Grade level: K-5
Equipment: 4 exercise mats
Game Description: Gingerbread Man Tag is a great stand-alone or Christmas tag game for players to enjoy.
– Set-up mats in the corners (or mats along each end of the gym, if you’d like to play British Bulldog style).
– All players lay down on one of the mats.
– The tagger (baker) stands in the middle and says, “Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man.”
– The players then run to get to a different mat while trying not to get tagged by the baker. If they get tagged they help in the next round. Players that make it to a mat without getting caught just lay down on the mats to prepare for the next round.
This is an easy game and a great game as it involves running and jumping up to run which is always a blast in the gym. Teacher can even start as the baker which really gives the kids a kick. (Thanks to Shari Wenzel for this game idea).
Grade level: 1-6
Equipment: 1 or 2 playground balls
Game Description: Rollerball is best played on a basketball court. Divide students into two teams (perhaps use a basketball court for this game). Each team spreads out on their half the basketball court. Players from opposing teams cannot cross the center line. The object of the game is to roll the ball across the opposite end line. If the ball crosses the opposite end line a point is awarded to the team who rolled the ball.
If the ball goes out of bounds, the closest player from the team whose side is closest to the ball will raise their hand before chasing the ball. Once retrieved, that player rolls it in to a teammate so the game can continue. Whenever a player has the ball, they have 10 seconds to do something with it (either roll it or pass it to a teammate). They are allowed to move around with the ball and get close to the half court line before rolling the ball. Emphasize that they can’t cross the half court line when they roll the ball. If they step across the half court line when the roll it, no point is awarded.
– Encourage lots of passing to other teammates.
– Emphasize to the students that the ball must be rolled and not thrown.
– Start off with one ball in the game and after about 15 minutes of play, add the second ball.
– You can also set up cones outside the end lines. If a cone is hit by a ball, an extra point is awarded.
(Thanks to Doug Gorham for this game idea!)
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: 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: K-6
Equipment: Hula hoops, pool noodles, lilly pads, paper
Game Description: Ice fishers is essentially a pretend game of ice fishing in the gym (lake). Players bring their pretend fishing rods (pool noodles) to a fishing hole (hula hoop), look for a fish, and bring back a fish if they find one. Lots of fun in this relay-style team game. All you need to do is cut out some fish on poster paper, hide them under lilly pads inside hula hoops, and teams get going. Lots of fun, lots of action, and teachable moments. Add special items or modifications to make it even more fun (like weight of fish, obstacles, etc)!
Grade level: K-4
Game Description: In this tag game, players who are tagged turn into a snowflake by standing in the shape of a star. The sun will go around melting the snowflakes so they can get back into the game.
Grade Level: K-6
Game Description: This warm-up or teambuilding game is simple, yet awesome! Students spread out in the playing area. Give maybe 20-30 seconds for them to just run around and around (or skip, hop, gallop, spin, etc). When the time is right, the teacher yells out a number (example, “SIX!”) and then the students must quickly form groups of 6 (or whatever number is called). Any players who didn’t make a group must complete 6 jumping jacks or exercise of choice. Then play again! Great to play along with music. Especially a great idea for large groups of students. Also, a good discussion about inclusion and personal/social feelings could be attached to this game.