Grade level: 1-8
Game Description: Line Math is another game that connects the two curricular areas of physical education with mathematics. Help solidify some math concepts while at the same time getting some movement skill development and exercise. Start by creating the numbers “1” to “5” written each on their own full size paper or poster. Have students start in a relay-style (small teams, maybe of 3 players, to minimize idle time). Place the number pages at different distances away from the starting line along one side of the gym (placing them at the intersections of floor lines is best). To start the game, the teacher yells out a math problem (varies in complexity depending on the age and level of the students). The first student in each line will then run the distance to the answer. For example, if “10-5” is called, the students run the distance to where the 5 is on the floor. Once back, the teacher yells out another equation, etc, etc. Try putting obstacles along the way to spice it up. Or have students hop/skip/gallop/etc instead of running. Quick little warm-up numeracy game to try out if you haven’t already!
Grade level: K-8
Equipment: Hula Hoops, cones, type of ball (football, baseball, frisbee, etc)
Game Description: Perfect Pass is a great throwing and catching game that has players teamed up and ready to work together to earn points. Start by placing down a bunch of hula hoops along the floor, the more the better. Then make some teams of anywhere from 3-5 players who start lined up behind cones in a relay-style setup. Give each team a type of ball (depending which type of sport or throw you’d like to practice). When the game starts, the first person from each team runs to a hoop on the floor and stands in it, waiting to receive a pass from the second person in their teams line. A catch made with both feet in the hula hoop is a great thing, because then that player can bring the hula hoop home and add it as a point to their teams total (if the catch is NOT made, then the hoop does NOT return home = 0 points earned). Then the next person goes out to a hoop to catch another throw, etc, etc. The game continues on like that. Teams try to get the most points by collecting the most hoops, or try to beat their own best score each round. Try varying it up in a bunch of different ways (for example, different hoops are worth different points). And of course as usual, HAVE FUN!
(Thanks to Jason Rosenberg for this game idea)
Grade level: K-3
Game Description: Human Alphabet is a fairly popular early primary level game that gets kids spelling letters with their bodies. Very simply, the students move around in a space (choose a locomotion: run, skip, gallop, etc) and when the teachers calls out a letter (example: “L”) then the students must find the nearest person, quickly partner up, get down on the floor, and use their bodies to make the shape of the letter together to spell it. Then get them moving again and call out another letter. And again. And again! This game is another combination of movement skills and literacy. Play along to music, or place down obstacles on the floor to make it more interesting! Or try groups of 3, 4, or more – have them spell words.
Grade level: 2-8
Game Description: Streets & Alleys is a great small space game – perfect for a classroom when the gym is unavailable. A large group of players work together to form rows and columns (streets and alleys) that give pathways for the cat and mouse to travel through. The cat tries to chase the mouse to catch him, but the group (which consists of something like a 5 x 5 group of players) keeps switching who they’re holding hands with, depending on when the caller/teacher calls “Streets” or “Alleys”. Players in the large group must be close enough that they can easily switch who they’re holding hands with to form the streets and alleys. The cat and mouse are NOT allowed to run – they must POWERWALK. Also, the cat and mouse cannot go under or over or through the people holding hands. Give a time limit, or go until the mouse gets caught and then give other players a chance to be the cat and mouse! (Thanks to Eric for this game idea)
Grade level: 4-8
Equipment: Up to 50 small objects (beanbags, cones, balls, etc), mesh bags (or containers)
Game Description: Snakes is a team-building game that has players moving around together quickly and swiftly as snakes, trying to pick up as many objects as they can. Here’s how to get started: spread all of the small objects somewhere along the floor, have groups form snakes (maybe 4 or 5 players per snake – each snake has a head, body, and tail), and give the last person in line (the tail) the collection bag. Basically, on the starting whistle, all the snakes will travel around trying to collect the objects from the floor. However, only the HEAD (front person) of the snake is allowed to pick up the objects. Then the object MUST be passed down the snake from player to player all the way to the tail, who can then place the object into the bag. Play this game for a specified time limit, or until all objects have been collected. Switch up groups, or create different sizes of snakes. As usual, think of ways to modify or spice up this game to suit the needs of your players!
Grade level: 4-8
Equipment: Cones/tees, plastic bats, foam balls, mats/bases
Game Description: This game is a mini-baseball type game that can be played in the gym or outdoors to help develop baseball/softball/fielding/striking skills. Smaller teams are created in a broken-down mini game that resembles actual baseball, but with smaller groups getting more reps and practice/skill development. With a few modifications to the regular game of baseball, this game is an effective lead up or fun small style game to try out to get the heart rates up! (Thanks to Zach Overturf for this idea)
Grade level: K-5
Equipment: Cones, Hula hoops
Game Description: This teambuilding relay-type game will really get the players moving and working together. Create teams and have 1 player from each team start behind a cone with a hula hoop, facing his teammates across from him at the opposite cone. On the signal, the players with the hula hoops will run across to their teammates and “save” or “rescue” the first person in line by placing the hula hoop over them. Then the two must travel together back to the original cone. The one who was rescued then becomes the rescuer and continues on to save the next person, etc, etc until all players have been saved and brought to the starting point. But that’s not it – once all the teammates have been rescued, the team must then join hands and race to pass the hula-hoop from person to person by passing their bodies through the hula hoop. Hands may not come apart during the hula-hoop pass. The team to complete both tasks first wins a point or the round. As always, play again and again!
(Thanks to Mike @mdfrailoli for this game idea).
Grade level: K-6
Equipment: Cones, Hula hoops, Flags, Foam Balls (K-2) or Footballs (3-6)
Game Description: In this throwing, catching, and moving game, teams will start in a relay team format lined up behind their cone. On the far end of the playing area is all the flags (beanbags work well too) that teams will try to collect. In front of each teams cone is 3 hula hoops at different distances: near, middle, far. For every team, 1 player starts in the near hula hoop. That player will try to catch the ball thrown by the first player from their relay line. If caught, the catcher runs and collects a flag and returns it to her teams cone for 1 point. The thrower then proceeds to stand in the hula hoop to become the catcher, and then next person in line is now the thrower. Whenever a catch is NOT successful, the thrower retrieves the ball for the next person in line to throw and the catcher must STAY in the hula hoop until a catch is made. 5 catches from the first hula hoop level must be made before moving onto the middle level. 5 catches again must be made at the middle level hula hoop before moving to the far level hula hoop. Once 5 catches are completed there (and 5 more flags retrieved for a total of 15 flags) the round is over, and the team with 15 flags wins! As always, play again and again for lots of skill development, movement, and fun!
(Thanks to Mike Fraioli for this idea)
Grade level: 4-8
Equipment: Hula-hoops, basketballs (or soccerballs)
Game Description: This is a dribbling practice game. Players will partner up so there will be pairs spread out in the gym. In each pair, 1 player will start as the dribbler and have a basketball (or soccerball depending which game you want to play). The other player will place a hulahoop on the floor and stand with at least 1 foot inside of it. The player inside the hoop will try to knock away the balls of other players who come too near (remember that 1 foot must always be inside the hoop). If a player’s ball gets knocked away, they simply retrieve it and continue dribbling. After a couple of minutes, players switch roles and play again. Another great dribbling practice game, and modification of the original Knockout.
Grade level: 2-8
Equipment: 4 mats, foam balls, cones
Game Description: Start by creating a “throwing pit” using the middle circle of the gym. Also place down 4 mats, 1 along each side of the gym (like where bases would be placed in baseball except that the mats should be standing upright on their ends). Choose 1 player to be the thrower who must throw from inside the circle/throwing pit – that player starts with all the foam balls. The remaining players will run in the same direction around the mats, trying not to get hit by a ball thrown by the thrower. Whenever a runner is hit, she becomes a thrower in the circle as well. Players must be hit below the waist to count. Players can stop and hide behind a mat for up to 10 seconds, but then must exit and continue running. Play for a certain time limit or until all players have been hit!
(Thanks to Justin Mull)