Crazy Ball

This is a great go-to game for big classes!  I like it because it keeps all the kids involved in the game and moves quickly.  It’s a good way to practice throwing and kicking skills as well.

Equipment:  kickball, football, frisbee, reaction ball, pinnies to divide teams, cones to mark bases, bucket or container big enough to hold a four tossables

Set-up:  divide the class into two equal teams; one team will start as defense and the other offense; field should be set-up similar to kick-ball with 3 bases and a home base

The offensive team starts with four players up at “bat”.  One player kicks a rolled kickball, next throws or punts a football, 3rd player throws a frisbee, and fourth throws the reaction ball.  This should happen quickly, one right after the other.  Once a player has thrown/kicked his or her tossable he begins running bases.  Do not stop running.  Each time a player passes home plate, a point is scored.  The 4 players continue running until all 4 tossables are returned to the container (kept at the pitcher’s mound).  At that point, 4 new players come up and repeat.  There are no outs.  The offensive team plays until each player has had a turn to throw/kick.

Defensive team cannot walk once they have a tossable in their hand.  They must use teamwork to throw and catch and get all items back in the bucket.  One player will serve as pitcher.  The pitcher will roll the kickball, and serve as the final catcher  placing the items in the bucket.  Players yell “stop”  once all items are in the bucket.  Then offensive players stop running and scoring stops.  Once all of the offensive players have had a turn at bat, the teams switch places.

I love this game because once the kids know the rules, it is easy to start and stop.  Watch time and make sure both teams get equal team as offensive team!  This game works well for field day!

Another frisbee game!

I called this game “frisbee baseball” and I think it is my new favorite frisbee game.  I have been using it with 3rd and 4th graders, but I also think it would work with 5/6.

Prior to this game, we spent 2 weeks working on basic throwing and catching with a frisbee.  They are getting good at the throws, but we still need more work on the catch!

Divide the class into teams of 5.  Each team has 2 cones, set about 10 paces apart.  The “thrower” stands at the home cone, the “pitcher” stands at the other.  The other 3 players are the “outfield” and spread out about 10 paces behind the pitcher.  The thrower give the frisbee a big throw  towards the outfield.  The closest outfielder tries to catch it (if he/she does not catch, they just run and get it and continue) and then passes it to the next outfielder who passes it to the third outfielder who passes it to the pitcher.  Once the pitcher has the frisbee, he/she touches their cone and calls “stop”.  Meanwhile, the thrower runs circles around the two cones.  Each time the thrower passes the home cone it is a point.  The thrower’s goal is to see how many points he/she can get before the frisbee is back with the pitcher.  The players then rotate  places and repeat.

What I love about this game:

It is active!  The kids do a lot of running.

It is engaging!  All of my students stayed involved and had fun.

It is easy!  Set up and clean up are a breeze.  It takes a few minutes to explain it the first time.

What I didn’t love:

Skill practice is questionable.  Although I stressed making good throws and catches, most of the groups were in too big of a hurry to pay attention to the throwing and catching form we had been working on.

Overall, a positive.  My students left commenting on how fun it was and they all got some good movement in.

Sharks and Lifeguards

Sharks and Lifeguards is a classic parachute game.  I have been hesitant to play it in the past due to the potential roughness of the game.  I decided to give it a try this year with some added caution.  It was very successful and a favorite for my students.

Students sit in a circle around the parachute with their legs straight out in front of them.  Their legs are underneath the parachute.  A few students (I started with 3) are “sharks” and swim underneath the parachute. The sharks try and pull beach dwellers under the chute by grabbing their legs.  A few students (equal in number to starting sharks) are “lifeguards”.  The lifeguards circle the parachute on foot and rescue those being pulled under.  I instructed my students that if they felt themselves being pulled under, they must let go of the parachute and raise both hands and call to a lifeguard for help.  They cannot kick at the shark or hold on to anything, but they can try to scoot away and get extra help from the lifeguards.   The lifeguards help by grabbing the victim’s arms and pulling.  Once a player is pulled under, they become a shark.  If they are saved, they stay in position with legs under the chute.  As the game goes on more and more players become sharks.  When 90% of the group is under the chute, I blow my whistle for everyone to come out and we start a new round.

Safety tips:

Play outside on the grass versus inside on a hard gym floor

Instruct sharks that they may initially only grab one leg — this way the person being pulled will not get yanked too hard and bump their head on the ground

Have those sitting around the parachute wave it up and down slightly to keep air moving underneath — it gets hot under there!


I played the game with 2nd thru 5th grade and they all had a blast!

Straddle Ball

Here is a quick and easy game that doesn’t require a lot of equipment.  It also can be done in small spaces so it works well for classroom teachers that want to get kids moving a bit.

Students get in groups of 5-6.  They form a big circle facing in and take a wide stance with the side edges of their feet touching.  Place a playground ball in the center of the circle.  Players try to score a “goal” by rolling the ball between someone else’s legs.  They can block with their hands, but cannot move their feet.  They should try and keep the ball rolling, not bouncing in the air (for safety).

My students had a lot of fun with this once they got the ball rolling fast.  You can add movement by having the student who lets a goal get by run a lap, etc.  Scoring is optional depending on the level of competition you want to have.  Quick and easy games like this are great to have in your head when you need a quick filler.

Rob the Cookie Jar — Soccer Style

This game is an adaptation of the traditional “Rob the Cookie Jar”.  I used it for my 3rd and 4th graders to practice their soccer dribbling skills.

Set up a large playing area with hula hoops arranged in a big circle.  Each hoop should be at least 10 paces from another one with a free area in the center.  Students all get their own soccer or kick ball and place it in a hula hoop.  Set up enough hoops so that each hoop has 5-6 balls (vary hoop number according to your class size).  The hoop where their ball starts is their home hoop.  The goal is to get as many balls into your hoop as possible in a set amount of time.  On the start signal, students run to another hoop, lift a ball out, set it on the ground, and then dribble it to their own hoop.   They use their feet to trap the ball in their own hoop.  Then go and “steal” another ball.  At the end of the designated time, students return to their own hoop and count to see which team has the most balls.

Here are a few rules my students came up with as we played the game:

1.  can only steal one ball at a time

2.  you cannot steal from a person kicking, just from the hoops

3.  you cannot rob from your “next door neighbor” (hoop on either side of yours) 2 times in a row

4.  you cannot rob from the same hoop 2 times in a row

5.  no hands after you pick the ball up out of the hoop, kicking only

Fun, active, and good practice!



This game was a favorite this fall with my 3rd and 4th graders.  I also played it with 5th & 6th.  Class is divided up into two teams.  They each form a line on opposite sides of the field.  The offensive team has small token (I used a bottle cap).  Each team member holds their hands together as if holding the token and runs to cross the line of the defensive team.  The defensive team starts tagging members of the offensive team.  When tagged, they must stop and show what is in their hands.  If they don’t have the token they just move on.  If the person with the token is tagged then the defense becomes offense.  If the token makes it across the line, it is a point for that team and they retain possession.  Leadership ability really comes out during this game.  I saw teams work together doing things such as blocking for the person with the token or faking who had it while someone casually crossed the line.  Teams with out a clear leader struggled to be successful in scoring a point.  As the game ended, I pointed out the need for strategy and teamwork and we talked about why or why not a team was successful.


I tried another couple of basketball-based games with 3rd and 4th graders this week.  These focus on dribbling skills.  I divided my class of 35 into 3 groups.  One group had shooting practice while the other two played dribbling games.

Dribblerama:  everyone has a ball.  I used a big circle painted on the black top as boundaries.  They must stay in the circle and dribble their ball.  While dribbling they try and knock another players ball, causing them to lose control.  If you lose control of your ball you are out.  They played until their were 2-3 players left and those were declared winners.  I had the “out” players dribble on the line around the edge to practice while they waited.

Stealer Ball:  1/2 the players have a ball.  They must dribble continuously.  Other players try and steal a ball.  If stolen, then the stealer gets that ball and begins t0 dribble.  The person who lost their ball must then try and steal from a different player.  I used a half court as their boundaries.

Before these games I taught basketball standards of traveling, double dribble, etc.  They could not stop and hold the ball or dribble with both hands.

PROS:  Good dribbling practice with everyone engaged.  More fun than just dribbling up and down and also gave them practice of staying in control in a game-like situation.

CONS:  For dribblerama, you need a lot of balls (luckily my school has a good supply of equipment).  Kids wore out quickly, don’t do for too long (5-7 minutes)

Basketball Passing Game

Circle Guard and Pass is a fun basketball game that practices the skills of bounce passes and chest passes as well as defending those passes. My 3rd and 4th graders really had fun with this game.

My 3rd and 4th graders have been working on a basketball unit.  It is a challenge to find games that challenge those who are more skilled and experienced and give the others the practice they need.  This game worked really well as a follow-up to our work practicing bounce and chest passes:

Circle Guard and Pass

Form 2 teams:  offense and defense.  Offense team makes a large circle with one team member in the center.  Defense team makes a smaller circle inside the offense circle.  It works best if you have actual circles drawn for them to stand on. (Our school has 2 large circles like this painted on the black top outside — perfect!)  The offensive team tries to get the ball into the person in the center with a bounce pass or a chest pass.  The defensive team tries to swat or steal the ball as it passes through.  All team members must stay on their designated lines, but can slide along them.  I really worked with the offensive to move the ball quickly and look for holes in the defense to pass through.  It took some time for them to quite throwing the ball overhead and look for ways to bounce pass instead.  After about 5 minutes I would rotate the teams.  We played this two weeks in a row because they were just catching on at the end of the first session.  The second week they really had a good time with it.  They all love being the person in the middle.

PROS:  Only need one ball to play, if played right all children can be involved and active, great way to show the correct way to use a bounce pass and its potential effectivness

CONS:  Tendency to just chuck the ball overhead must be overcome, some kids can get ignored and never touch the ball.  I solved both these by playing the game along with them.  I had to play it inside one day due to bad weather and without the drawn lines it didn’t work as well.  They really need a line they have to stay on.