Saturday, October 29, 2011

Adaptive Games Debut Before Snowstorm

I took a break from preparing for a shockingly early snowstorm today to observe our first Adaptive Games program at Mt. Tom State Reservation in Holyoke. Lead by Heidi Marie-Peterson and a small group of volunteers, about 40 students from Chicopee High School participated in three rounds of outdoor games. Students with and without intellectual disabilities were paired up as Best Buddies. The Adaptive Games program offered new Best Buddies an opportunity to get to know each other and recreate together outside of school. Cold temperatures, wet ground, and the threat of an early snowstorm did not stop anyone from having a good time on the playing field near the top of the mountain!

Familiar games like kickball and tug-of-war were enjoyed, as well as some I'd never seen before, like the pipeline game. In this group challenge, students each hold a straight piece of channel pipe and pass a ball from pipe to pipe to a destination bucket. A few techniques get discovered and mastered in the process, such as the best way to match the pipe ends together to keep the ball in motion. The bucket is of course farther away then the ten or so students playing can reach, so they have to run down the line and re-position themselves in time to receive the ball and keep it moving. Fun to play and watch too!

Square foam blocks were used for group juggling and parachute play. Those who needed a break from the group experience visited nearby swings and teeter totters in Best Buddy pairs. When a whole gang got tired of a game or too cold, they headed for a stone cottage close by where members of the Mt. Tom Advocacy Group had a wood stove going and nature exhibits open for public viewing - a pure coincidence that kept everyone engaged in the park experience when the elements were too much. All in all, it was an invigorating way to embrace the changing season. By the time the games wrapped up at 2pm, the snow was starting to fly!

Thanks to Ann Demeo and Chicopee High School students for helping us test our new program, and to Cristina, Corey, Elizabeth, Emily, Samantha, Brittany and John for volunteering your time and good spirits to help make it a success!

If you are part of a disability group in Boston, Worcester or Holyoke and would like to work with Heidi to set up a customized Adaptive Games experience in a state park, contact her at 413-577-3840 or


Emily P said...

This def was a great program, and I enjoyed myself even with the cold weather! Good Job Heidi for putting together a great program! :)

Anonymous said...

According to some studies playing games is good for health. If you want to read more or research a bit you can read it more at "Playing Outdoor Games May Reduce Kid's Risk for Myopia, Study Reveals"

Heidi said...

Thanks Emily!!!