Why Schools Use Mamba GaGa Ball Pits
Mamba GaGa Ball Pits use a unique netted panel design which allows for complete visual supervision for the safety of the children at all times. Recent trends in our nation's schools have increased the student to teacher ratios to sometimes 30 or more. At the same time, schools have become more aware of the safety concerns inherent in playgrounds and on school property when the line-of-sight for the teachers and staff supervising children is obstructed. Observing play areas is critical to mitigate risks such as bullying and unauthorized visitors on school property, as well as for simply monitoring for normal accidents and activities. These issues have led schools to implement new safety measures including the removal of any playground equipment which creates visual obstructions, sometimes even as a requirement of the school's insurance carrier to retain coverage under their policies.
Research supports what experienced educators have known for years - that children need physical activity on a daily basis as part of their school routine. Movement and sport games have been shown to enhance the ability of children to concentrate and learn during academic classes, helps get out excess energy, and provides the necessary environment for learning important social skills as well as promoting overall health and well-being - both physical and mental.
With budgetary cutbacks and increasing mandatory academic curricula and testing taking more and more of the school day, both physical education and traditional recesses that allow for unstructured free play are becoming a thing of the past in many districts. Many schools also have to contend with weather conditions which limit outdoor activities or, in the case of some city schools, a lack of space to accommodate a large group of children playing. Indoor activities are therefore very important, but here space can also be a limiting factor given class sizes of up to 30 or more children.
With these factors in mind, portable Mamba GaGa Ball Pits were designed to be used both indoors and outdoors and require just minutes for one adult to set-up and breakdown. This allows schools to offer healthy physical activity anywhere - the gym, the cafeteria, a classroom, the playground, etc. without requiring permanently dedicated space. When the time for GaGa Ball (aka, Octoball) is over, the entire pit that a whole class of kids can play in stores in the same amount of space as a folding ping-pong table!
School age children are rapidly developing, so there is a vast difference between the physical abilities of the youngest and oldest children at many schools. A typical fourth or fifth grade student has much greater upper body strength and better developed motor skills than a first grader, yet they all enjoy playing GaGa Ball. The problem is, the first grader may have difficulty playing in a pit which is large enough to accommodate a class of older kids. So just as basketball hoops are designed to be raised and lowered for different ages, our portable Mamba GaGa Ball Pits are designed to easily adjust in size, simply by adding or removing some of the wall panels. This literally takes seconds to do, so different age groups can be rotated through the game, if needed.
Another challenge for schools is to offer programs and activities that are inclusive for children with different physical, social, and behavioral challenges. Here is the experience of one therapeutic school with a Mamba GaGa Ball Pit:
“Our therapeutic boarding school for adolescent boys has found the gaga ball game to be fun to play, easy to learn and inclusive for the wide range of ages and ability levels that we have here at Cherry Gulch. As the boys join in and play the game together, they learn the social skills that allow them to interact in a positive way with their peers, they learn how to have integrity in self-refereeing during play and many find an increase in their confidence as they go out of their comfort zone to try something new and learn a new skill. Our wide range of athleticism among our boys hasn’t been a problem now that we have the gaga ball game. Each of the boys can join in without feeling inferior to their peers who may have more experience in sports such as basketball or football. Everyone is on an equal playing field and everyone has the chance to be great, no matter their size, age or previous athletic experience. As a Recreation Therapist, I have seen the many therapeutic implications of this game as well as the health benefits for the mind and body and recommend it to any school or program that is looking for a great new way to engage their students!”