The physical education games that are described in this article can be played at the beginning of gym class as part of a warm exercise, during the period wholly or partially devoted to games or physical education activities or at the end of class as part of cool down exercises. In addition to the obvious benefits of providing good exercise, combating obesity and developing motor skills, the other skills that I wanted my students to demonstrate when they play these games are co-operation, sportsmanship and enjoyment.
Here are 6 examples of physical education games that my students and I enjoyed.
1. Face to Face
Scatter formation (possibly in a large circle) with partners. One odd player stands in the center and alternates between calling “Face to Face” and “Back to Back”. The students take the positions accordingly. When he calls “All change” the students must find new partners and the center player tries to get one too. The student left without a partner goes to the center and gives the commands. If there was no “odd student” then I played too.
2. Partner Tag
All of the students but two hook arms in couples. Of the two that are free one is “it” or the chaser and the other is the runner. The runner tries to avoid being tagged by locking arms with either member of any couple he chooses. When he does, the third student of the group becomes the runner and must avoid being tagged. If the runner is tagged the runner and chaser change positions. To make the activity interesting, the couples should run and twist to elude the runner. For a large number of students there can be more than one runner and chaser.
3. Catch the Cane
Have the students form a circle or divide the class in two and make two circles. Each student has a number from 1 to the end. One student is “It” and stands in the middle of the circle holding a cane or yard/meter stick with one end on the floor. This student calls out one of the numbers and lets go of the cane. The student whose number was called, must catch the cane before it falls to the floor. If he fails he becomes “It”.
Divide the class into 2 even teams ( or 4 for a large class and run two games simultaneously). Team 1 forms a circle and each member of team 2 stands between two members of team 1. A team 1 member holds a ball (volleyball, soccer ball, football, etc.) and a member of team 2 holds the same type of ball (differentiate the balls, colour, etc.).
On the word “go”, each team member passes their ball to their team member on their right (or left). The team that completes the full circle with their ball gets a point.
The teacher can vary the game by calling out, “circle” (the student with the ball must run around the circle before passing the ball) or “zig-zag” or “bounce the ball”, etc. I’m sure you get the idea. It’s great fun.
5. Pass and Change
Arrange all the students in the class except one in a circle of about 40 feet in diameter. The student who is “it” stands in the center of the circle with a large (soft) ball.
To start, “it” calls the names of two students in the circle and at the same time throws the ball to a third student. The two students whose names were called, run to exchange places in the circle. The third student, upon catching the ball, throws it back to “it”. “It” then throws the ball at one of the two students, trying to hit one before they manage to change places. If “it” succeeds in hitting one, the student who was hit becomes “it”. The game starts again with the new student being “it”.
6. Fish Net
This game is played with two teams. One team is the NET and the other team is the FISH. To begin, each team stands behind a goal line at opposite ends of the field. The NET team chooses a Captain and joins hands in a line. The FISH team runs free. At a signal, both teams run forward and the NET team tries to make a circle around as many FISH as possible. The FISH may not duck under the arms of the NET, but if the NET drops hands, the FISH may escape.
When the NET team has made its circle, the Captain counts the number of FISH that were caught. The other team now has a turn to be the NET. These are only a few of the elementary physical education activities and games that my kids participated in during their gym periods. You’ll find many more by visiting my website. I hope you enjoy teaching these games because your students will love them.