Note: The activities below are highly engaging, but can only be done when participants can congregate in small groups. You may just opt to show the suggested videos and challenge your students to practise juggling with their own family until it is safe to interact directly with classmates.
Did you know that the earliest record of juggling objects dates back to at least 2000 BCE?
World Juggling Day falls on the Saturday closest to June 17 to commemorate the anniversary of the foundation of the International Jugglers Association (IJA) in 1975. The International Jugglers’ Association was founded on June 17, 1947. First celebrated around the mid 1980’s, this special day was created to celebrate the art, history, and science involved in juggling. In 1995 the name was changed to World Juggling Day to recognize the global reach of the International Jugglers Association.
Note: Some of the activities for this special day may not currently be feasible due to the circumstances surround COVID-19. However, students may still find the topic interesting and families may enjoy viewing the links provided and trying out a modified form of the exercises.
Teacher Note: At this age, children do not usually possess the hand-eye coordination skills required for ball juggling. In order to promote hand-eye coordination and teach basic juggling at the same time, try using lightweight scarves. Gauzy, see-through scarves are perfect but other scarves can work too. If your students are attending in person, you may wish to check with your school board resources as they may have a kit for this purpose. If scarves aren’t available, you can use beanbags. This activity is best done in the gym or outside (if it is not too windy).
If students are learning virtually, explain that juggling is something best done outside, and with unbreakable objects like tennis balls or even oranges!
Watch this how-to video before attempting this activity.
Gather students and ask:
Explain that juggling is not easy so it is important to start out by just tossing and catching. Review the following basic steps:
For more ideas, check out this link.
For an additional fun scarf activity, watch this video and try it out.
Invite students to add some music and perform a scarf dance of their own, incorporating some easy juggling skills. Encourage them to videotape their experience. Check in with the jugglers at a later date and share!
Teacher Note: This is best done in the gym or outside. You will need beanbags or medium-sized balls that are easy to catch and throw.
Explain that juggling takes coordination, patience and skill.
Have students participate in a “group” juggle. Form groups of 6-8 and introduce the activity:
Start slowly, and then increase speed. Once the students have a comfortable rhythm of catching and receiving, introduce another ball. Add a third.
For maximum challenge, try adding a ball that travels backwards!
Encourage students to try teaching this activity to family and friends. Challenge them to add even more objects and go faster!
Teacher Note: This activity is best done in the gym or outdoors. Juggling balls are best but beanbags work too.
You may wish to have three balls or beanbags at the front of the classroom for a volunteer to try as you view the video below.
Explain that they are going to learn how to juggle 3 balls in 20 minutes.
Invite a volunteer to demonstrate each step as you watch a how-to-juggle video, stopping at various points to let the volunteer grasp the concept. The first part of the video requires no equipment so everyone can take part. Replay the video if necessary, asking for a different volunteer.
Watch the video here.
Once the video has been seen a couple of times head to the gym or outside and PRACTISE!
The basic steps in the video were:
Encourage students to keep practising and adding more moves. Challenge them to share their talent in a school assembly. Add some music and create a routine!