Curmudgeon that I am, I hate Game Day.
The whines of "no fair, they have all the fast skaters" and the timid ones who are too scared to play catch games (personally I don't blame them). The wracking the brain for a new variation on the relay race and the tedious wasteful arranging of the children.
But I am happy to say that I have managed to get through the last week of the current session without running a single relay race or red-light-green-light game, and only one instance of Sharks and Minnows. So here's some Game Day alternatives:
Especially this week, following hard upon the Olympics, all my Beta and higher classes got to make up their own programs. First we talked about what goes into a program, and I made the kids figure it out: Jumps, Spins, Footwork and Gliding Maneuvers. For jumps we did two-foot hops, bunny hops, and two foot jumping turns. For glides we did spirals (sort of), lunges, attitudes, and shoot the duck. Footwork was one- or two-foot turns and crossovers. I told them about transitions: "it's what you do in between the other stuff," and then how to put everything into the program. (Basically put one element in each hockey circle). To time the practice period, I put on the Skater's Waltz, which is about 12 minutes long, and had each kid make up his or her own one-minute program. I went and got the parents and explained what we were doing, then at the end of the music, everyone got off the ice and we all watched each student perform their programs one by one.
This one requires that you really know each kid's strength, so that you can make sure you have challenges that everyone can win at least one of. This can be longest glide (one foot or two foot). Longest glide from a single push, or from one or multiple swizzles, or backwards. It can be an actual race, for the fast kids. It can be most creative one foot position (or silliest), or best use of arms. For higher level kids most rotations on a spin or most waltz jumps in a row, best spin feature or longest jump sequence.
Basically this is another program game. You start with one skill everyone can do, say stroking. Everyone does it. Then you ask for a suggestion on another thing they can do. Now you do stroking plus that skill. Keep adding skills until you're doing as many as fit in the width of the ice.
Divide the group into two equal teams (speed does not matter in this game). Put out an even number of traffic cones. One team is "neat" and stands the cones up, the other is "messy" and knocks the cones down. Whichever one has the most cones in the desired position at the end of a specified time period wins. Kids LOVE this game. They will play it 20 times if you let them. It's great because it's a "fast" game where you skate your own speed.
That's right. This is the one thing that kids today don't have enough of. So give them the last 5 or even 10 minutes of the last class to just do whatever they want to do.