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Scarf Juggling

Scarf Juggling

By Karen Sherman, Brian Collins and Kay Donnelly, Teaching PreK-8

Physical Activity for the Classroom

This activity creates self-confidence, develops concentration and focus skills and improves hand-eye coordination. One of the great things about this activity is that setting up and cleaning up can be done in as long as it takes you to say, “While we are waiting to be called down to the assembly, why doesn’t everyone pull out their scarves and practice juggling?” An inexpensive alternative to scarves are plastic grocery bags or tissues, but they aren’t nearly as pretty. Once your students have really mastered juggling, you can create different juggling clubs like The 25 Consecutive Toss Club. Juggling is not only fun, but it also stimulates the brain by connecting neurotransmitters and improves concentration skills.

Start off simply

1. Give each of your students one scarf and challenge them to throw and catch with one hand, then the other hand. They can then move on to throw with one hand, catch with other, throw, clap and catch, clap twice, clap under a leg, spin in a circle, touch the ground, etc.

2. After your students have mastered this, advance to two scarves. Start with two scarves in one hand, throw one scarf, and when it gets to the top throw the other.

3. Then, catch and throw the first, catch and throw the second and keep going. The other hand is kept behind the back.

Another version is the “X” toss. Start with a scarf in each hand and toss one across the body. When it gets to the top, throw the other. Catch the first, pause, catch the second, then repeat the process. For more advanced students, encourage them to clap in between the throwing and catching.

When juggling with three scarves, start with two scarves in the dominant hand. The first is held loosely with the fingertips, the second in the other hand and the third is deep in the dominant hand. Toss the first and when it gets to up in the air, toss the second and when it’s in the air, toss the third. After the toss is mastered, your students can begin catching them in the opposite hand that it was thrown from.

These are just the basics – a good book that has many ideas and illustrations on juggling is The Complete Juggler by Dave Finnigan (Jugglebug, 1991). Keep in mind that there is a link between good nutrition, physical activity and academic achievement – have fun with your students!

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