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Name of Activity:

Rainbow Fish to the Rescue

Purpose of Activity:

To foster space awareness and cooperation skills.


Children need to have prior experience in traveling within boundaries, moving in general space far away from the other children. They must also be able to return to their "base" upon signal without colliding with the other children. Listening skills. Collaborating with others - how to "save" a member of the same family in a safe and respectful way.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Polyspots in 4 colors - blue, green, red and yellow. One per child according to the house family the children belong to. (In my case I use spots I have permanently painted on my playground floor. Even small foam mats or carpet squares can be used for this activity). These are the "homes " of the fish. Tire (or hoop): this is the "bucket" of the Fisherperson and is placed on the edge of the boundary line.

Description of Idea

In this activity, the teacher is a fisherperson. The children are "little rainbow fish" and they are divided into "families" (red fish, blue fish, green fish and yellow fish). Children find a "home" each (spot of same house color within the boundary) within the "ocean" boundaries. The delimiting boundary becomes the "land". Upon signal , the children will be invited to swim about in the general space by the teacher – “Are you ready to swim - to waggle your tails and fins ?" …"GO". And the children move about in general space. Children are encouraged to swim far away from each other, “otherwise you will bump your fins”… different directions and ways

After a minute or so, teacher calls out “STORM", and the children are to swim back to their home so that they take shelter from the storm. The Teacher (fisher-person) too runs for shelter to stand by the bucket whilst counting 5,4,3,2,1 . By "1", all the children have to be on their home otherwise the storm will throw them out of the ocean onto land (fish cannot live on land – this is done to avoid having children "hovering" around the teacher as they would like to be caught).

When the Storm is over, and the teacher invites the children to swim again. “Are you ready to swim, waggle your tails and fins ? …GO. This time however , when the teacher calls out “STORM” he/she will also attempt to catch/tag a “fish” when the storm comes. If successful the teacher takes the “fish” over to the bucket, whilst counting 5,4,3,2 and 1 by which all children have to home. The teacher asks the "tagged little fish what colour it is “ What color are you?” . The child voices the family color and the teacher asks "So which family can save you? " (just to emphasize that saving happening in a collaborative manner according to the house). The teacher then plays out a role whereby he/she says "But little "COLOR" fish, you are too small a fish ! If I want to make my fish-pie tonight, I need more fish. So I will leave you in my bucket and go and try to catch more fish ".

So since the fisherperson wants to make a fish-pie, one little fish is not enough, the teacher will need to attempt another catch. The fisherperson thus, leaves the fish in the bucket and goes to fish again. Thus teacher invites the children to swim again. “Are you ready to swim, waggle your tails and fins ? …GO and this time, in the meantime the children of the same house swim up to the "fish in the bucket” to save their family member whilst the fisher-person is looking for the right place to fish. The teacher pretends that he/she does not see this happening, as he/she is being distracted by the other fish which are still swimming about in the ocean.

When teacher calls "STORM" , all fish swim home and teacher returns to (who at this point catches no body) the bucket and finds it empty. Again the teacher acts out a role " HEY! But I thought I had a fish in my bucket ? Where is my fish ? How can I make my fish-pie without any fish ?! Who saved my fish ?" (to check that same house family). Teacher scans class and spots the "escaped" fish...and asks "But who saved you ? Hey you have a very smart family !" etc. Oh Well ! It looks like I am going to have to fish again ! "

And game is repeated.

The game thus evolves with the teacher alternating (fishing + tagging) with (fishing and no tagging).

Assessment Ideas:

Observe children for use of spaces - are they moving about far away from the other children and using all the available space.

Observe children's cooperation in assisting their team-mates - are they eagerly helping each other. Do they assist in a safe way ?

Teaching Suggestions:

The goal for the teacher is to ensure that he/she targets tagging a "fish" from each house color to ensure that all families have the opportunity to be caught & saved.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities

I have done this activity with a child who has difficulty moving about unassisted. I used a scooter for him to sit on and pull with his feet.

Submitted by Marina Bonello who teaches at San Andrea Early School in Attard, VA. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 5/16/2005.
Viewed 179888 times since 4/22/2002.

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Rainbow Fish to the Rescue

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rainbow fish to the rescue

this was a greart one for the group that i work with i have young 3 1/2-10 year olds inb my class currently they all participate we a have a large field next to our school i gasve them guidlines to stay inside of.. i will gradually make the space bigger... i gave them stickers for what color they started out on and i also stuck that color of dot on the color spot. it worked very well i am doing the one called airports with this group tommorow. we will see how they like that one i have one cone in 4 different colors so they will know which airport to land in.

Dave Williams Kaiser/ Willow Run, Michigan

My Pre-schoolers just LOVE this activity. I enjoy it a great deal myself as I don't have to choose who's "it". They learn to differentiate colors, taking turns, teamwork with their family color when rescuing a member from the "bucket" plus spacial awareness and personal space! This one is a real winner!

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