Teach it Tuesday: Indoor Games

So my unit in PE right now is indoor games… and Victoria is having the most incredible summer weather this May! So what’s up with that?! But it is actually working out okay because a bunch of my students (and myself) are suffering from some terrible hay-fever so being in the gym while it’s gorgeous out is a blessing in disguise.

I have done about 8-9 years of summer camp so games are right up my alley when it comes to PE units. I absolutely love watch students figure out different game strategies and work together. I also love that it evens the playing field in gym, the kids who play soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc. haven’t necessarily played handball. Maybe the all star athlete isn’t the shining star when it comes to games that require a lot of spatial awareness or strategy?


1. Handball

Classic game that almost every class seems to love! I play by the rules we had when I was in elementary school (we called it “3 Ball”) – Three steps with the ball, three seconds holding the ball, and three passes before you can score. Also it’s non-contact and you can’t go in the goalie’s crease. Other than that you just need a ball, a basketball court and two hockey nets. Round robin tournament works well with a class of about 30 kids (4-5 teams).

2. The Ring

I learned this game at a workshop but may or may not have made up my own rules since because I don’t really remember how to play it. My class in the fall helped me with a few of the additional rules. The basic premise is just like capture the flag in regards to jails, teams, basic game play. The only differences are that instead of flags/beanbags each team has a “ring” (hula hoop) with tennis balls in it at the back of their side. I usually use about 10-15 tennis balls depending on how many I can scrounge up, whiffle balls will work in a pinch too! Students need to make across the back line into the safe zone (usually the basketball end line in a regular gym) without getting tagged. Once they are in the end zone they can’t be tagged but only have 10 seconds to get back to their side. Here is the real twist – they can get two tennis balls back in a turn BUT one has to be thrown back (and caught by their own player on the other side) and the other has to be run back without getting tagged.

Funny story side note: One time when I was playing this in the gym a kid was dodging a tag and accidently ran into the light switch turning off all the gym lights and when the lights came back on everyone was scrambling around on all sides of the gym trying to steal the tennis balls when they thought no one could see them – It could have been in a movie, honestly. Hilarious! 

3. Indoor Kickball

Kickball is one of my all time favourite games, based purely on fond childhood memories. Indoor Kickball hits the top of that list and I can’t wait to play it with my classes this year. If you have a line on the wall about 5-6 feet up you can call a kick that hits BELOW the line a home run – It’s pretty challenging to do! Other than that basic kickball rules (based on general baseball rules) – The best twist for this game is to use a high jump mat as home plate and to be safe the kids running home have to jump onto the mat before the ball is caught at home plate. I still have very fond memories of diving into that fluffy mat while trying to get home safe – so much fun!

4. Skittles

A middle school classic that has slight variations at every school I’ve been to. The basic premise is a dodgeball type game where each player who is on the floor has a bowling pin to protect (without touching it). Students need to try to knock down other students bowling pins while protecting their own, if a pin is knocked down the student is out and goes to the back of the line and the next player comes on. Generally you can play a half gym version with about 9 kids out with evenly spread out pins or a full gym game with 15. One of my favourite things about this game is that the kids think it’s dodgeball but they are hitting a pin instead of each other – No headshots!

Some variations for skittles:

  • Players are in teams of two with a hula hoop around their pin, one player must stay at the pin but the other can go wherever else they want
  • Time limits for holding onto the ball
  • Distances away from their pin (e.g. must be outside of a hula hoop around the pin)

What are your favourite indoor games?

Anyone out enjoying the sunshine for P.E. these days?



One thought on “Teach it Tuesday: Indoor Games

  1. Our kids are loving “Swamp” right now. Two sides, a square marked out on the gym on each side about the size of the basketball key. They must get their entire team into the “swamp” on the other side of the gym (the square) before the other team does. It’s that simple. You can tag people when they cross the center line and they must sit down where they are tagged. Someone on their side can run over and save them– holding hands = free walk back. Or someone already in the swamp can run out and save them and then they both have to walk back over the centre line and try to get back in. Puppy guarding is absolutely okay! In the end it comes down to a sprint of tag or run? and gets very exciting. If you like, I’d love to come and teach your class how to play it– it would only take a few minutes. Grab me this week while I have a student teacher and can escape my room 😉

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