Tic Tac Toe Relay – PE Activity

Tic Tac Toe relay PE activityPhysical education teacher Matt Barrows shares how to play Tic Tac Toe relay, including a description and a video of his students doing the activity:

I like to promote exercise in fun creative ways in the gym.  Anything that has the kids physically moving plus mentally thinking is an A+ in my book.  The best way to incorporate lots of physical activity is making it fun for them.

I was inspired to try the Tic Tac Toe Relays after seeing a video on social media.  It was an instant hit with my students.  This is a game that involves short vigorous activity along with thinking skills.

Equipment Needed: 

  • 9 Hula Hoops (tic tac toe board)
  • 6 markers (bean bags or scarves)
  • 1 cone to designate a starting point

How to Play Tic Tac Toe Relay: 

The game will be played 3 versus 3. Each student will have 1 placement marker (scarf). On go, the first person from each team will run down to the tic tac toe board and place their marker in one of the hula hoops. After they place the marker, they will race back to their line to high five the next student in line. The next student will then place their marker in an open hoop. The goal is to have your team get 3 in a row (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally). If all 3 markers have been played and there is no tic tac toe, the next student in line will run down and move one of their own team markers into an open hula hoop. The next team in line will stand behind the hula hoops and judge the game. After the game is over, the winning team will stay and play again. The judging team will come on to challenge, and the next 3 in line will judge the next game. The game will continue to cycle through. You can have multiple games going at a time!

The reason I love this relay game is because every student can do this and be successful while receiving the benefits of physical activity. The kids get very competitive but in an excited manner. The game always starts out fast as the kids just try to foot race to be the first to get 3 in a row.  Then they figure out that if their team is a little slower, they learn to block the other team to keep the game alive. It’s great because you don’t have to be the fastest or most athletic team to win, and everyone has a chance if they use their minds to help!

tic tac toe relayAbout the Author:

Matt Barrows is currently in his 4th year teaching Physical Education and Health at Clardy Elementary. He has many accomplishments at this school. He led a fundraiser to raise money for a 40-foot rock wall in their gym. ESPN sponsored their Donor’s Choose request and matched $4000 of the total cost.  In his 3rd year of teaching, Matt was selected by his peers and received the Traditions of Excellence in Teaching award, then was chosen by the school district to be put in the Teaching Honor Cadre.  They have 30 schools in the district and he was 1 of 12 chosen for the entire district. Matt also started an after school running club that has about 200 participants of our 500 enrolled students.  This year he has received a grant to begin Project Fit America in the fall of 2016. Matt says he couldn’t ask for a better job where he can have hundreds of kids enjoy fitness!

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9 thoughts on “Tic Tac Toe Relay – PE Activity

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  5. Hi,
    I too have played this game but I made several of the hoop tic tac toe boards so that all students were moving more! I zip tied the hoops together so they couldn’t move and that helped a lot . I also duct taped swim rings together and made a board out of that and use noodle pieces for them to play with. I also used sidewalk chalk outdoors and made a large tic tac toe board and played human tic tac toe at field day! Have a fun Teach on

    • Hi do you have a picture of the activity with the swim rings and duct tape. I’m having a hard time visualizing that.

      • Hey Tammy and Kara – If you are using hoola hoops, I just wanted to let you know about these hoola hoop clips that our sports product manager designed. I will include the link below. They are great because they can be used for this activity as well as clipping together as two or three to roll. In addition to the actual clips, if you have access to a 3D printer, we have included the download for them in the blog post listed above titled 3D Printers and Product Creations. You can try making one yourself.


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