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Teaching inspiration needed

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
How do you teach children how to ski while keeping it fun and enjoyable?

Any ideas on games that you can play while teaching them to ski, for different ages and levels?
post #2 of 16
There's no doubt its tough.

Check out the PSIA-RM and PSIA-E online materials. Especially the kids qualification stuff.

Our new NZSIA manual also has a great section on kids.
post #3 of 16

Treasure bag game

Works really well for multi-week groups...

I used to carry a small fanny pack with me, with two comparments.

Compartment one housed a series of drill/activity cards. These can be tailored to specific age groups.

Compartment two, the bigger one, housed the treasure - cool pencils, stickers, gum, mini-paks of play-doh, fruit roll-ups, kinder surprise, balloons, parent-approved candies, etc. Small, inexpensive items from the shelves of your local dollar store.

Each person in the group would have a chance to reach into the bag and pull out an activity or drill card. After I explained/demo'd the drill or activity, the person who chose it has the chance to lead the group through it.

Once they have successfully (which is always, simply trying equals success) led the group through an activity, they get to reach into the bag again - this time on the treasure side, and feel around and pull out their surprise reward. Make sure everyone in the group gets the chance to lead!!

It'll cost you a few bucks, but it's pretty darn fun, keeps everyone involved and motivated.

Don't know if it'll help you in your situation, but it worked for me when I worked with a group of "Nancy Greeners" for a couple of seasons a few years back. As time went on, the tasks got more and more challenging, and I had to implement "bonus" tasks that were so tricky, everyone who pulled these specially marked cards got a bonus treasure grab.
post #4 of 16
IMHO -- the real bottom line is you. If you can be a bit silly and have fun while skiing with the kids, they'll love you.

I find that the "broken record" technique works really well to drill information into their heads. I ask a lot of questions. Most kids can conceptualize something, but it's hard for them to explain it. One fun thing to do is to ask the kids how to do something and demo *exactly* what they tell you -- which can lead to you falling down! hahaha Then you ask the kids if that was right. They don't realize it's a game, cuz it's funny, but they are learning.

If you have a lot of real estate to yourself, it can be fun to play "follow the leader" and let the kids take turns leading with you going last to slow them down and pick up the fallout. When you're the leader you can have them do drills without them knowing it.

Sometimes you get kids who just want to play and they think they are pretty hot skiers. My favorite "trick" for these kids is to spend time skiing backwards and doing "whirlygigs" in the snow. Even on easy greens it can be tricky for most of them. You can really cash in on the "cool" factor of knowing how to ski backwards and spinning in the snow.

Hope that helps.
post #5 of 16
Minimal Verbiage. Keep it moving. Exagerate movements. Games. Terrain Parks. Fun. Fun. Fun. Kids will mimic not only your movements, but also your attitude.
post #6 of 16


PSIA-E has a publication just for kids instructors -
post #7 of 16
niceturns I like your concept with the kids, great idea about the toy bag and how you get them to do some of your teaching ha ha! I think I'll go get some dollar store stuff and try it out. I try to always keep the kids moving and doing stuff, let the mountain teach them , different terrain, conditions etc. seek out the ungroomed , challenge them , then back off and ski with them. If I have smiles at the end of the lesson thats all that matters.
post #8 of 16
Cut old tennis balls in half and stack them in your pocket for a portable slalom course. Buy a Foxtail (tm) which is easy for kids to catch and throw (see Playing cards (put one between the shin and the tongue of each boot and see how many kids end up with their cards). Drinking straws (also for slalom gates or any purpose your imagination unfolds--can be dressed up with reflective tape flags fastened with duct tape--reinforce the whole straw with duct tape and you will have them for years). Have the group pick a team name and aliases for themselves, if they like. Stock up on stickers--not the "good job!" variety, though I have nothing against them, but the kind ski companies give out at shows, so they can decal their stuff.

What you end up with is a bag of tricks, which I carried in a daypack.

If you can find a copy of Captain Zembo, buy it!
post #9 of 16


If you're trying to teach skiing you're missing the boat.

Try teaching FUNNNNN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You'll be amazed how well they do and how much fun it is for you as well.

Oh, and no matter what you think they should be learning, it doesn't matter. They're only going to learn what they want at any age. You need to become one of them.

whtmt & Mackenzie 911
post #10 of 16
I ski with kids and lot and ski with them more. In the process is show them really cool things they can do on skis and have them do tasks that make them use their skis differently than the usual big A shape.
A fun question I ask is if they ski with their parent/guardian and if yes, I ask them to do a demo on how they ski.
While skiing with kids, I show them how I have fun skiing (at a level they can do).

So, ski and have fun doing it!
post #11 of 16
Keep your energy level up. If it looks and sounds like you're into it, the kids will be, too.

Focus on the POSITIVE. You did this or that REALLY good! Now try this!

Call the kids by their names. Nicknames work for some kids.

Sing songs while you're teaching. Hoot and holler. Clap.

Get down to their eye level to make contact. (I used to wear knee pads!)

Showing gets better results than telling/talking.

Keep it simple.
post #12 of 16
Take the skis off on a really easy section of green. Work in a section 10-30' long and keep running back up. Try boot skiing straight a couple times. Try boot-skiing and making turns. Try doing down-hill hop turns-- Hop, turn in the air, land, hop again, turn the other way, land. Try running downhill in boots in a slalom patern, no gates, just pretend. Your kids may well be laughing their heads off and bursting with energy at this point. Put the skis on and see what of what they just did transfers to skiing.
post #13 of 16


Ill second with all of you: you gotta have fun. However, I have been teaching hundreds of kidds for over 10y now and the way I have managed to keep it enjoyable for both me and my students and their parrents is partly because Im not silly with the kidds like many other are. Kidds acutally dont need that much silliness and there is a trap, the more you do the more they want and that will eventually burn you out. I know teachers that scream and shout so that it is heared all over the mountain and parrents, other skiers, kidds and teachers actually dont like that at all.

Dont take me wrong here fellows from across the atlantic ocean but you guys over there sometimes overdo the acting part on being nice with the kidds. Kidds sence if its not genuine and so does parrents that pay for the lessons. Be natural and treat kidds with respect, they will in return treat you with respect.

Remember, dont become their buddies because they will stop obeying you. Its the same with school teachers. You gotta keep the distance because your supposed to teach them skiing and see that everything is handeled safely. I have kidds myselfe and sometimes it would be soooooo nice to just play arround with them and let them deside things for themselves.
post #14 of 16
I couldn't agree with you more, good post!
post #15 of 16

Really, Really Little Kids

I've been teaching 3-5 year olds for a long time -- some would say I babysit, but I've had some awesome successs stories. I set up mini terrain parks, using hula hoops, colored water in spray bottles to mark paths, small colored cones, and beanie babies -- balled up socks work well, too. We think of team names, we name our skis (most kids aren't confident about right and left until their 7 or so), we sing alot, and play Simon Says on the Snow (Simon Says: "ski with your hands on your knees," "ski with your toes together and your heels apart," etc.) As little kids get better, make sure you find some good safe paths through trees (even if only slightly off the main trail) and small jumps -- they love 'em and it really helps with balance. I carry a 6 foot length of 1/2" flat webbingwide rope in my pocket (along with tissues, beanie babies, and chocolate for the end of lessons). It can be useful to mark a finish line -- how close to my rope can you stop It can be set down in the snow for kids to hop over or step over. With kids who are approaching five, you can try to create some good group dynamics. Get them to ride up with different people each run and to report back something that they and their new friend have in common. The possibilities are endless and while I agree you don't have to be silly to get their attention, the one benefit of teaching kids is that you don't have to act your age!
post #16 of 16
Team names are always great. In addition helping change the activity from skiing to FUN, it's a helpful way to keep up with all the kids.

I've found "red light green light" to be helpful for 3-5 year olds with boot work.
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