3 Non-Traditional Games for PE

One of my favorite subjects for presentations has been how to use nontraditional physical education games in class.

There are many awesome games that have been created using unique scoring concepts, defensive strategies, and/or tactical rules of play.  In this particular blog, you will find some of my favorite nontraditional physical education games and some background on the history of each game.


g 10946 kin ball game

Let’s start with a French-Canadian game that is now played as a World Cup sport in over 20 countries around the world…any guesses?  If you guessed KIN-BALL®, then you got it right!  KIN-BALL® is a unique game concept played using a nontraditional ball (a giant 40” inflatable ball) and an equally unique playing format that pits 3 teams against each other to determine a winner. 

How to Play: 

Each team is made up of 4 players that work together to either serve the ball or catch the ball if their team has been designated.  With three teams on the court at one time, game play and strategies for success are vastly different than traditional sports, which adds to the intrigue of the game. 

Another significant element that impacts the game is the use of a 40” ball.  The size of the ball certainly impacts striking and catching the ball which adds another unique (and fun) element to the game.  All novelty aside, playing the game is fun and a tremendous workout! 

Click here to learn more, or Shop KIN-BALL®.

2. Tchoukball

Tchoukball is another exciting nontraditional sports game that uses a unique element for game play.  The game was invented by Dr. Hermann Brant and was designed to eliminate aggressive play and physical contact.  This throwing and catching game requires hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness.

How to Play:

Dropping the ball or missing the target (A.K.A – the “frame”) will result in a turn over.  A “frame” is essentially an angled trampoline that must be used to attack.  When attacking, the objective is to bounce the ball off the frame so that it lands inside the boundary lines and is NOT caught by the opposing team.

What makes this game so exciting is the fact that players on the offense may throw the ball off of the frames at either end of the playing area in order to attack.  As soon as the ball bounces off the frame, the defense must spring into action to cover the court and retrieve the ball.  It is important to note that the defense in this game may not interfere in any way with offensive game play until a player from the offensive team makes an attack by throwing the ball off one of the frames.  After the attack, if the ball is caught by the defense, the defense turns into the offense and the game continues.

There are rules that require a minimum and maximum number of passes before an attack.  These rules keep the pace of the game at a high level and ensure that players maximize their MVPA throughout the activity.  My favorite part of the game is the nontraditional defense concept.  During defense, players must work together to cover the court which requires teamwork and organization.

Click here to learn more, or Shop Tchoukball.


3. Ultimate®

Ultamite Frisbee

I will finish with Ultimate®, which was once called Ultimate® Frisbee® and is a non-contact team sport that is played with a flying disc.  This game has been played for over 50 years and is played around the world.  It is a popular recreational game and is recognized as a sport by the International Olympic Committee although it is not considered an Olympic sport.

How to Play: 

The objective of this game is to have a player catch the flying disc in the opposing team’s “end zone”.  When in possession of the disc, the player may not run with the disc but rather establish a pivot point.  The disc must be passed to teammates to advance it down the field.  If a disc is dropped, blocked to the ground, out of bounds, or intercepted, it is a turnover and the opposing team may start moving immediately.

This is a non-contact game and traditional “in your face” defense is not allowed.  To begin the game, each team stands in their end zone and a player from one team will launch the disc to the opposing team.  This process happens each time a point is scored by catching the disc in the end zone.

Because of the quick transitions in this game, there are limited rest periods which can lead to increased fitness levels.  I used the Ultimate concept for many of the activities that I shared with my students and demonstrate in presentations.  There are official Ultimate rules; however, based on ability and skill levels of the players, they may be modified.

Click here to learn more, or Shop Ultimate®.

Too often PE programs focus on traditional sports that are offered in athletic programs.  For those students who are not engaged in athletic programs, the traditional sports may not be appealing.  Maybe a non-traditional approach to sports is a way to motivate them to get more involved and more active.

If you have never tried these 3 activities or similar activities with your students, I highly encourage you to change the pace and try something new!

Related Blogs:
How to Play Ultimate Frisbee [Video]
Dice Bonk: The Target Game with Endless Variations by Mike Morris
Favorite Frisbee-Themed Invasion Games in Physical Education by Jessica Shawley

More Team Games from Gopher:

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