Like a pint-sized version of American Ninja Warrior, NinjaZone Ninja Games lets kids show off their skills as they maneuver through a series of obstacles, competing — against each other, but also against themselves — as family and friends cheer them on.
“The energy in the room during Ninja Games is truly electric,” says Danny Wohlschlaeger, director of curriculum and coach education for NinjaZone. “You can just feel the memories being made.”
The skills that the ninjas perform during the Ninja Games look a lot like the skills and obstacles that they work on during class, but with several surprise challenges.
“Each combination requires children to use their upper, lower and core body strength to maneuver through a series of obstacles,” Wohlschlaeger says. “They are judged on their speed, focus and precision through these courses. During this time, a coach is alongside them every step of the way, feeding their confidence and encouraging them to push harder. Children have the freedom to be creative and choose the best way to move through the obstacles.”
Ninjas are working their bodies during Ninja Games, but their self-esteem and confidence are also getting a good workout, too.
“One of the biggest takeaways from participating in the Ninja Games is confidence,” Wohlschlaeger says. “This is an opportunity for children to be the lone person on stage and in the spotlight. As adults, so many of us fear performing in front of a crowd. With the Ninja Games, we give children the opportunity to do it in a safe space — where falling just means it’s another opportunity to get back up.”
And the ninjas aren’t the only ones who get in on the action. Participants are surrounded by friends, family, coaches and teammates that are literally screaming for them to keep going.
“We want to show children that it’s not the competition that is most important, but the effort,” Wohlschlaeger says. “Parents bring signs, make t-shirts and cheer loudly. Parents are often impressed with the level of energy that is brought by the NinjaZone coaching staff.”
The kids who do really well during Ninja Games and put on a great show get a trophy, but NinjaZone is also intentional about teaching that it’s not about getting a reward.
“If you watch American Ninja Warrior, literally no one wins — the fun part is watching them try,” Wohlschlaeger says. “We teach kids that all the people watching them — everyone in the audience, their friends, family, even strangers — are rooting for them to succeed. Teaching resilience to children is hard, and the Ninja Games is a full-body, kinesthetic way to do it.”
“So much happens when children decide they’re willing to try, and then when they discover they can push through adversity to something bigger, magic happens,” Wohlschlaeger continues. “Ultimately, that’s all that we want for these kids, and all kids.”
All currently enrolled NinjaZone members can choose to participate in the Ninja Games. Children as young as 3 years old can choose to participate in the games. The 2020 Ninja Games Winter Series runs through the end of March, with the Summer Series beginning in June. Participation in the Ninja Games is always completely optional, but often, once a child competes in one event, they’re hooked! Game packages can be purchased at a discount in packs of three, or as single events. Find more info about Ninja Games here.
Brought to you by NinjaZone.