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Name of Activity:

Golly Gump

Purpose of Activity:

Children will replicate animal movements and maintain safe space in a physically challenging movement activity.


Large safe space for movement

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:


Description of Idea

There is a children's book about Golly Gump and 20 years ago I would read it to my children, The book is called Golly Gump Swallowed a Fly, written by Joanna Cole. It is a Random House Children's book. For years I have adapted that story to start the year when I am teaching children to move safely through space amongst and for learning to imagine. The story goes something like this. "Golly is the best yawner in the whole country. He wins a blue ribbon at the fair. ( I yawn really big). When he yawns he can swallow, whole houses, buildings as big as our school."( I yawn again) Unfortunately Golly doesn't cover his mouth when he yawns and so
"I don't know how I don't know why, but Golly swallowed down a little black fly." Now the fly is buzzing round and round, can you buzz like a fly around the gym and then come back to me .

"Golly is in real trouble, that fly is driving him crazy, so he thinks to himself, what do I know that catches flies? Do you know anything that catches flies?" When you where close " Golly opened wide, he opened wider and he swallowed down a long legged, prickley spider." "Can you act like a long legged spider and move around the gym like a spider would?" (demonstrate and hand and foot walk)

"Now golly had a real mess going on, the spider was tickling, tickling and the fly was buzzing round and round. What do we know that catches spiders? The strangest thing I ever heard, but Golly swallowed down a red winged bird. Can you flap your wings and fly around the gym and come back to me?"

"Now golly had a real mess, the bird was flapping, the spider was tickling and the fly was buzzing round and round. What was golly going to do? He was feeling so terrible. Can you imagine that, golly swallowed down a big old yellow cat. Can you act like a cat and move around the gym and come back to me?" {knees and hands crawling}

"Now golly had a real mess and he thought and thought real hard and he said "what do I know that catches cats, yes you are right, that Golly, he acted like a real big hog and swallowed down the neighbors dog. Can you run around the gym like you think a dog might run and come back to me. (any locomoter is ok. here)

Now that Golly was full, his stomach was as big as the good-year blimp, he had a dog which was barking (ruff ruff) a cat that was meowing (meow meow) a bird that was flapping (arms flapping) a spider that was tickling (tickle a few tummies) and a fly that was buzzing round and round (buzz a few ears). Now what do you think Golly might do? ( no, not that, oh I don't think so, well) "I'm going to tell you a secret ok, lean in so as everyone can't hear. Golly he took a huge, 1st prize kinda breath, as big as a cloud and a loud as a plane and he yelled (whisper this part and then yell)" If you don't all get out of here, I'm going to swallow a grizzly bear (and then growl and chase children. The screams are always a hit and they love the story.

My thanks to the author of the book, Joanna Cole, for years of an enjoyable start to the physical education year, and for the magical story. I have changed a bit of it to make it go faster and keep it moving. The words are not exact. I reccommend getting a copy of the book for your bookshelf. It's a great imagination lesson.

Assessment Ideas:

Observe children to determine if they understand the different movements of the animals.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities

Free movement expression is always encouraged and different abilities lead to different interpretations.

Submitted by Sue Wyman who teaches at Stockbridge Plain in Stockbridge, MA. Additional authors for this idea were Joanna Cole/Golly Gump Swallowed a Fly. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 5/14/2005.
Viewed 104366 times since 9/27/2004.

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Golly Gump

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Previous Comments:

Debbie fader

Would love to buy one of the books for my grandchildren I read it to my children and didn't keep it and thinking I am crazy

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