Fun ways to always fall safely
It is truly impossible to become an adult without falling during childhood. Parents, teachers, schools and friends may try to ‘cotton wool’ us to prevent anything from happening that may hurt us, but it doesn’t help. Somewhere along the childhood journey there will be scraped knees, hands, elbows, ankles, broken bones, noses or even bleeding heads.
The act of falling never did anyone any harm. Whether you fell from a great height, fast moving vehicle or just tripped in the school playground; it did you no harm whatsoever. Reconnecting with the earth or some other object, did however create a problem. It may have been damaged pride, scraped skin or broken bones.
When we apply scientific laws to falling, we can learn to fall safely. In the Landing Safely Holiday Program, we have a lot of fun teaching and applying these principles to children’s activities. Children leave with experiences they can apply to everyday situations so that they may be confident about tackling physical activities, secure in the knowledge they are able to participate safely, even if they do fall or trip along during the activity or game.
Newton’s Laws of Motion and the Dissipation of Force
Rather than discuss all the details of the Laws of Motion, it may be simpler to reduce them into a single line that we can apply to landing. If a moving body stops with a short time of impact, a large force results; such as running face first into a brick wall. If the same moving body stops over a longer period of impact, this results in a smaller force acting on the body. To spread the force over a longer time (using the same brick wall example) we simply rotate or turn our body. This turning action softens the landing.
Other examples from our program are landing on our hands. Cuts and abrasions on hands or knees are often the result of tripping or falling forwards and landing with straight arms, using our hands to protect our faces. This very action is creates a large force, which is transmitted along our straight arms to our shoulders. In cases where our hands do not slip on the ground, our collar bone breaks or our shoulder dislocates. This force can be dissipated by reaching towards the ground, maintaining a strong core and bending our elbows on impact, turning our head to the side at the last minute.
Rotation can also be used in this way, by turning our bodies at the last moment to create angular momentum or rotation, with the force again being spread over a longer time period.
What is included in the Landing Safely Holiday Program
The advantage of using a gymnastics-based approach is the soft equipment in our Holiday Program Kit. When we use mats, wedges and padded equipment, children have fun safely as they learn how to fall safely.
It is easy to create fun skill using our equipment in all sorts of ways which teaches children how to apply the basics of landing safely. During the course of a program, children will learn how to land safely on 2 feet, 1 foot, on their hands, on their hands when pushed backwards, how to apply rotation to absorb force in sports games, when falling from a bike and even if they trip when running.
The ability to bounce back, with no injury or simply minor bruises changes lives and builds confidence. The importance of resilience in the 21st Century Child cannot be underestimated; a millennium where change is pushing boundaries faster than ever before.
Learn to Land Safely. Make it part of your holiday program. Our kids need it.
Ryan Williamson is a gymnastics and movement expert.