Cooperative Activities

Team Baseball

Make a baseball field in your gym using a tumbling mat at each base. Lineup a team at home plate in a single file line and put the other team spread out around the outfield. One student from the batting team will step up to home plate and hit (tennis racket, bat, arm) a ball anywhere in the gym. As soon as the ball is hit the team that is up to bat runs around the bases in a single file line. As they run the fielding team gets the batted ball and begins passing the ball around to each of the outfielders. As they pass the ball to another outfielder they sit down. When the hitting team all makes it home we look at the fielding team and count the numbers of players left standing. That number is the score that the batting team gets for their hit. I use three hits and then switch positions. The fielding team could also get in a single file line and pass the hit ball over the head and then through the legs to the back of the line if you want to mix it up a little bit.

Mat Fold

Create groups of students of 6-10. Give each group a large unfolded mat. Ask the students to fold the mat up the correct way without anyone in the group touching the ground. Add more members to make it tougher.

Bench Ball

Split your class into two equal teams and put a team on each side of the gym. Place an unfolded mat near the back wall of each court. Pick one student from each team to start the game as the teams catcher. The catcher starts on the opposite side of the gym. Dump out a good number of gator balls across the gym. Students job is to try to get the entire team onto their teams mat (on the opposite side of the gym) Students are to throw a ball from their side of the gym to their catcher. If their catcher catches their pass they get to join the catcher on the mat and become a catcher themselves. Students may play defense, but may not touch the other teams mat at any time. The first team to get everyone on the mat would be the winner. If at any time a catcher on the mat falls or steps off the mat they are sent back to their side of the gym to complete another pass.

Human Knot

Create groups of students of 4 to 5. Have students stand in a circle and connect hands with other members of the circle. Make sure students do not connect with the same person with both hands. After connecting, have students move their connections from the hands to the wrists (allows students to twist without injury). Ask students to move their bodies to allow the group to untangle the groups knot/knots. Students may find that they create multiple circles and/or bring facing different directions. Create larger groups to up the level of difficulty.

Boogie Board Slide

Create groups of 5ish students. Find boogie boards or surfboards or sometime that can be used like a boogie board and a bunch of tennis balls. Have students place one rider on top of the boogie board. Have the other students place tennis balls in front of the board to allow the rider to move the board across the gym. To make this task tougher you can give the rider a paddle of some sort which is the only method to power the board across the tennis balls. Switch riders to ensure everyone gets an opportunity.

Pipe Race

Cut Large PVC piping in half to create half pipes. Give teams of students three or four half pipes to use to move a ball from one side of the gym to the other. Students may not touch the ball or move their feet while the ball is in their pipe. Students need to move the ball from one pipe to another to get it across the gym. Use different types of balls (racquet, marbles, golf balls, tennis balls) to make it more difficult. Tie strings onto the pipes and require students to use the strings to make it even more difficult.

Team Juggling

Put students in team of more than 4 (can be as big as you want) and have them stand in a circle. Students start with a soft ball that is easy to catch. One students throws the ball to another student in their group. That student then throws it to another student and so on until everyone has thrown the ball to someone. Nobody should get the ball twice in one sequence. The last person to catch the ball would toss it to the person who started it. Sometimes it is best for students to call out names before making throws. Each student will now throw and catch to the same person. Run through the sequence a few times to ensure everyone knows who they will throw to and catch from. Add a second ball into the action. Students continue to throw in the same order. Continue adding balls as the groups continues being successful or make the group larger and start a new sequence.

Parachute Pass

Using two large 20ft parachutes, have students practice lifting and lowering the parachute together simultaneously. Put a ball in the middle of the parachute to practice flinging the ball high into the air. Have students practice trying to fling it in different directions. Ask students to fling their ball from their parachute to another parachute held by another group.

Word Challenges
Have students try to work together to uncover the word mixes and their meanings. Make it active by asking students to perform activities when they successfully answer challenges or when they incorrectly answer.

Shoe Challenge

Ask each students to untie one shoe and kick it somewhere in the gym being careful not to hit anyone else. Put students in groups of 5 or 6 and have them create a circle holding onto each others shoulders. Students must them move around the gym finding each others shoes and helping one another get their shoe back on. Students may not use hands at any time.

Stepping Stones

Use buckets or poly dots to create stepping stones that students must use to cross a certain distance. Tell students that they must keep a body part touching each stepping stone or they will lose it (it sinks into the water or lava). Students must find a way to get everyone in their group from one side to the other while not touching the ground.

Climbing Challenge

Students try to climb across as many panels of the climbing wall as possible. When they have crossed the panels they report to me the number of panels that they completed. I add up the number of panels and multiple them by 4' to get a total number of feet the class has climbed. Classes try to climb higher that local building or mountains (Columbia Tower 937 feet or Mt. Rainier at 14, 411 ft.) Classes can also try to compete against one another to see who can climb the highest.

Counting Challenge

Put together teams of 9 or 10. Ask students to try to count as a group to the number of students on each team. Only one person may say one number at a time, students may not use any signals, students may not create a routine to follow. The saying of numbers must be random. If two people say a number at the same time or if one person says two numbers or if a signal or routine is used the group must start over.

Pot of Gold

Put students into teams of 4 or 5. Give each team a pot (bucket or hula hoop). Place a load of gold (bean bags/tennis balls) in the middle of the gym. Place students in single file lines. Remind students to high five one another when they return from their turn (to ensure only one person goes at a time). On each students turn, students get to take one piece of gold from the middle, from their own, or from another teams pile. Students may only take one piece of gold during a turn. Different rounds may be played. Teams can try to get the most pieces of gold or the least amount of gold.

Team Tag

Put your class into groups or squads. Give each member in one squad a tagging ball or item. That squad will try to tag everyone down as fast as they can. When everyone is down tell them their time and give the next squad a chance to do it. Stress the importance of using one another to trap the quicker runners to get them down.

Rope Challenge

Get 4 or 5 long (50 ft.) ropes. Tie 8 knots in the rope and put about 8 kids on each rope. Students grab onto the rope (not at the knot) with one hand. That hand has to stay attached to the rope at all times. It cannot slide or let go of the rope at any time. Using their other hand and their classmates they are to try to untie all of the knots on the rope. If they succeed, see if they can do the same thing backwards to put a few knots back in the middle of the rope.

Pass the Things

In squad rows, place a hoop on one line and put 6-8 objects in the hoop. Students must pass the items using their feet or legs only! If the object hits the ground, it goes back to the front and start over with that object. (Frisbee, tennis ball, dot, bowling pin, cone, balls etc.)


Groups of 6, using 2 hoops students must get to the other side and can't touch the ground unless you are in the hoop. Hoops can't be pushed forward with your feet. Only picked up and placed down.

Common Commotion

1st day with the older kids. All kids get a dot and make a circle with one person in the middle. Person in the middle says what they did over the summer. I went swimming! Anyone who went swimming has to find a new dot and you can't go to the one next to you. Last person who doesn't find a dot is in the middle and takes a turn. You can have someone say I am in 5th grade and then all students have to move.

Scooter Races

Make groups of 5 or 6. Each group gets 2 scooters. Each team member will get at least one chance to ride the scooter around the course. One person on each rider needs to connect to one another. The other team members are the motor of the scooter. They will push and pull the scooter around the course. Allow students to practice and try different things before running the race. Everyone on the team must be with the scooter at all times.

Knight of the Round Table

Setup 10 pins on each side of the gym. Place mats in the middle of the gym. The goal of each team is to knock down all 10 pins on the other teams side. Each team has three jobs that they will rotate through. Catapults lay on the mats and launch balls towards the other teams' castles (pins). Pages are on their feet and retrieve balls and give them to the catapults. Pages are not allowed to guard castles or throw at castles. Knights are the final job and they ride on scooter boards and are in charge of guarding the castles. They can't throw at castles. Rotate every couple of minutes.

Receiver Rescue

Split the class into two teams. Each team selects two players who will start out as the quarterbacks. Everyone else will go to a selected spot on the other side of the gym that is called the receiver zone (I called it the jail). When the game starts the quarterbacks throw the balls to their receivers. If a catch is made, then the receiver gets to join the quarterback on their side. The goal is to be the first team to have all of the receivers on their side of the playing field. When a receiver catches a ball and goes back to their side, they can turn into a quarterback of defensive back who is knocking down the passes from the other team. If a quarterbacks pass is ever caught by the opposite team, the quarterback is sent to jail. If the defensive back ever goes into the receiver's area, they are sent back to jail.

Cooperative Knockout

Split the class into two teams. Each team has three people standing on polydots on their side of the gym. Everyone else sets up a bowling pin in a certain area (I did it on the black dots on my floor). The difference between this game and regular pindown is that students can only roll or throw from the front line. We call this the throwing zone. In doing so, they will have to leave their pins to make throws or rolls and will want teammates to help guard it. I ask throwers to look back after each throw to make sure that their pin is still standing. When a pin is knocked down, they take their pin to the line of kids on polydots and give it to the first person in line.

Find a Partner

When the music starts have the kids moving around the gym using whatever locomotor skill you want. When the music stops, ask the kids to find a partner to shake hands with. This will be their shake hands partner. Students are to make a different partner for each: high five partner, toe to toe partner, back to back partner, side by side shake partner, thumb wrestle partner. Make a call with a series of partner calls or change the commands quickly.

Team Work Tag

Pick three or four students to be taggers. Everyone else is trying to stay alive. When a student is tagged, they either lay down on their backs of sit down on their rear. If a student is sitting on their rear, they need two people who have not been tagged to each grab a hand and pull them up. When pulled up, they are back in the game. If a student lays on their backs, they will need 4 students, one for each limb, to carry them to a hula hoop that is placed in the corner of the gym. Once there the person is revived. We don't allow taggers to tag when they are holding on to a teammate.

Hungry Hungry Hippos

This is a favorite of the kids. Put a bunch of balls (tennis and gator) in the middle of the gym. Place two scooter boards (connected), one milk crate, one big tub, and a rope (older kids) in each corner of the gym. Assign students to corner. Students are to ride the scooterboard on their belly and hold the milk crate with their hands. The crate is the mouth of the hippo and tries to trap balls underneath it. For the younger students we have a couple of hippo drivers who push the hippo out to the middle to get the marbles. For the older students, they give their hippo a push to the middle and retrieve them by putting the rope around their ankle (slip knot). Pick a magic ball to be the winning ball or play to see who gets the final ball. Lots of fun!