Ball Chase

Here is a fun, fast, and easy game idea:

I labeled old tennis balls with numbers 1-8 (or how ever many groups you want to have).  Then labeled five or six extra balls with random symbols (triangle, smiley face, star, etc).  I divide the class into groups and line them up behind cones.  Each group draws a numbered tennis ball and that becomes their group number.  I then throw all the tennis balls out into the gym.  The first person in each line runs forward and tries to find their numbered ball.  When they do they bring it to me and I give them a point value.  The first person to bring me a ball gets 8 points, the second 7 points, and on down.  After they have found their ball they can go and grab symbol balls one at a time.  Each of these are worth 5 points.  When all the balls have been picked up, I gather them, the team adds up their points and the next person moves forward in line.  I throw the balls out and repeat.  We play until each group member has had a turn to chase.  The groups have to add on to their points each time so they use some math skills.

The main rule you have to emphasize is that they can only have one ball in their hands at a time.  Depending on the level of competitiveness and the students’ ages you can let them toss or kick unwanted balls around the room making it harder for other groups to find their ball.

The kids really get running.  It is mainly luck to find their ball so anyone can win the game.  My class had a lot of fun playing it and all had their heart rates up.  I love the math element with the points.


  • I tried this game with a group of 3rd and 4th grade boys. They seemed to enjoy it, the only problem was while only 5 were looking for their ball, I had 15 sitting there causing trouble. I had the other kids start to throw extra balls to make it more difficult.

  • Good modification. I found the rounds go so fast, I didn’t have trouble — the balls were found in less than a minute and we were onto the next round with new players. Your idea makes me think it might be fun to try it with everyone running and looking for their own ball.

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