Put a Fresh Spin on PE Classes with These 4 Global Games

by SPARK


kids laughing playing a game in the classroom

The closer we come to the end of the school year, the more difficult it becomes to keep kids active and engaged. As children look forward to their time away from education, teachers need to work harder to ensure that they remain focused during PE classes.

There are plenty of things that educators can do to help revitalize student passion for movement and fitness. One great option is to introduce new games and cultural ideas from around the world. While the games children play vary from place to place, they usually all have numerous benefits when it comes to promoting fitness, social skills and concentration levels.

Here are four global games you can use to pique interest in your end-of-year PE classes, while expanding your students’ geographical education.

1. Catch the Dragon’s Tail from China

Though it’s designed for younger children, this game is great for students of all age levels. It’s a simple and exciting activity that’s particularly useful when you want to get your PE class working together as a team. The more people participating, the more challenging and fun the game becomes.

Catch the Dragon’s Tail starts when the children in your class form a human chain, standing one behind the other, with their hands on the shoulders of their classmate. The child right at the front of the chain is the “dragon’s head” and the child at the back is the “dragon’s tail.” The aim of the game is for the head to catch the tail, while all the students behind the dragon’s head try to stop this from happening.

As soon as the dragon’s head captures the tail, he or she becomes the tail, and the next student takes their place as the head.

2. Statues from Greece

Another game originally created for younger children but perfect for all age groups, is Statues. This game comes from Greece, where dozens of marble statues make up the natural environment for children across the country.

To play, choose one student to be “it,” and have them cover their eyes while standing in the center of a large open space. The student will need to count to a random number (at least 10) before opening their eyes. While the student is counting, the other students need to scatter until he/she yells agalmata, or “statue” in Greek. Upon that word, all students must freeze in place and take on a famous statuesque pose.

The student who is it will go around tagging any moving statues, and trying to make stationary ones move or laugh. The last statue remaining is the winner, becoming the new it.

3. Sepak Takraw from the Philippines

The traditional game from the Philippines is perfect for children aged 5 and up. The word Sepak is the Malay word for “kick,” while Takraw is the Thai word for a woven or rattan ball. In other words, this is a kind of kick-based volleyball that uses a net, and requires children to use only their head, chest, knees or feet to touch the ball.

Sepak Takraw requires teachers to create small 8×8 grids for two groups of six children. Those children then need to divide into teams of three, which form a triangle shape either side of the net.  The goal is to hit the ball over the net in such a way that the opposing team can’t hit it back. The serving group scores points if the other group:

  • Catches or holds the balls
  • Allows the ball to hit the ground more than once
  • Doesn’t return the ball in three hits or less
  • Hits the balls out of bounds

4. Kin-Ball from Canada

Kin-ball is a game that originates from Quebec, Canada. It’s a team game that’s perfect for anyone aged 6 and up, and it can become more or less challenging depending on the age of the students involved. PE teacher Mario Demers created Kin-ball in 1987, and it’s known to some as “cooperative golf.”

To play Kin-ball, teachers will need to arrange students into groups of six, which are further divided into smaller teams of three. Each group of six will need two hoops and one ball. While one group is the “receiving” group, holding an empty hoop, the other is the “serving” group, holding a ball inside their group. The serving group will drop to a knee, holding their hoop high, and one player will let go of the hoop to punch the ball towards the receiving group. The goal is for the receiving group to move to capture the ball in their hoop.

Kin-ball is a great way to get children active, and encourage them to work together more efficiently in teams.

Expanding the World of Physical Education

There are dozens of exciting global games that can add a fresh spin to PE for students who are becoming bored or distracted during standard activities. These unique games not only encourage new forms of movement in children, but can also improve teamwork and introduce students to new cultures from around the world.

For more PE ideas, check out our lesson plans.

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