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25 Gym Class Games

10/25/21, 8:42 AM
25 Gym Class Games
Resources / Sports
25 Gym Class Games
Finding creative and engaging games for your gym class that encourage teamwork doesn’t have to be a
challenge! This list is broken down by simple equipment you may already have available for your class,
as well as equipment-free games.
Hula Hoop Games
1. Hula Hoop Hot Potato - Students get in groups of four and are each given a hula hoop and a bean
bag (or you can use several bean bags). Lay down the hoops in the shape of a square on the floor
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10/25/21, 8:42 AM
25 Gym Class Games
2. Hula Hootenanny - This game is like musical chairs but without elimination. Make a circle on the
floor with eight to 10 hula hoops. Have students walk in single file around the outside of the
hoops while the music plays. When the music stops, they must put one foot inside the hoop
(more than one student can put their foot in a hoop). Take away one hoop and start the music
3. Hungry Caterpillars - Before the game, place objects on the ground such as cones, poly spots or
foam balls. Divide students into teams of five to six players and give each team a hula hoop. Have
teams put their hula hoop on the floor in a line and stand inside the hoop (hoops should be
touching). This line is your team’s caterpillar. The goal is to collect the objects placed around the
gym by moving your caterpillar around the gym cooperatively. The way the caterpillar moves is
the last person steps into the hoop in front of them and passes the one they just stepped out of to
the front, where the front person lays it down and steps into it. Everyone shifts forward and that
is how the caterpillars moves! Only the front of the caterpillar may pick up items but then passes
them back to be carried by other team members. The game ends when all the items have been
4. Hula Pass - This is an easy game that encourages teamwork and creative thinking. The whole
class holds hands and tries to pass a hula-hoop by stepping through it and “passing” it to the
person next to them. The goal is to get the hula-hoop completely around the circle without
breaking hands.
Coordinate gym class volunteers with a sign up. SAMPLE
Foam Ball Games
5. Battle Ball - Divide your class into two teams, and give each student gets a soft throwing ball. Put
a large exercise ball at center court. The object is to move the exercise ball over a predetermined
scoring line of the opposing team, moving it ONLY by throwing the soft balls at it. Players cannot
cross the center court and cannot try to hit other players (like dodgeball) or they must sit down.
6. Pin Ball Knock Out - This is like dodgeball, but students knock over pins instead of their friends!
You will also need plastic bowling pins for this game. Line up pins on the baselines of both ends of
the gym and place a line of balls on the center line. Kids can't cross the centerline, but try to
throw or roll the balls to knock over the pins. The first team to knock over all the pins of their
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- Start by creating a “throwing pit” using the middle circle of the gym. Stand tumbling
mats upright on their sides to form barriers at four locations around the gym to form a “hideout”
from incoming balls. Choose a player to be Got
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10/25/21, 8:42 AM
25 Gym Class Games
inside of the center circle. The remaining students run in the same direction outside the
perimeter of the mats, trying not to get hit. The catch is that they can only stay behind the mat
for a count of three and then must make a run for the next “hideout.” Whenever a player is hit
below the waist, they are become a thrower in the center. Play for a set time or until everyone is
in the center and then you can start over!
Equipment-Free Games
8. Captain’s Coming - Similar to Simon Says but with a nautical theme! One person is “captain” and
calls out actions and dismisses players who don’t do the actions quickly or are out of character.
Some command ideas include: “Starfish”(get in a group of five and lay down in shape of starfish),
“Crow’s Next” (get in a group of three and lock arms at the elbows to form the nest) or “Shark
Attack” (lie on back with feet up in the air).
9. Line Tag (Pac Man Tag) - Using the lines of the gym floor, pick out one to three “ghosts” and the
rest of the students are “Pac Man” players. Spread out on the lines of the gym and have ghosts
(possibly designate them with a vest or have them wave arms like a ghost) chase the Pac Man
players while staying on the lines. If a Pac Man player is tagged, they must sit down and become a
roadblock for other Pac Man players, but ghosts may go around roadblocks. You can also add
additional lines with painter’s tape if you have a large class. No jumping from line to line, and the
last players left untagged become ghosts for the next round of play.
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10. Caterpillar Races - Divide the class into four teams (two teams will sit out and cheer on the other
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teams as they take turns) and the two “racing” teams must sit down in a line with their knees bent
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and keep a hold of the ankles of the person behind them. Mark a finish line and once the whistle
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25 Gym Class Games
is blown, teams must scoot along, without letting go of the ankles of the person behind them,
scooting forward and inching along like a caterpillar until they reach the finish line.
11. Dog Catcher Tag - For this game, it is useful to have gym class jerseys/vests. An alternative is to
have dog catchers run with one arm waving in the air, yelling “Get Those Puppies!” Divide teams
into four corners and mark out a “cage” with painter’s tape. One corner is the dog catchers and
when the whistle blows, all the puppies get loose from their cages and run from the dog catchers.
As puppies are caught, they return to their cage until all the puppies are caught. Then another
group gets a turn as dog catchers and so on.
12. Toilet Tag - What kid doesn’t love a game with some bathroom humor? The twist on this tag game
is that once you are tagged, you kneel down and hold out your arm like a toilet handle and must
be “flushed” by another runner in order to become un-tagged (or unclogged, ha!).
13. Giants, Elves and Wizards - Similar to “Rock, Paper, Scissors” but for teams. The rules are: Giants
beat Wizards, Wizards beat Elves, and Elves beat Giants. There are two teams, and team
members consult secretly to determine what their character will be. Once they decide, everyone
comes to center court and on the count of three, they all do their action. The losing team runs
back to their side end of the court, and the winning team tries to tag them. Whoever is tagged
joins the other team for the next round.
Plan a school bike-a-thon with a sign up. SAMPLE
Balloon Games
14. Balloon Snake Races - Divide into two teams and line up. Blow up enough balloons to put one in
between pairs of students (with balloons between belly and back). Have races with the object
being to keep all the balloons in place (without touching them! Have students put hands on hips
to avoid the temptation to touch the balloon) as you complete a cone course, circle around a tree
or just get from one end of the gym to the other.
15. Balloon H-O-R-S-E - Give each student a balloon and divide them into small teams. Each team
will need a starting line and a hula hoop, laundry basket or other goal. Have them make up a
“trick” such as hitting the balloon three times in the air and then hitting it into the goal or
carrying it between their knees to the goal and getting it to land in the hula hoop. The other team
must replicate the trick. Each time a team is unsuccessful, they get a letter. Compete to see who
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can keep from spelling H-O-R-S-E first.
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16. Privacy
Hole in One - For a fun outdoor balloon game, fill balloons with helium and spread them
out around your playing area, staked low to the ground outside with golf tees. Use a pool noodle
Got it! on the balloon with point values (the further
to designate the throwing line and write numbers
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25 Gym Class Games
the throw, the more the points). Students toss hula hoops and try to make a loop over the balloon
and then tally up their score. Great combination of hand-eye coordination and simple math!
17. Partner Balloon Dash - Two partners have to stand back to back and place a balloon between
their shoulders and then put their hands on their hips (no helping the balloon stay in place).
Students must race together as a team to a finish line or go around an obstacle and return to the
finish line. Increase the challenge by saying they have to shuttle balloons across the gym in this
same way and the team who can shuttle the most balloons in a certain amount of time (or while a
song plays) gets to pop a few balloons!
Exercise Ball Games
18. Wall Ball - Have students lay down next to each other around the outside wall of the gym with
their legs up against the wall. Take the exercise ball and start it down the line and students have
to pass it using the wall and their feet. Once the ball has passed them, they can get up and run to
the end of the line, lay down and wait for the ball to come again. The objective is to get all the way
around the gym the fastest. For older students, make it interesting by having them lay one armslength apart. You can even time classes and have a friendly competition to see who can pass it the
19. Cannon Fire - Students divide into groups of five to six players and stand in lines on one side of
the gym. Put out cones, hoops and other objects to be fired upon. When the teacher yells “FIRE,”
students throw one ball and try to hit something in the “ocean.” If they hit a target, they get to
bring the target back to their team, and the next person in line gets the ball and throws it at a
target when the teacher yells “FIRE.” Challenge students to use their non-throwing arm or assign
“pirates” to stand out next to the objects and swat away incoming cannonballs.
Organize a fun field day with a sign up. SAMPLE
Miscellaneous Equipment
20. Card Cardio - Divide class into small groups. Post at the front of the class that each suit in the
deck of cards (hearts, spades, etc.) represents a different type of exercise (sit ups, burpees,
jumping jacks) and have a deck of cards on a desk. At the whistle, one representative of each
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25 Gym Class Games
21. Get Off The Island - Students are divided into teams of three, and each student has a scooter, a
mat, a hula hoop and a rope. The goal is to get their objects and team members to the other side
of the gym without anyone touching the floor. Students can get creative using a combination of
all their items to get across the “ocean” but if any skin touches the floor, their ship is sunk!
22. Use Your Noodle - Place a shortened length of pool noodle between the heads (right above the
ear) of two partner students. The goal is to keep it there without touching it while running over
some partner obstacles (like jumping over another large pool noodle with your partner at the
same time) and completing a partner task (like working as a team to pick up towels off the floor
and fold them) while still holding the pool noodle in place. See which partner team can work the
best in this conjoined manner!
23. Triangle Tag - Have groups of four pick one person to be “it” and have the other three students
form a triangle by holding three pool noodles between them (holding one end in each hand). Use
two noodles that are the same color, and the third is a second color. The three students must
hold on to the pool noodles while the fourth student tries to tag the student at the “top” of the
triangle (where the two pool noodles of the same color meet) with a fourth pool noodle.
24. Parachute Beach - All but seven students grab the edge of the large parachute. The majority are
the swimmers and spread out into a circle. While the parachute is elevated, five of the seven
students go under the chute to be the sharks, and the two other students remain outside the
chute to be lifeguards. (You can easily add more lifeguards and fewer sharks, depending on your
class). After the sharks are in place, swimmers sit down, still holding the parachute, and extend
their legs under the elevated chute (they can tuck it under them to help keep the air pocket
trapped inside). The “sharks” then try to gently tug the ankle of the “swimmers” (no jerking,
kicking or hard pulling or that player becomes a permanent swimmer!) before a lifeguard can
come and tag them to save them from being pulled under by the shark. Swimmers can even call
out for a lifeguard if they sense a shark approaching! If the lifeguard doesn’t get to them in time,
swimmers go under the chute and become a shark.
25. Protect the Penguin - Place foam balls across the gym and give each child a bowling pin to set up
around the gym. Each person must protect their pin AND try and knock down other players’ pins.
If your pin gets knocked down, then you are out. As more people get out, players move their pins
closer together until only one is is left standing.
The goal of any gym class is to teach kids that having fun and staying active can go hand in hand. These
ideas can help you find a new gym class game or two to keep your students laughing, working together
to keep
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Julie David lives in Charlotte, N.C., with her husband and three daughters. She is a former teacher.
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25 Gym Class Games
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