End of Season
Tournaments, which declare “winners”, are not recommended for children under 10 years old. Instead the Timbits Softball Program suggests hosting an end of season “Fun Day” or “Jamboree”.
Fun Day Ideas
Softball Canada encourages every Timbits Softball group to hold a “Fun Day” for their players at some point during their sessions (either in the middle or at the end). “Fun Day” is a perfect opportunity to get families together and interacting with one another on the field. It also gives the children a special opportunity to display any new skills they have learned during their sessions.
Your Timbits Softball “Fun Day” could be set-up many ways, depending on how many children, volunteers and parents you have participating. For larger groups, it may be beneficial to set up a few stations, each with one activity. For smaller groups, you may want to have a couple different activities for the whole group to participate in together, instead of splitting them up into groups and having them rotate through stations. Be creative and incorporate different items to make it memorable for the participants. You can always solicit older athletes with your association to volunteer to run stations, general event organization, food, etc.
Games and Activities
- Sack Races - For this game, you’ll need to dig up some old pillowcases or burlap sacks. Kids really love this game. Each kid climbs into the sack and holding the edges of the sack up around his or her hips or waist, must hop from the start line to the goal line and back again. Many kids will fall over, and you’ll laugh a lot during this crazy game. If adults grab a sack and start hopping with them, the kids will squeal with laughter—the adults will look even sillier than the kids!
- Water-balloon catch – have the children catch water balloons and every time they catch it, they have to take a step back. Remember to encourage “soft hands” when they are catching the water balloons.
- Lawn Bowling – Find household items that will tumble over easily, such as empty cereal boxes, empty soda cans and small stuffed toys and align them in a row like bowling pins. Then, using a smaller ball for older kids and a bigger ball for the younger ones, have the children roll the ball with the goal of knocking over the items. They score a point for each object they knock down. To make this game more softball related, set up the items in the configuration of a softball diamond.
- Partner crab crawl – kids are paired up and positioned back to back, interlocking arms. They have to get into a crouch/crawl position (one will move forward while the other moves backwards) – to mix it up, have the kid’s race either with or against their parents!
- Slip-n-slide – Get a plastic tarmac and stretch it out and spray with bubbles or soap (preferably a kind that won’t irritate the eyes) and water.
- Host a mini-Olympics – Get the kids competing in running and wheelbarrow races, obstacle courses, water balloon tosses and jumping competitions. Finish off the fun with a mini-Olympic awards ceremony to honour all the athletes. Buy medals at the local dollar store, make your own with construction paper, coloured pencils and string, or make edible medals out of large cookies and ribbon!
- Mini-softball game – Have mix of parents and kids playing each other in a for-fun softball game. Kids too young to know where each position stands? You could use bright coloured spray paint on the dirt to mark each spot!
- Base Relay – Divide the kids into two teams. Have each team line up at either home plate or second base. Give the first child in each line a ball. At “Go”, the children with the ball run around the bases until they get back to their team. They then pass the ball to the next child, and they in turn run around the bases. The first team to complete the relay wins! This game is great to get the kids yelling and cheering for their team. Also, make sure they touch every base, as it is good practice for when they start competing.
- Simon says – play a game of “Simon says” with tasks related to softball mixed in. Try using things like “Simon says… get into the ready position” or “Simon says… point to first base”. This is a fun way to help the kids learn about the game and reinforce important, basic skills!
- Tug of War – Split the children and adults evenly on either side of the rope. It works best with the smaller or weaker players towards the middle and the stronger players at the ends. Find a spot on the ground to mark as the middle. The objective is for one team to pull the other over the mark on the ground. To start, someone yells “go” and everyone starts pulling as hard as they can until one team crumbles and they’re all pulled across the line.
- Some activities could also be the children’s favorite drills from the other sessions! Incorporating Kids vs. Adults is something the kids always seem to enjoy.
In addition to Fun Day activities, you may want to include Achievement Tests throughout the day that you can use to track the players’ progress throughout the season. These are more applicable for the U7 & U9 age groups. Achievement Tests that could be incorporated into your Fun Day could include:
- Timed run from home to first
- Throwing accuracy
- Throwing velocity
- Throwing distance
- Hitting distance
**It is important to remember that individual rewards and prizes are not encouraged, and that achievement tests should be used to track improvement, as opposed to measure which players are strongest. For best use of these achievement tests, they could also be done midway through the season as well as at the end so that you can compare each child’s results with their previous results.
- BBQ! Have some parents organize some sort of food and refreshments for the “Fun Day”
- Invite other community groups out to promote their programs and services
- Host all the local teams together and start with the national anthem and then introduce the teams individually
- Provide prizes for all players at the end of the “Fun Day” session – prizes could include stickers, pins, certificates, hats, etc.