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P.E. Games for Homeschool

Updated on February 29, 2012
The Playground
The Playground | Source

Here are a few games that work well when played in small groups. They are ideal for the home-schooled child because they can all be played in relatively small spaces. You don’t need to have a large field or court in order to play these games. You will need some sort of space, but it can be a driveway, backyard, front lawn etc. If you don't have any space, then consider taking your kids to a nearby park.

Hide and Go Seek

Age Group: all ages
Ideal number of Children: 3-10
Type: Running/Tagging game
Boundaries: Whatever you want. Good idea to create safe boundaries (i.e. no street crossings etc).
Equipment: None
Objectives: Seeker must tag someone, Hiders must make it to base safely.
How to Win: There a number of variations, detailed below.

This game is not often considered as a P.E. game because people tend to associate it with hiding under the bed in the house. However when taken outside, this game has awesome potential for physical education in the following areas: cardiovascular, agility, endurance, and increased concentration.

Begin the game by making sure everyone understands the boundaries. Everyone should know exactly what is inbounds and what is out of bounds. This is especially important if you are playing near any kind of traffic.

There needs to be a base. Base can be anything from the kitchen to the third step on the back porch. It is important is that the players can clearly distinguish if they are ‘on base’ or ‘off base’.

One person becomes a seeker and everyone else is a hider. The seeker must close their eyes and count to a predetermined number. How high you count really depends on the speed, I like about 20 seconds, but depending on your players and terrain, this time should be adjusted. While the seeker is counting, everyone else is hiding. Hiding should occur anywhere ‘inbounds’.

Kid's Will Hide Anywhere

I used to hide in my Dad's desk.
I used to hide in my Dad's desk.

A Child's Imagination is the Limit

My brother preferred the filing cabinet
My brother preferred the filing cabinet
Tagging is the Way
Tagging is the Way | Source

Once the countdown is finished the seeker declares the famous “Ready or Not here I come!” and begins to hunt for the hiders.

  • The seekers job is to tag a hider.
  • The hiders job is to successfully sneak or run past the seeker and get to “base”.
  • The hider must use skills of stealth and speed in order to successfully evade the seeker and make it to base.

The game can be won a few different ways. Here are the variations I know, and I’m sure you can think of new ones.

When does the game end?
The game could end at a number of different scenarios.

  • someone gets caught
  • someone gets to base
  • everyone gets caught
  • everyone gets to base

I recommend ending the game after either everyone is caught or everyone has made it to base. This allows everyone to play through the game and helps all players enjoy the suspenseful nature of the game. It’s best played very slowly creepy and crawly with short bursts of sprinting.

That being said, a lot of kids will devolve this game into a version of tag, which is fine, given time they will develop their stealthy skills (it doesn’t hurt to play with them and demonstrate the possibilities).

Who becomes the next seeker?
This question also has a lot of answers. It really depends on your kids view of the seeker. If they think being seeker is awesome and are all clamoring to become the seeker, try some of the following.

Seeker as reward

  • The first person to make it to base is rewarded as becoming the next seeker as they “won” first. If nobody makes it to base
  • The last person to get caught becomes seeker as they ‘lasted’ longest.

If a round finishes with everyone being captured:

  • the seeker holds their position OR
  • The last person to be captured becomes seeker as they lasted longest

If your kids think hiding is way better than hunting, then try these options out.

Seeker as punishment

  • The first person to be captured by the seeker becomes the next seeker, they got caught the most quickly. If nobody is caught:
  • The last person to achieve base becomes the next seeker. They were slowest to make it home

If a round finishes with everyone making it to base:

  • the seeker keeps their spot as punishment for not catching anyone OR
  • the last person to make it to base becomes seeker as they were slowest.

Of course you may simply want to practice fairness with your children in which case you should rotate the role of seeker until everyone has had a turn. It’s good to note that while this may be more fair and prevent tantrum throwing, it does not breed the friendly sense of competition that good P.E. games foster. Good competition fosters growth, it’s up to you to decide if your kids can handle it.

Badminton is Great for the Backyard

fun to play in groups
fun to play in groups | Source

Badminton

Age Group: all ages
Ideal number of Children:
2-4
Type: Racket and Ball
Boundaries:
Some kind of rectangle, divided in two. Ideally in the grass (grass is fun!)
Equipment:
Shuttle Cock, Rackets, Net

This game is ideal for kids at home because you can play it quite easily without much equipment. While it is required that you buy some rackets and a few shuttlecocks, these can be found quite cheaply at your local sporting goods store or online. Having a net is also ideal, but not required.

The actual game of badminton is very similar to tennis and requires a bit of rule explaining. I am not going to do that here, if you are interested I suggest reading about it on wikipedia. What I will outline here is the most simple game and exercises you can play with your kids at home.

Shuttlecock
Shuttlecock | Source


Hitting the shuttlecock
Kids should practice connecting with the shuttlecock. There are a number of ways to hit it, generally it can be divided into a down stroke or an upstroke. Children can either practice by passing back and forth, or with a wall (the rubber point of the shuttlecock will bounce nicely off a wall allowing you to develop your skills alone).

While playing catch with a shuttlecock is fun in itself, eventually your kids will get bored. At which point you can begin to teach them the basic scoring.

Starting without a net you can keeping score by awarding one point everything someone misses the shuttlecock. The point is awarded to the last person to hit it successfully.

The next stage is to create a badminton court with a net. It’s ideal to have a net (a net forces the shuttlecock to be hit a certain height), but if you don’t just draw a line on the ground (imaginary, hang a rope, use cones, be creative). Each player has one side of the ‘net’. One person serves (by dropping the shuttlecock and hitting it with an upstroke) and play begins. Players hit the shuttlecock back and forth until either

  • a player misses the shuttlecock
  • a player fails to hit the shuttlecock across the net (lands on their side).

The point is awarded to whoever did not make the mistake.

If your kids have this down, you can make it a little more interesting by drawing up a more firm court. Creating a rectangular court adds the element of ‘out-of-bounds’. The children now have to focus on hitting the shuttlecock not only across the center boundary (net) but also into the opposite rectangle. Shuttlecock’s hit too far or too much to the side are declared ‘out-of-bounds’ and a point is awarded to the other person.

That is the basic play for badminton. It is possible to play this game with larger teams (doubles is done most commonly, but there is no reason not to have 3v3 or 4v4).

I’d focus on keeping the rules simple and seeing what your kids develop on their own regarding strategies. If it develops and you want more guidance, just check out wikipedia for more info regarding what is standard practice.

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    • Marla Neogra profile image

      Marla J Neogra 5 years ago from Parkersburg, West Virginia

      Interestingly enough, these are all games we played prior to the technology revolution. We always played with groups of neighborhood kids for hide and seek (we never played indoors like they did in the Narnia books). We also played badminton all the time. My how times have changed.