I’m an old guy…at least that’s what my kids say…so it’s diﬃcult to think back all the way to the late 1970s and early 1980s when I was enrolled in P.E. class. Luckily, I have children who can recall days in their elementary or middle school gym ﬁlled with fun games or challenges. There were the usual activities like kickball or dodgeball, even some made-up games courtesy of the P.E. teachers. But, according to one of my daughters, what she, and many of the other kids looked forward to: special days like “Parachute Day.”
Although not an actual designated day, anytime a P.E. teacher brought out the parachute, it was a momentous occasion. And, it was not an everyday event, which ultimately made it all the more special. Everyone would take hold of the parachute and send the sails rippling, making waves of color across the gym. Sometimes, a rubber chicken would be thrown in the center and the students would try to see how high it could ﬂy into the air. After the frenzy of shaking the parachute, they would sit down underneath it and it would balloon to the ceiling, making a dome above their heads. Those were exciting and magical days and my daughter looks back on them fondly.
In a similar way, the potential available in using KnockerBall equipment for P.E. can provide something reminiscent of the parachute’s impact. It’s a special day for students to try something new that they might not be able to otherwise. KnockerBall games include the classics like musical chairs, sharks and minnows, capture the ﬂag, and kickball, but also specialized games like bubble soccer, protect the king, and battle balls.
Of course, as my daughter informs me of some of the games her P.E. teachers invented, being creative with KnockerBalls can invite even more fun for students. At the end of the day, it’s not about the game they’re playing, but the memories they make. Just as the parachute has stuck in my daughter’s mind after all these years, the experience of using KnockerBalls in P.E. could form some of the same memories for students year after year.
8 Knockerball Games for your PE Class!
Things to do prior to playing any KnockerBall games:
– Warm up! Everyone should have warm muscles and be loosened up before playing Knockerball. Running in place, jumping jacks, burpees and push ups all get the blood flowing.
– Go over how to enter and exit the KnockerBall.
– Go over how to get up while inside a KnockerBall.
– Go over rules to using and playing games in KnockerBalls so that everyone has a fun and safe time playing.
– Lastly, it’s always a good idea to allow people to try out the KnockerBall before the games begin. Moving around, rolling and gently bumping into your buddy will get everyone comfortable and ready to have a good time.
#1 Relay Races
– Set up rows of cones about 5 yards apart. Close enough that players might bump each other, but enough room to run in and out of the cones.
– Split into teams (same # as rows of cones)
– A player does a slalom through the row of cones, down to the end and back.
– First team with all players through the course wins!
If leading younger kids in this activity, here are a couple variations:
– If slalom is too hard, just a back and forth relay works great!
– You can also “roll” each other down and back, but we recommend keeping this distance fairly short!
Variation: have the relayers dribble a soccer ball while running or slaloming.
Variation: have the relayers partner up and race “back to back”, or bubble to bubble.
#2 Knockerball Soccer
– 3v3, 4v4, 5v5 are typically good numbers for a game.
– No positions or goalies needed.
– If using a regular ball, pop up goals work great. A fun variation is to use a giant inflatable soccer ball! In this case, use cones to mark out your goal.
– Playing to 3 or 4 points is usually good, though some people choose to just call it at a set game time, say 5 or 10 minutes.
#3 Musical Chairs (with Hula Hoops)
Start with 1 less hula hoop than you have players, and play this game just like you grew up playing, except with a little more fun and laughter!
#4 King of the Ring
Start all players in the middle of a circle of cones. Once the whistle blows, everyone tries to bump each other outside of the cones. Last person in the circle wins.
#5 Sharks and minnows
Set up an area with cones or utilize a small court or inflatable field. With one shark in the middle of the field the minnows need to try to make it to the other side without getting bumped over. If they do get bumped over, they are now a shark. Repeat until 1 minnow remains…the winner!
#6 Protect the King
Divide into two teams and designate a king on each team. Every time a team’s king is knocked to the ground, the other team scores a point. Play 5-minute rounds.
#7 Battle Ball
– Playing on a similar sized field area as knockerball Soccer, place 3 hula hoops in the middle of the field, equally spread out, and one at each end.
– 5v5 works great for this
– 1 minute rounds
– Each team lines up near their home hoop. When the whistle blows, the goal is for your team to occupy as many hoops as possible at the end of the minute.
#8 Knockerball Kickball
Short version of the rules: Standard kickball, but add a Knockerball for 2 players in the field. If they catch the ball on the fly, side retired. They can bump the runner between 1st and 2nd and 2nd and 3rd. The kicker is wearing a Knockerball too. Full rules can be found on knockerball.com or feel free to make up your own!
Some of our favorite video shorts from The Oﬃcial KnockerBall YouTube Page: https://www.youtube.com/@KnockerBallUSA