River and the Bank Activity


The River and the Bank - Social Emotional Learning Activity

: Listening to instructions and moving from river to bank and back

Activity output: mind-body coordination

Key SEL skill: Self-Management

  • Self Awareness- recognizing strengthens, self confidence & efficacy
  • Self Management - Impulse control, self discipline, self motivation, goal setting, organizational skills, Mindfulness

Time required: 15 minutes

Preparation: Find a place where there is a straight line or two parallel lines, or where you could draw a straight line of about 20 feet

Space: A space such as an empty classroom or an area where children can move easily.

How to do:

1.  Tell the students that they must follow your instructions and that they must listen to you carefully.

2.  Make the children stand along the line or stand along two parallel lines

3.  Tell them that they are on the riverbank and that when you say ‘river’ they must jump to the river (move across the line).  Then when you say ‘land’ they need to move back to the bank. 

4.  Start the activity by saying river and keep on saying land and river so that children could jump across the line forward and backward. Make it random (e.g., river, river, land, river, land, river, land, land, land, river …, etc.) and increase the speed with which you say so.

5.  Children may miss the instruction and do the opposite – e.g. stay on the river when you say ‘land’.

6.   Do the activity for a few times so that kids could enjoy doing it.

        In the end, ask the children "Why was it that some could not follow instructions properly?”. Pass the message: “Listen to instructions, and correctly act accordingly. In some instances, we need to be quick with our decisions and behaviors. This will help you to do your future task appropriately.” When you listen more, you see how others contribute. You’ll see how people contribute energy, ideas, actions or results. Few things go as far in building good will as recognizing others and you’ll end up learning a thing or two that you didn’t know.

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