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A Great Gym Game for Kids

Updated on September 12, 2013

Bean Bag Toe Tag

I'm always trying to create new and exciting games for the kids to play in the gymnasium. Of course, there are the staples of gym games: dodgeball, knockout, handball, relay races ect., but trying to find a new game that holds a student's attention AND has them begging for more is a challenge. It's a challenge that I'm always up for! This particular game was shared to me by one of my students, and I couldn't resist sharing it with you.

What you will need for the game.

For this game, you should have at least 10 players. You'll also want to play it in a gym — basketball court size. And finally, you'll need a dozen or so bean bags. While the game would get pretty interesting using the chair size bean bags, I'm referring to the ones you'd use in a bean bag toss. The gym is a must as the bean bags need to be able to slide across the floor. An area like blacktop or grass, while great for other games, just wouldn't work for this one. Also, depending on your gym, you may need some orange cones to mark off an area on the playing field.

How to play Bean Bag Toe Tag

1. First of all, you'll need to divide the group up into two equal teams. As I mentioned before, a group of at least ten works best. If you have less than five players per team, the game loses some of its fun.

2. Each team will have its own side of the gym, and it won't be able to cross the center line.

3. Line up the bean bags along the center line of the gym. Meanwhile, the students line up along the opposite sides of the gym touching the wall (like dodgeball).

4. Just like dodgeball, when the whistle is blown, the kids will race to the center line. At the start of this game, a student may only take one beanbag AND must return to the far wall before they can do anything with it. I do this to ensure that one person doesn't get all of the bean bags or doesn't attempt to get someone out immediately.

5. Once the students have the bean bags, they may only throw them underhand. And, a student may only hit his or her opponents BELOW the knee. This is where the gym floor comes into play. The beans bags slide nicely across the floor and often hit a students feet or toes (hence the name "toe" tag).

6. If a player is caught throwing the bean bags overhand or hitting an opposing player above the knee, they must go to jail. The jail is on the opposing teams' side of the gym. This is where you use the orange cones. Near the foul line, I create a square with the cones that serves as the jail. If your gym floor has colored lines, and there is an obvious area near the foul line that the kids can identify as their jail, use that.

7. In order to get out of jail, a player must retrieve a bean bag that their teammates throws or slides across the gym floor. The catch is, however, that opposing players will be trying to block the bean bags from reaching the jail. For this, they must use their hands (if the bean bag hits a players feet, they must go to jail) and grab them off the floor before they slide into the jail area. If someone in jail gets a bean bag, they may freely walk back to their side of the gym without being tagged.

8. To win the game, all opposing players must be in jail.

Create different versions!

By following the rules I've outlined above, you're well on your way to adding a wonderful gym game to your repertoire. Sometimes, I even add in random rules to make the game more of a challenge: making the kids slide the bean bags through their legs and backwards or invoking the rule that a bean bag must pass between a teammates legs before it can hit an opposing player. I'm sure you too can create some clever additions to the game to keep it fresh an exciting.

Racquetball Court Version

We have access to several racquetball courts and, I often find myself tweaking gym games to be played in these areas, especially when I have fewer kids. For this game, we use less bean bags. When a player is hit, and must go to jail, they stand with their back against the far wall of the court. The rest of the rules stay the same.

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