8 More MASTER THE MINUTE Challenges



In one of my latest posts,  Master the Minute; 14 Active 1-Minute Challenges for PEI included 14 simple, partner challenges for physical education classes using minimal equipment. Since the post, I’ve used several of the challenges in a station format. For example, with a class of 40 students, I set up ten stations around the gym. While some of the stations include specific tossing, catching, striking, and team building tasks, others include several of the original 14 Master the Minute challenges. The Master the Minute challenges add an extra element of excitement and necessary reinforcement of teamwork and sportsmanship.

Recently, I brought home some equipment from school and gathered a few basic household items. I then charged my own kids to assist me in developing a new set of Master the Minute challenges. We immediately entered our “Creation Lab” to brainstorm possibilities. Through trial and error, we developed eight challenges I feel would work in any PE program OR as quick brain breaks in classrooms or at home! Insert a few of these activities plus the original 14 Master the Minute challenges into your stations. Let me know what you think!


Challenge: Stack four on top of each other using two pool noodles in one minute or less.

How to Play

The player holds a swim noodle in each hand. Each noodle is marked with a circle about 15 inches from the top. This represents the highest point the noodle can be held. On the signal to begin, the player uses the noodles to grasp an activity pin, then stands it up on a predetermined spot. I use a deck ring the spot. The ultimate goal is to stack the four activity pins on top of each other in one minute or less.


2 swim noodles (one large noodle cut in half)

4 foam activity pins

1 deck ring


Challenge: Balance as many noodle bits as possible on a partner who is holding a wall-sit pose in one minute. 

How to Play

Noodle Bits and Walls Sits is a partner activity. Set up a pile of noodle bits about twenty feet away from a wall, where one partner will perform a wall-sit pose. The second partner, the runner, begins the challenge near the pile of noodle bits. Once given the signal to begin, the runner takes one noodle bit at a time and attempts to balance it anywhere on the body of the partner who is performing the wall-sit. The runner repeats this process throughout the one minute. You could reduce the time to 30 seconds according to the level of your students.

*You may choose to have partners switch roles and play a second round.



#3 – POP and CATCH

Challenge: Each partner attempts to catch four noodle bits in four receptacles of varying sizes.

How to Play

Mark two lines about 6-10 feet apart, depending on the skill level. Along one line, set up four receptacles of varying sizes. Dump a pile of noodle bits on the opposite line. One partner begins as the popper and the second partner is the receiver. Once given the signal to begin, the popper pinches a noodle bit between his thumb and fingers until it pops toward the receiver. The receiver attempts to catch one noodle bit in each of the four receptacles. If this happens, and time permits, the popper and receiver switch roles. The ultimate goal is for each partner to catch four noodle bits in each of the four receptacles in one minute or less.

*I’ve also done this challenge with one receptacle rather than four different ones.

Equipment: 20+ noodle bits4 receptacles of varying sizes. I used a cone, 1 coffee can, and 2 oatmeal containers (small and large)


Challenge: Pick up a ping pong ball using a cardboard spatula, then drop it on a cone in one minute or less.

How to Play

Place a ping pong ball on the floor about five feet away from a cone. When given the signal to begin, the player must scoop the ball onto the spatula, then carry it to the cone. Once at the cone, the player must drop the ball on top of the cone. If the ball hits the ground either while transferring it to the cone or while attempting to place it on the cone, the player simply scoops the ball and continues to try and place on top of the cone.

Equipment: 1 cone with a hole at the top to hold the ping pong ball, 1 ping pong ball, 1 homemade spatula consisting of a 3-inch x 4-inch piece of cardboard and a clothespin.


Challenge: Bounce a ping pong ball off the ground, then into the wall and into a cup as many times as possible in one minute.

How to Play

Set up a plastic cup about one foot away from the wall. Secure the cup with a weight to prevent it from falling over. I placed the cup in a roll of duct tape rather than adding weight. On the signal to begin, the player attempts to bounce the ball off the floor, into the wall, then into the cup.

Equipment: 1-3 ping pong balls, 1 plastic cup, a weight to place in the cup or a roll of duct tape to prevent the cup from falling over.


Challenge: Pop as many noodle bits as possible into a bucket in one minute.

How to Play

PLAY WITH 2-4 PLAYERS. Divide the noodle bits evenly for each player. If the match is 1 versus 1, one player gets all the blue and green bits and the 2nd player gets the red and yellow bits. Players arrange themselves about 3-4 feet from a common bucket, placed in the center. On the signal to begin, players begin popping the bits into the bucket. Play continues for one minute. If either player pops all bits in less than a minute, they can retrieve any bits NOT in the bucket, as long as they don’t interfere with other poppers. The player with the most bits in the bucket wins the round.

Equipment: Noodle bits or a *deck of playing cards, 1 bucket

*If using playing cards, divide the cards by color for two players or by suit for four players.


Challenge: Bounce a ping pong ball off the ground and into a bucket held on top of your head as many times as possible in on minute.

How to Play

The player stands on a spot holding a coffee can or bucket on top of his head. On the signal to begin, he bounces the ball off the ground and attempts to catch it in the bucket. The bucket MUST be touching his head while making a catch. After each bounce, the player must return to his original spot before bouncing the ball again.


1 poly spot1 ping pong ball

1 large coffee can or small plastic bucket


Challenge: Bounce a SKLZ Reaction ball off the ground and successfully catch it as many times as possible in one minute.


How to Play

The player begins by holding a SKLZ Reaction Ball away from their body at chest level. On the signal to begin, the player drops the ball then tries to catch it. This process is repeated and the student tries to catch the ball as many times as possible in one minute.


SKLZ Reaction Ball


ENJOY, and as always, please share your ideas and suggestions.


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5 Comments on “8 More MASTER THE MINUTE Challenges

      • jcahill – I have been teaching physical education for 27 years. I began my career teaching in Washington, DC before moving to Atlanta, Georgia to teach at Trinity School. I have a passion for keeping kids healthy and moving during each PE lesson, and throughout their lives. I’m a firm believer that recess is a right and NOT a privilege. Please check out and join my Facebook group called Keeping Kids in Motion. I am happily married and have three beautiful children who are constantly KEEPING ME IN MOTION!

        Yes! Let me know how it goes.

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