfect their own skills in this regard.

The Ninja Kids practiced their sumo skills by pushing Sensei off of the crash mat.  It was a blast and they enjoyed it very much.

Today was the last session of the course, so we practiced an important skills of moving swiftly like the Fox.  Kids frequently have other kids and objects flying towards them at school or on the playground.  Their ability to move out of harm’s way is most important.  We first practiced with an exercise ball.  I would roll the ball towards them and they would have to move out of the way quickly.  Next we practice with Sensei walking towards them to simulate another child running towards them quickly.  They had to move out of the way before I run into them.  It was a great success.

We cleaned the mats together and thoroughly for our last class, and Sensei reminded them this was a “respect” activity for Sensei Hino because he lets us use his wonderful mats.  They learned how to say arigato gozaimas (thank you) in Japanese.  We bowed out properly to each other and Kano Sensei. They all received their fox sticker for their posters.

I am so proud of the Ninja Kids, their parents, and so thankful of the Athletics Centre, staff, and sensei Hino for their support in running the first program.

Last Class of Fall 2015

Last Class of Fall 2015