Image result for kendama like toys from around the world images       Image result for kendama like toys from around the world images



There’s lots of research these days that supports the idea that a healthy body supports a healthy mind and intellect, improving one’s ability to learn, understand, and retain information.  Cultures throughout history may or may not have made the connection between a healthy body and a healthy mind, but they did encourage physical training and health for their children, as well as their adults.  Often physical fitness was required for their very survival.  That’s not so much the case in the technologically advanced societies of today.  Because we have become more sedentary, spending more time at desks, in front of computers, in cars, or on our couches enjoying a multitude of diversions on countless television channels, our physical health has declined.

Our ancestors used all kinds of activities to improve their strength, hand/eye coordination, endurance, balance, and speed, because they had to have these skills in order to survive in the world in which they lived.  They also understood that creating a challenge or competition was a lot more fun and would encourage more effort that just telling a child to run around as fast as he or she could, or lift the heaviest object they could as many times as they could.  Children, and adults for that matter, would put forth far more effort if they were competing in a foot race, than if one were just running around alone.  A weight lifting competition or target practice challenge would have the same outcome.  The majority of humans enjoy a challenge.

Our ancestors also knew how to make use of the resources around them.  The “toys” they created to help their children learn survival skills can be used today to make staying in shape a lot more fun.  Toys that improve physical fitness in one way or another are often called “skill toys.”

A quick Google search will bring up a multitude of skill toys from every part of the planet.  Here’s a list from Wikipedia, just to give you an idea:

Recently, I tried to look up the website of group that used to provide a skill toy kit, on loan, to libraries to use in programming.  That program doesn’t appear to exist any more.  What was so great about the program was that the kit included authentic skill toys and instructions for using them, as well as instructions for creating several of the toys from easy to find items, primarily masking tape, string, and small paper cups.  Although the kit is no longer available, their videos are still available on You Tube.  Here they are for anyone who may be interested in giving skill toys a try.  (It’s a lot of fun!)


You Tube Videos:

Fundama Variations

Fundama Basic

Fundama Six

Fundama Twist

Fundama Party

Fundama Freestyle

Fundama History


Here’s a pdf suggestion for setting up a skill toy program.