Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cats and Rats

Nothing gets young children running and screaming like a good game of Cats and Rats.  It's simple and effective.  I first saw this done in USTA Jr. Team Tennis - SO to Tedi Doncheva's JTT program at Rock Hill Tennis Center.

Objective: cats chase rats, but sometimes the rats chase back. This is a game of tag but who is 'it' changes depending on who is chasing who. Or whom???

  • The players will need plenty of room to run, so if you can run across several courts, great. If not, make your activity space between the net and the baseline.
  • Divide the group into two teams. This works just as well for two students as it does for twenty. 
  • Designate one group as Cats; the other is Rats. 
  • Cats/Rats may only run toward/away from each other in a straight line.
  • Start with Cats facing Rats 6-10 feet apart. Whomever you call out, that group is doing the chasing. So to start things off, you can shout Cats! and the Cats chase the Rats. Then alternate calling out Cats!, then Rats!, so that they are constantly having to stop and reverse direction to either chase or avoid being chased. 

The kids love this game. The only tweak I would offer is to have two animals that don't rhyme - sometimes it is hard for the kids to make out what you are yelling if the words sound too similar. But most of the time they don't seem to mind and it gets their hearts and legs pumping.