What is juggling?
    According to Webster's Dictionary it is, "...to keep several objects in motion in the air at the same time." Some jugglers will say it is the act of keeping more objects in the air than you have hands.

    A more broad definition would be the skillful and/or novel manipulation of one or more objects. This is a more useful definition for educational purposes. Young children who are handling only one or two scarves often perform skillful manipulations for their stage of development, so why not call it juggling?

What are the benefits of juggling?
    Whatever a person's movement background, everyone can learn something from juggling. It is an ideal Physical Education and classroom activity which targets all three educational domains:
Psychomotor: Juggling is a skill which requires timing, hand-eye coordination, and throwing and catching skills. These encompass both gross and fine motor coordination.
Cognitive: To succeed in juggling students must understand the pattern, imagine and focus on a target for their throws, and comprehend the rhythmic cycling of the arms.
Affective: Juggling is an excellent task for teaching goal setting, , tracking of improvement, perseverance, and delay of gratification.

Scarves vs. Balls

    There is some question as to whether juggling should be taught to beginners with slow moving scarves, or with balls. After many years of teaching juggling, and reviewing the small amount of research addressing this question, my opinion is as follows.

   Children in fourth grade and up are usually capable of learning to juggle with balls or beanbags, so they should use them. My experience has been that when they learn with scarves first, balls seem more difficult. However, this is not to say that scarves should not be allowed. Although I much prefer them to learn with balls, if I feel a student is becoming overly frustrated I will give them scarves. As with most tasks in school, the students should be able to experience success.

    When I teach middle school or high school students how to juggle, I insist they use balls for the first few sessions. I have found that kids this age are more interested in taking the easy way out, and will frequently opt for the scarves if permitted. After getting some success with the balls, I then present  scarves as an alternative form of juggling.

    Children in the primary grades (K-2, and sometimes 3) should be taught with scarves. They do not usually have the tracking and coordination skills necessary for ball juggling. There are many challenging things which can be done with juggling scarves at this age.

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