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: 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: 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)
Grade level: 2-8
Game Description: The ‘Bad guys’ are the taggers. The ‘Secret Agents’ are the freers. The rest of the players (the runners) are the ‘Citizens’. Before the game starts, ALL players sit down, close their eyes, and put their heads down so they can’t see anything. Then the teacher goes around and taps 2-3 players ONCE on the head – those players will be the Bad guys. The teacher also goes around and taps 2-3 players TWICE on the head – those players will be the Secret Agents. After that, give all players 5 seconds to find a spot anywhere in the playing area and blow the whistle to start the game! When a player is tagged by a Bad guy he must sit down. He’s stuck down until a freer (Secret Agent) taps him on the shoulder, then he can get back up and continue playing. Careful though, because the Secret Agents can also be tagged! If the Secret Agents all end up being tagged and are sitting, then the round is over. Choose new roles and play again! (Thanks to Jeff Harrison for the idea)
Grade level: 2-8
Equipment: Hula hoops, music
Game Description: In this fitness or warm-up game, hula hoops are placed around the basketball court perimeter. Choose a direction for players to travel: clockwise or counter clockwise staying on the outside of the basketball court line. Players cannot cross through center. Once the music starts they perform the cardio exercise of the teacher’s choice: jogging, running, skipping, cross-overs, etc. When the music stops they must get to a hoop within a few seconds. There can be as many people inside any hoop as possible, however everyone must be in a hoop. If anyone person is not standing inside a hoop, including all feet, then the entire class must do reps of a muscular exercise (push-ups for example). Once completed, a new cardio activity is given, the music begins again and the students do the next activity, however, once the music begins and the students are moving, the instructor removes one hula hoop from the game, etc, etc, until there is only one hoop left. At this point, give two jumping jacks per person for every one person that doesn’t make it into the hoop. And that’s fitness musical hoops!
(Thanks to Paul Ford for this game idea)
Grade level: 3-8
Equipment: Hula hoops, foam balls
Game Description: Save The Statues is a throwing, catching, blocking, and defending game. There are two teams: 1 consists of statues who are ‘stuck’ in hula hoops around the perimeter of the basketball or volleyball court lines, as well as throwers in the center circle. The other team consists of defenders who are trying to prevent the statues from catching balls thrown by the throwers. When a statue catches a ball that was thrown, he is freed and becomes a thrower in the middle. Play until all statues are freed, or for a certain time limit. Try this unique throwing and catching game in your physical education class for a fun and skill-improving activity.
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.