Playing So Hard You Forgot the Score,
and you learned….


by Dr. John Byl


A. Learning Goals / Introduction:


After completing this paper, you should be able to:

  • Understand the Teaching Games for Understanding model of teaching;

  • Be empowered to make games easier or more difficult so that all players will experience success and challenge;

  • Be able to ask learners effective questions to help them understand their learnings and how they can be applied to other game situations;

  • Have learned at least 17 new games; and

  • Feel more confident to use games for teaching effectively.


B. Fun, Active, and Inclusive Games – What are they?

These are games that assist students to meet Ministry objectives in fun, active, and inclusive ways. Some aspects of these games are:

  • Need little and/or simple equipment

  • Accessible to all

  • Encourages social interaction

  • Maximizes participation

  • Not dependent on a particular playing space

  • Fun, creative (emphasis on adaptation/modification)

  • Play far outweighs a “'win/loss” focus


Joy in people’s lives is such a gift. Games, well-structured, can enhance the joy and fun of the experience. Physical activity brings wholeness to us. Join physical activity and joy and participants in fun, physically active, and inclusive games grow. Lots of studies have been done on why children drop out of competitive sport. These studies often point to a central reason, too much focus on winning and not enough on fun. Playing games where there is no fear of being yelled at, no fear of making mistakes, no fear of being eliminate, but rather games where you are cheered, where you laugh at mistakes, and jump back into the game again are opportunities for participants to be in a place of growth. The game activities of this chapter encourages players exciting others as they cooperatively explore and challenge each other to enhance their physical literacy skills and their understanding of game concepts.


In the Sixties and Seventies, there was a push against competitive games and a push for cooperative games. Competitive Games were viewed as those that pitted people against people, and Cooperative Games were viewed as any games in which all players cooperatively played together to overcome a common challenge. Cooperative Games included parachute games in which all players tried to flip a ball as high as they could, or create a mushroom shape that held its shape for the longest time, and other such challenges. In Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) players challenge players as they cooperatively explore and challenge each other to enhance their physical literacy skills and their understanding of game concepts.


In addition, you may recall the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Goldilocks declines two bowls of porridge because they are too hot or cold, and consumes one bowl of porridge that is the correct temperature. But if she would have cooled the hot porridge and heated the cold porridge she could have had three bowls of porridge. The same is true for games. You may find some games are too hot for your students, then cool them down by slowing down the pace, using a larger or softer or more slowly moving ball. You may find some games are too cool for your students, then heat them up by adding to the complexity of the games, or adding speed of a ball, or the increasing the movement of players. Most games in this chapter will have a variation; most of those games are ways of heating up the original game.

Permit one quick example of the above. Duck, Duck, Goose is a simple game sometimes played at the Kindergarten level. Children sit in a circle, one player walks around the circle touching each player on the head and saying, "Duck." When the circling player says, "Goose," those two players run around the circle, and the second player back to the open spot becomes the new player to walk around the circle. How do we heat this game up for older players? Rather than players sitting in a circle, players go in a plank position (laying forward in a push-up position, but resting on the player's forearms), and maintain that position till the circling player calls out, "Duck" (at which point the other players can lay down and take a break. A simple modification that makes Duck, Duck, Goose, and effective fitness activity for older participants.


C.    Advantages/Benefits Associated with Participation in these types of games


We need to remember that we teach students first and content second. Keeping that in mind, we need to adjust all the games that we do to help students celebrate and enjoy their current levels of game play, and challenge them to move to new levels. It is important to take time and stop the game, or take time at the end of the game to ask strategic and physical skill questions for understanding. These questions help students to cooperatively learn how to enhance their skills and understanding. It is important that students also challenge and remind each other in game situations of which strategy and skills concepts they are trying to learn and how they can improve their performance in those areas. Because these games are all inclusive, the less-skilled players have as much opportunity to participate as the more-skilled players. Let’s take a look at some example games.




Ball Safe


Game Objective:  Invasion

To avoid being tagged by the it.


Recommended Equipment:

Two balls per group.



Groups of 5-15

Experience – all ranges

Playing area – any flat surface

All players stand inside a specified area (half a basketball court). 

Two players hold balls. One player is assigned to be it. 


How to Play:

This game is played like any tag game except that a player holding a ball is safe. Players attempt to prevent the not-its from being tagged by tossing them a ball so that they are safe. 


This game works well as a cool-down if more balls are used. 


Safety Considerations:

Use soft foam balls so that players are not hurt if the ball hits them when they are not expecting it.



Soccer Ball Safe: This variation is the same as Ball Safe except that players kick the balls to each other. Players who hold their ball under one of their feet are safe and cannot be tagged. 


Teaching Comments:

Players must learn to anticipate where the it is going and communicate with each other about passing the ball. 


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Tag. p. 32



Quick “Circle Up”


Game Objective:

To “Circle Up” as quick as possible in the correct position. 


Recommended Equipment:



How to Play:

This is probably the best activity to help create flow in your class and eliminate wasted time. Ask the group to form a larger circle around you. As the leader, stand directly in the middle. Without telling them where they should be, ask the group leading questions such as, “what is so special about a circle?” or “how do we form a perfect circle?” Next, tell the group that the name of the activity is called, “Quick Circle Up”. At this point tell the group to look to their left and to their right. They need to know who they are standing beside, as well as where they are in relation to you. Where they are standing in relation to you is the trickiest aspect of the game. Once they understand the game, quickly rotate your position. Call “Quick Circle UP” and watch for the leaders and the confusion that follows. Do this several times so that the class is able to do it as fast and smoothly as possible. 


Once the circle is very close to getting in their correct position slowly turn and face a different direction and see how quickly the group responds. 


Safety Considerations:

Remind the group to move with their head up so they do not run into other group members moving. 



Once the circle is very close to getting in their correct position slowly turn and face a different direction and see how quickly the group responds. 


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario.. A Round of Circle Games. p. 1



Here, There, Everywhere


Game Objective:

To develop cardiovascular endurance and fundamental movement skills.


Recommended Equipment:




In a classroom


How to Play:

  1. Players move where the leader directs them. HERE always stays the same, it is where the leader is standing. THERE is where the leader is pointing to at the time. EVERYWHERE allows players to move anywhere they want in the room. 

  2. Either select the type of movement or provide a list for players to complete. The players cannot repeat a movement and therefore will practice all the movement types. 

  • Sample Movement: Fast feet, baby steps, big feet, sneaky feet, penguin feet, etc. 


Safety Considerations:

Push in chairs to provide clear pathways to move.



The movement list can be created in order to be creative, sport specific, age appropriate, and linked to curricular needs. 


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Eye of the Storm. p. 48


Hopscotch Games (Tossy, Potsy, Hopsy)


Game Objective: Target

To toss accurately and hop correctly through a maze of squares.


Recommended Equipment:

Potsies (rocks or pebbles)

Various hopscotch patterns (see next page for ideas)


How to Play:

  • Tossy

Each player uses a ‘potsy’ such as a rock or pebble because its bounce is so unpredictable. There is no hopping in this game, only tossing. The players all toss their ‘potsy’ from a designated spot, each taking alternating turns.


They toss their potsy into space #1 and wait until their next turn to toss it into #2 and so on until someone reaches the last number successfully. Any potsy that lands on a line or out of the targeted number means that the thrower must try that number on their next turn until they successfully stay inside the target.


This game is relatively easy since the throwers are close to the first few numbers but it becomes increasingly harder as the numbers get farther away. 


  • Potsy

In this version, the first player stands in a designated spot outside the first space. The player tosses his/her ‘potsy’ in space one. If the potsy lands outside the space or on a line his/her turn is over. If it lands inside the space, the player hops over space 1 into space 2 and on through the pattern and back to space 2, bends over and picks up their potsy, hops into space 1 and then out. Hacing been successful the player continues trying to toss the potsy into space 2. If successful, the player hops into every space but space 2 and comes back to space 3, bends over to pick up his/her potsy, and hops through the spaces2 and 1 and out. If successful, the player continues until either the potsy misses its space or a hopping error is made. When this happens, the other player takes a turn. Players may begin their next turn where they were when they previously made an error. The first player to complete all numbers in the pattern is the winner. 


  • Hopsy

The first player hops down, through, or around the pattern, keeping his/her balance and not stepping on any lines. He/she also have to hop all the way back and out. If successful, he/she can use one of his/her potsies to mark any number as his/her home. He/she may rest in his/her home space during any future trips. If he/she makes a mistake on any trip his/her turn is ended.


The second player now takes his/her turn hopping through the design. He/she may not hop in any home of player 1 but if he/she is successful he/she may mark his/her own home space at the end.


After each player has had a turn, the first player goes again, and so on until a player is unable to complete the hopping due to too many home spaces of the other players or until a player accumulate more home spaces than the others. 


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Active Playgrounds. p. 4



Hopscotch Patterns











































Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Active Playgrounds. p. 2


Card Sharks


Game Objective:

To perform as many card tasks as possible.


Recommended Equipment:

Basketballs (one per pair), one to two decks of playing cards



Explain to players what the cards indicate: black cards = bounce pass, red cards = chest pass, number on card = number of passes (Ace = 1, Jack = 11, Queen = 12, King – 13).


How to Play:

Players begin by finding a partner and a place to stand around the gym. The leader will stand in the centre of the gym holding the cards. One partner runs to the middle and grabs a card, returns to their partner and then they perform the type and number their card indicates. For example: 10 of spade = 10 bounce passes. As soon as they complete that task the other player runs to the middle and grabs a new card. 



This game can also be adapted into a shooting game where the black cards are free throws and red cards are lay-ups.


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. HOOP it UP.



Cards and Suits


Game Objective:

To be the first team to find all the card in the given order. 


Recommended Equipment:

One or two decks of playing cards for each game and a paper with a prepared list of suits for each team. This game can also be played with decks that show different objects such as animals, birds, and flowers.



  • Spread out the playing cards face down on the floor at the end line.

  • Make a list for each team (e.g. heart, spade, heart, club, diamond).


How to Play:

  • The first layer runs down to the pile of cards and brings a card back to his/her team.

  • If it matches the card on the list, she/he keeps it. If not, the next player takes that card back and brings back a different card, always trying to find the next suit on the paper.

  • The first team to find all the cards in the given order wins. 



Teams can race to find “pairs”, “straights”, “flushes”, etc.


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Ready, Set, Relay. p. 48



Larry Curly, Moe


Type: Active


Age: Children


Game Objective:

To be the first player to touch the ball in your group name. 


Recommended Equipment:

Ball or Object


How to Play:

Players sit in a circle and the leader divides them into three groups by names. Each player is named Larry, Curly, or Moe. The three characters must be side by side. Place a ball or object in the middle of the circle. The leader yells out one of the stooges’ names, i.e.: “Larry”. All the Larry’s then get up and race outside the circle. When Larry is running, Curly and Moe put their fee together like a bridge. When the Larry’s get back to their spot, they go under the footbridge and try to be the first player to touch the ball! The game starts over by the leader calling another name. 


Safety Considerations:

Consider specifying a running direction (e.g. counter-clockwise, or clockwise) to prevent players from running into others face on. 


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario.



Everybody It Ball Tag


Game Objective:

To throw balls at the legs of other players to “freeze” them, and to cooperatively unfreeze other players by throwing a ball through their arms. 


Recommended Equipment

Small gator balls or soft foam balls



Scatter balls throughout the playing area


How to Play:

   Skills and Concepts: underhand roll and underhand throw.

  • On a signal from the leader, players pick up one ball at a time and attempt to tag other players with the ball by rolling it at their legs.

  • When players are hit, they must drop their ball, if they’re holding one, and they have to freeze with their arms forming a circle in front of their bodies, like a hoop.

  • Another player has to stand a few metres away and toss a ball underhand through the hoop (arms) to free the frozen player and allow the player back into the game.

  • Players choose whether to roll a ball at someone to get them out or whether to free a frozen player by tossing a ball through the hoop. 


Safety Considerations:

Remind students that underhand rolls and underhand throws are to be used. 



Assign small number of players to be the only ones allowed to free frozen players. They can wear pinnies and may not be tagged by the other players. 


Teaching Comments:

  Strategies and Tactics:

  • Be aware of other players and be ready with a ball in hands.

  • Try to pursue other players who are not holding balls.

  • Stealthily approach other players from behind. 


Questions for Understanding :

   ?   What did you do to improve your chances of hitting another player with a ball?

   ?   How did you decide whether to free a player or get another player out?


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. FUNdational Games: Manipulative Skills. p. 9.



Skunk Tag


Game Objective:

For the taggers to change free players into skunks.


Recommended Equipment:

Pool noodles or foam balls and pinnies



  • Appoint one tagger for every five to eight players.

  • Taggers can wear pinnes for identification.


How to Play:

Skills and Concepts: Static balances: Stork stand and one-legged balance


  • Instead of using their hands, taggers can use pool noodles or foam balls for tagging.

  • Tagged players are transformed into skunks and must balance on one foot while holding their noses

  • Tagged players must continue to balance until a free player sets them free by standing in front of them and pretending to spray them with sweet smelling perfume. 

  • Change the taggers often. 


Teaching Comments:

Strategies and Tactics:

  • Look ahead at a spot on the wall.

  • Hold arms out to the side like an airplane. 


Questions for Understanding: 

   ?   When tagged, which balance did you choose to perform? Why?


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. FUNdational Games; Balance, Stability & Locomotor Skills. p. 6.



Fox & Goose



Game Objective:

For the fox to tag all the geese and for the geese to avoid being tagged by the fox. 


Recommended Equipment:

Outdoor field 

Fresh Snow



Using as many participants as possible, form a large circle in the fresh snow. Everyone then shuffles their feet as they make a large pie shaped circle in the snow. The group then proceeds to divide the pie into eight sections, again using their feet. In the center is a hub were all the sections intersect. 


How to Play:

Choose one or two to be the foxes and the rest are the geese. The Fox chases the geese by following the lines. The geese must stay on the lines too. When a fox tags a goose they are it and can either be eliminated or become foxes. The game ends when all the geese have been caught.



  1. The fox must be on the same line as a goose in order for a tag to count.

  2. No jumping from one line to another. All players must change lines only at intersections.

  3. Make two Fox and Goose games where they are joined at the wheel like a pair of glasses. 


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Winter Play. p. 10.



Rock, Paper, Scissors Snowball Train



Game Objective:

To be the RPS winner with one long train behind you. 


Recommended Equipment:



How to Play:

Everyone begins by playing an RPS (Rock, Paper, Scissors) game against another player. Players begin by facing each other and jumping in the air, landing in one of the three positions: (1) Rock: Crouched down with arms around knees, (2) Paper: Standing straight with arms at their sides, (3) Scissors: Standing with one foot and arm forward and the other  foot and arm back. The loser stands behind the winner and places their hands on the winner’s shoulders. The winner begins to move their train until they meet another train. The two winners play RPS with the losing train hitching onto the winning team. This pattern continues with the group until there is only one long train. 


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Nothing But Play.






RPS Football



Game Objective:

To outrun and RPS the other team.


Recommended Equipment:

Goal line either on the floor or identified by cones. 


How to Play:

  • Play begins with two teams of three to four players lining up at their own goal line.

  • On the official’s signal to begin a player at the front of each line runs ahead to meet the front layer form the other team. When those two players meet they play a game of RPS. The losing player runs back to the end of their line.

  • The winning player carries the football and continues to run towards the other team’s goal line – if there are three ties. As soon as the losing player begins to run back, the next player in line for the losing team runs forward to meet the opposing player. When these new two people meet they play RPS and continue with a new RPS challenge.

  • As soon as one team wins at RPS and crosses the other team’s goal line, they score a touchdown and the next player from each team runs forward to begin a new series of downs. 


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Why Paper and Scissors ROCK. p. 19.





Keep It Up


Game Objective:

To keep the balloon airborne for one minute. 


Recommended Equipment:

Three inflated balloons.





How to Play:

The player must, for the complete minute, keep three inflated balloons airborne and prevent the balloons from touching the ground. The player may use her arms, legs, and feet, but once one balloon touches the ground, the challenge is over. 


Safety Considerations:

There should be no body contact between players, and players should be warned to watch where they are going if they are moving while looking up at the balloon. Also, players cannot jump (to prevent injuries).



Have younger players work with partners to keep the balloons floating for 60 seconds. As another variation, have players keep two balloons in the air, but allow them to use only one hand. 



Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Tick Tock Beat the Clock. p. 5.




Lawn Bottle


Game Objective:

To score the most points by tossing a water bottle into the hoops. 


Recommended Equipment:

Six water bottles (three are filled 1/3 with water, 3 are filled 1/3 with coloured water)

Two hoops



  • Enough players to make two equal teams.

  • Divide the players into two equal teams.

  • Set up the two hoops an equal distance apart from each other.

  • Have each team line up behind a hoop facing the target hoop (at a distance that is age appropriate), and give each team three water bottles (one team will have bottles with just water, and the other will have the bottles with coloured water). 


How to Play:

  1. Teams alternate one toss at a time, tossing their bottles at the target.

  2. Teams score three points if the bottle lands and stays in the hoop, and one point for each bottle that is closer to the hoop than the other team’s. 



Move the target or change the target (i.e. a pole, a recycling bin). 


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Replay. p. 8.





Night at the Museum


Game Objective:

To avoid being caught by the Museum Keeper


Recommended Equipment:




Select one player to be the Museum Keeper. All other players will find their own personal space in the gym.


How to Play:

Skills and Concepts: Balancing and sneaking


  1. Tell the players they are statues at a museum and they come alive at night, but they must not get caught by the Museum Keeper. 

  2. Players begin by standing or sitting in a statue pose and the Museum Keeper begins walking around the room.

  3. When the Museum Keeper has his back to the statues, they begin to move around and freeze in a pose at a new level (e.g. high, medium, low).

  4. If the Museum Keeper turns around and sees a moving statue, that player becomes the new Museum Keeper.


Questions for Understanding:

   ?   What made it difficult to change poses?

   ?   What kind of a pose was easiest to hold?

   ?   What helped you to maintain a pose without moving?


*Adapted from “Knight at the Museum” in Nothing But Play, CIRA Ontario

Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Teaching GROOVE for Understanding. p. 19.







Game Objective:

To score more buckets than the other team.


Recommended Equipment:

  • Two buckets

  • One gator (or sponge) ball

  • Pinnies



  • Two teams of five players start in basketball formation.

  • A player holds a bucket while standing in a hula hoop in the centre back of each key.

  • The leader holds the ball at centre court for a jump ball.


How to Play:

  • When a player gets the ball, he or she may pivot but not dribble or otherwise move with the ball. 

  • The player has three seconds to either pass or shoot the ball.

  • A violation of either rule means that the ball is given to a player from the other team at the place of the infraction

  • No player from either team is allowed in the circle containing the bucket

  • If a ball is thrown but not caught by a teammate, the other team gets the ball at the location on the floor where the ball was dropped or missed.

  • If a team scores a point by getting the ball in the bucket, a player from the other team may enter the circle to retrieve the ball and throw the ball into play from inside the circle. 



  • Use a larger bucket to make the game easier.

  • Use a smaller bucket to make the game more difficult.

  • Place the bucket on the floor with no player holding it. 


*Taken from “Bang for Your Buck” by CIRA Ontario.

Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Extra-Ordinary Games. p. 2.




Scooter Garbage Ball


Game Objective:

To advance the ball and score a basket in the other team’s container. 


Recommended Equipment:

Scooters, volleyballs, and plastic garbage cans or pails.


How to Play:

  1. One team starts at centre court with the ball. Use a volleyball rather than a basketball.

  2. Players dribble while on the scooter and try to pass their teammates. If the individual falls off the scooter while dribbling, attempting to pass, or catching a pass, the other team gets the ball.

  3. A score is completed when a player successfully tosses the ball into the garbage can at her opponent’s end of the court.

  4. Once a score is made, the opposing team begins at centre court with the ball. If required, use appropriate boundaries (e.g. basketball court).



Rather than using a garbage can, hang a hula hoop from the end basketball hoops; players score points if they throw the ball through the hoop. 


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Scooters & Hoops. p. 6.




Tape Tag


Game Objective:

For players to “stick” others with their tape roll while trying to avoid being “stuck” by another player’s tape.


Recommended Equipment:

Little rolled pieces of masking tape.



  • Give each player five pieces of rolled masking tape.

  • Instruction each player to hold one piece of tape and place the others over a finger on their other hand. 


How to Play:

  1. Each player needs to run around the playing area attempting to place their five pieces of tape on five different players, while trying to avoid having tape put on themselves. 

  2. Tape can only be placed on the back, arms, or legs of other players.

  3. After all of a player’s tape is gone, they must avoid other players with tape until the game is stopped.

  4. Players cannot re-tape a piece of tape that has been placed on them.

  5. The winner is the player with the fewest pieces of tape on them when the game ends.


Used with permission by CIRA Ontario. TAG, TAG, & Even More TAG. p. 35.




Toilet Tag


Game Objective:

For Taggers to tag other players with toilet brushes, transforming them into toilets. 


Recommended Equipment:

Several clean toilet brushes or plungers.



  • Choose three or four players to be the Taggers.

  • Give each Tagger a clean toilet brush or plunger.


How to Play:

  1. The Taggers need to try to tag the free players with a clean toilet brush or plunger. 

  2. If tagged, players become a toilet by squatting down on one knee with the same side hand raised up for flushing purposes.

  3. To be freed, a free player must push the “toilet’s” hand down to “flush”.

  4. Toilets make a flushing noise, circle once, and then they are free. Those who free the toilets wash their hands till their toilet finishes flushing. 

  5. Change Taggers frequently. 


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. TAG, TAG, & Even More TAG. p. 35.

Toss & Add


Good for grades 1-3


Game Objective:

To mix up balls, to practice math & numeracy


Recommended Equipment

50 numbered balls


How to Play:

  • Players stand in a circle.

  • Players make eye contact with someone else, and throw balls to switch. They then show each other the numbers and add them up.

  • If a ball drops, retrieve it and continue playing. 


Safety Considerations:

Remind students to throw underhand. 


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. 50 Games with 50 Tennis Balls. p. 8.



Set Shoot


Game Objective:

To quickly add the finders shown by the players.


Recommended Equipment:



How to Play:

  1. In pairs, players assume a “sumo-stare” with their opponent with their hands behind their backs.

  2. One player says, “set,” and when the opponent says, “shoot,” both players throw their hands in front to reveal their numbers.

  3. Players quickly add up all the shown fingers.

  4. The first player to be correct finds another winner, while the “loser” runs to the other side and back to challenge someone else.



  • Change the operation to multiplication or play with three players in a ”ready-set-shoot” triangle. 

  • Change the physical challenge such as running, jumping jacks, or a thirty second plank pose.

  • Play this game while players are dribbling a basketball. With their free hand, they play “set-shot” with other teammates; whether they win or lose, they dribble away to play someone else. 

  • Want to keep score? Each time someone wins, they get a marker from the leader (e.g. clothespin or popsicle stick), and the player with the most markers at the end of the game wins. 


*Adapted from one of our most popular resources: Follow the Leader, 2011, CIRA Ontario

Used with permission from CIRA Ontario.Counting on Fun. p. 30.







Dressing in theme!


  1. Lab coat

  2. Safety glasses

  3. Head lamp


Music that suits the theme!

  1. “She Blinded Me with Science” by Thomas Dolby

  2. “Weird Science” by Oingo Boingo



Amoeba Tag


How to Play:

A game where the Amoeba gets bigger as it tags people. IT touches someone and they join in a circle. Continue until everyone is touched and part of the Amoeba. 


Create Mixtures

How to Play:

Have students create the best mixture from basic ingredients. Nothing that stains should be used. (smelliest, nicest scent, etc.).



How to Play:

Play a game of Survival on the yard. Designate an animal for each person and play tag according to nature. For example, the wolf would chase the mice, mice hide, and man shoots all. 


Blob Tag

How to Play:

A game where one person starts as IT and tries to collect everyone onto their blob. The blob will divide into two when it reaches four players. 


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Play Day May Day. p. 31.



Kings’ Court 


Game Objective:


Recommended Equipment:

Lots of gator balls, cones



Playing area: gymnasium, outdoor tarmac, playing field


How to Play:

King’s Court is the most common and widely played of all the dodgeball games and for many it brings back memories of “murderball” from years ago. Teams play to eliminate members of the other team. When a player is hit, they cross over to the other teams end. In most gyms there will be a line to stand behind or you can use cones to establish an end zone. Players who have been hit can re-enter this game and play again for their team when they either pick up a loose ball in the end zone or get a ball tossed to them from a teammate. (Remember to ensure safety, no throwing from behind). It is very unlikely the game will ever end with a winning team and that’s a good thing!


Safety Considerations:

Remind students of the specified target zones on the body (e.g. waist down) and no head shots!



This is the basic version of dodgeball, you can find many other variations in CIRA’s “The World’s Greatest Dodgeball Games” resource at: 


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Dodgeball Games. p. 3.



Beat the Wall


Game Objective:

To score on the opponent’s goal using a balloon and pool noodles.


Recommended Equipment

One large noodle for every player

4-5 balloons (a few extra, in case one pops)


How to Play:

  • This game is best if played in a gym. Divide the group into two teams. Each team begins on one half of the “court” and must protect their goal – the end wall.

  • The game can be played in other playing areas, with different goals. For example, in the classroom, two opposite walls can be the goal.

  • Play begins by throwing the balloon into the air at centre court. Players keep the balloon in the air using their pool noodles, and cannot touch the balloon with any part of their bodies. 


Safety Considerations:

There should be no body contact between players, and players should be warned to watch where they are going if they are moving while looking up at the balloon. Also, players cannot jump (to prevent injuries).


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Oodles of Noodles. p. 11.





Game Objective:

To make a basket before the player ahead of you and bump them out of the game. 


Recommended Equipment:

Two basketballs per hoop. 



Five to eight players per hoop.

Use lots of hoops.


How to Play:

  • Bump may be one of the most difficult shooting games to explain. But once players get it, they love it. It’s a game that requires two basketballs and can accommodate any number of players. The object is for a player to make a basket before the player in front of you and bump them out of the game. No points are scored; the sole object is to be the last player standing. 

  • Players line up, single-file at either the free-throw  or three-point line. The first two players are given a ball. The first player shoots. The second player can shoot as soon as the player in front of them has released the ball.

  • If a player misses their initial shot, they get their rebound and try to score. As long as they make their follow-up shot before the player behind them puts their ball in the basket, they are still in the game. Because there are two balls in play, a common strategy is to aim to knock the other player’s ball away from the goal and buy time to make a shot (hence the name “bump”)/

  • As soon as a player hits a shot, they pass it back to the next player and move to the back of the line. The game proceeds this way until there is only one player left. 



  1. Progressive Bump uses more hoops and allows more kids to play. Start with five-six kids at every hoop. One hoop is designated as the champion hoop and the goal is to stay at this hoop. Every time someone gets bumped they move down one hoop and if you bump another player you move up a hoop. At times there may be hoops with no players but that shouldn’t last for too long.

  2. Reverse Bump allows players, when they opportunity is right, to bump players behind them. When the first two players in the line have a ball, this occurs frequently during the game, and the first player makes a perfect shot – no rim, just pure swish – they bump out the player behind them. Bump games that introduce this variation are very popular. 


Teaching Comments:

  • Bump is also known as “lightning”, “cut-throat’, or “knock out’. For safety reasons, have players always make a bounce pass to pass the ball to the player waiting in line. A popular streetball game allows players to intentionally bump their opponent’s basketballs away from them off a rebound. This tends to create a very competitive game.

  • Laurie Burnet, from Florence M. Heard P.S. with the Durham District S.B., suggests as a variation to allow up to three players to shoot at the same time. If the third player makes a basket before the players in front then they are both eliminated. Therefore, there are more shooters, there’s more pressure and a lot more fun.


Used with permission from CIRA Ontario. Hoops & Hoopla. p. 2-3.





CIRA Ontario

PO Box 99072 RPO Heritage Green, Stoney Creek ON L8J 2P7

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