Spider & Flies

My 3rd and 4th graders had a blast playing this game today. I liked it because it was easy to do for a few minutes and it really got them moving.
Spider and Flies:
One person is the spider. The rest of the class lines up against one wall. They have to run to the opposite wall without getting tagged by the spider. Anyone who the spider tags sits down where they were tagged and become part of the “web”. The spider can run anywhere, but the webs have to stay in one place, but can also tag anyone within reach. After all children reach the wall, I blow my whistle and those remaining run back trying to avoid spiders and webs. Repeat until all children are caught. I let the last person standing become the next spider.


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.

Kicking Week 3

After 2 weeks of practicing different kinds of kicking, I wanted to give my 1st and 2nd graders some game action.  I didn’t think most of them were ready for a full game of kickball and I didn’t want most of the class standing in line waiting for their turn so this is what I came up with.  Half the class lined up as kickers.  I would pitch (roll) the ball and the first in line would run up and kick it as far as he/she could.  Then that child had to run around the bases and then get in the back of the line.  I had a tub full of balls and as soon as one child kicked I was pitching to the next in line.  My other half of the class were lined up as fielders.  I found it worked best to line these children up behind me then the front person went and retrieved the ball, put it in the tub, and got in the back of the line.  This kept the game running smoothly and quickly.  As soon as each kicker had had a turn to kick I yelled “switch” and the fielders became the kickers.  It moved along quickly and all the students got many turns to kick as well as field a ball.  I had to pause with the first graders a couple of times to remind them of their good kicking form we had practiced.  The game went perfectly with the 2nd graders.

*note:  When I first started the game I had the fielders spread out in the field with the idea that they would field balls that came in their area.  This didn’t work very well.  They ALL ran after EVERY ball and kept running in front of me as well.  When I lined them up behind a cone and had them take turns it went much better.  Since the kicks were coming so fast, this group stayed busy as well.



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.

Indoor Games

lthough I generally speak extensively about getting your kids outdoors, even in the winter, I live in the real world, and sometimes it’s just too stinkin cold, or dark, to be outside!  So here are a few indoor games that might get your kids (and you) off the couch.

  1. Paper Plate Frisbee:  We love Frisbee, but I would never let my kids do that inside.  I would with paper plates though! Let your kids decorate a paper plate, and then play a fun game of Frisbee.  Even if it hits a lamp, the lamp usually won’t tip over ( I know because it’s happened!)  Another twist is to hang target circles with construction paper from the ceiling and have them try to get their paper plate frisbee through the hole (kind of like Quidditch)
  2. Treasure Map:  Make a map of your house.  Label landmarks with silly names like “The Fridge to Tarabitha”. Send them all over the house until the find the treasure.
  3. Falling Statues:  Have two pieces of cardboard a few feet apart.  Have a child stand on each piece of cardboard each holding the end of a rope.  They have to pull on the rope, and try to get their sibling to fall off of their piece of cardboard.
  4. Blindfolded obstacle course: Set up a fun obstacle course that they must navigate with a blindfold on.  Time each other using the same course so they can get better and better at it, beating their own time each time.  If your children don’t like to be blindfolded, instead set up the obstacle course where the ground is “hot lava” and they have to climb across the obstacles to get to the other side, without touching the hot lava.
  5. Four Square: Set up a four square game using masking tape.  Play with a soft ball.

Other indoor ideas:DSC_1901