In this blog I am going to be explaining two activities that I do with my kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students. The two activities are called Rattle Snake and Elf Express. These are activities that I do during my “Top Dog Games” unit which emphasizes teamwork, cooperation, communication, and sportsmanship. These activities can be done with grades K-5, but I specifically use it with my kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade students.
- 4 Cones
- 24 colored hula hoops – 6 red, 6 blue, 6 yellow, 6 green (You can use whatever colors or quantity that you want. This is just how many I use).
- 24 colored bean bags – 6 red, 6 blue, 6 yellow, 6 green
For these two activities, I start by scattering all 24 hula hoops and bean bags around the gym randomly. I then break the students up into 4 even teams of 4-6 students each. When I split the students up, I give them 1 of 4 colors – red, blue, yellow, or green. After I give them a color, they go and sit behind that colored cone in one of the corners of the gym. You can use more or less teams based on your class size.
The first of the two activities that I do is Rattlesnake. Students will start behind their cones and stand up and hold hands so they are in a straight line. On the “go” signal, the students will travel around the gym while holding hands and attempt to collect all 6 of their team’s colored hula hoops. For example, the red team goes for the red hula hoops and they are not allowed to pick up the other colored hula hoops. When the students get to their first hula hoop, the first person in line will pick it up and the team must pass it down the chain until it gets to the last person in the line without letting go of each other’s hands. When they get the hula hoop passed all the way to the last person in their line, that student holds it with their outside hand and then they travel to the next hula hoop that is their color. Students continue this pattern until they get all 6 hula hoops. Once all hula hoops have been collected, they travel back to their cone and make a pile of them and sit down behind their cone again so I know they have completed the challenge.
For each grade level that I do this activity, I add a time challenge. For example, I may say that 2nd grade has 4 minutes to get all 6 hula hoops, and then sit down behind their cone to earn X amount of points. I alter the time limit based on the grade level to make it more appropriate for their grade level.
The 2nd of the two activities is Elf Express. I originally got this game idea from PE teacher Joey Feith. In this activity, the students are now going to take their hula hoops that they collected from rattlesnake, and put them in a straight line right next to each other. Each student in that group will then start by standing in one of them. When this game begins, the students will do a practice round to practice moving “Santa’s Sleigh” by passing the hula hoops to travel across the gym. I have the students complete a 2-minute challenge to see if they can make it to the middle circle. To move the sleigh, the student in the last hula hoop of the line, must step into the next hula hoop, and then pick up their original one and pass it down the line to their teammates until it gets to the first student in line. The first student in line then places the hoop down in the direction they want to travel and all the players will jump forward into the next hula hoop so they have traveled farther across the gym. They continue this pattern until they get to the center circle. I tell the students that anytime that they step out of their hula hoop and touch the gym floor, the entire team must freeze and count to 10 before continuing.
After doing the practice round traveling towards the center circle in the gym, I add the element of collecting toys. The students will return to where they started and will now attempt to collect all of the toys (bean bags) scattered around the gym. When the game starts, each team is now passing it the same way as earlier and they must collect as many bean bags that is their color as possible. They are not allowed to collect other team’s colored bean bags. I also like to give the students a time limit. For my Top Dog Games unit, I give each bean bag collected a point value and have a time limit to see how many they can collect while traveling around the gym.
My students love these activities. What they enjoy the most about them is completing the challenges in a designated time limit. When they complete the challenges, they always are jumping with joy in excitement that they completed it. It allows them to practice communication, teamwork, and cooperation with their team which will help them in other Top Dog Game activities that we do throughout this unit. It’s great to see them work so well together in a game setting!
About the Author:
My name is Tyler Staup and I am currently in my 3rd year teaching elementary physical education. This is my 2nd year teaching at Lincoln Elementary in Brownsburg, Indiana. My first year I taught for Lebanon Community School Corporation for Perry-Worth Elementary and Central Elementary. I am currently an INSHAPE member and serve on the Advocacy and Communications Council. One of my biggest teaching accomplishments through my first 3 years of teaching was being named “Teacher of the Year” my first year of teaching at Perry-Worth Elementary.
I am active on social media and love to share physical education in action at my school:
Facebook: Mr. Staup’s PE at Lincoln Elementary
YouTube Channel: Mr. Staup’s PE