6 Laundry Basket Games Your PE Students Will LOVE!


Several years ago, my team and I were looking for an inexpensive way to store some of our smaller pieces of equipment. Milk crates worked but were a little smaller than what we needed for our variety of balls, scoops, noodles, pinnies, etc. We discovered laundry baskets were the perfect alternative. They are durable, lightweight, easy to carry and fit well on our shelves. We ordered several of two different sizes; the 1.5-bushel square basket and the longer, more shallow 2-bushel basket.

Over time, we realized that our new receptacles were not only an excellent way to keep our equipment organized, but they worked equally well as a resource for our PE curriculum. Laundry baskets we frequently emptied and utilized in several of our drills and games. In fact, they inspired us to create several new games our students love. Here are a few of their favorites.

1. Race to 3 – The SPORTSMANSHIP Game

I’ve been playing this game for years with coffee cans. However, I learned that it’s much more age-appropriate for my younger students when I used laundry baskets instead of coffee cans.

How to play:

  • Spread out half as many laundry baskets as there are students.
  • Place two, 4-6 inch gator skin balls in each basket.
  • Two students begin at each basket.
  • On the signal to begin, the two students reach across the basket to give each other knuckles, then compete to see who can bounce the ball three times into the basket first.
  • After each round, the pair shakes hands to reinforce good sportsmanship.
  • The winner takes a victory lap around the perimeter. The loser immediately searches for another available player to challenge.

2. Laundry Basketball

I introduce this game to my first-grade students toward the end of our throwing and catching unit. It’s a great way for me to observe proper tossing, throwing, and catching fundamentals, fair play, and sportsmanship.

The video includes a thorough explanation of the set-up and rules.

3. Beachball in a Basket

I played this game for the first time this year with my fifth grade students during our team-building unit.

How to play:

  • Spread out the laundry baskets, each with a beachball.
  • Send 3-4 students to each basket.
  • Students attempt to strike the beachball five times before guiding it into the basket.
  • Each student must touch the ball at least once.

4. Dirty Laundry with Scoops

This game is extremely versatile. I’ve played it as a cooperative throwing game with my 3rd-5th-grade students and as a team-building game with my first-grade students using scoops.

How to play:

  • Set up three zones across the width of your space using cones. Each zone has a point value; zone 1 = 1 point, zone 2 = 2 points, and zone 3 = 3 points.
  • Organize the students in groups of 3-4.
  • One player begins as the scooper. The other two students each hold one handle of the laundry basket. Their job is to work together to catch the ball thrown by the scooper.
  • The team earns points for each successful catch. For example, if a ball is caught in zone 3, they earn 3 points.
  • Rotate scoopers after every three tosses.

5. 6 Pillars of Power

The 6 Pillars of Power has without a doubt become one of our favorite games. It’s nonstop action and excitement is unparalleled. It’s another one of those games where I can stand on the sideline and assess sportsmanship, integrity, and throwing and catching fundamentals.

The video includes a thorough explanation of the set-up and rules.

6. Laundry Jam

Laundry Jam an inexpensive version of the backyard game called Kan Jam. We’ve played this as a flying disc game as well as an overhand and underhand throwing game.

How to play:

  • Set up two laundry baskets 15-30 feet apart depending on the skill level of your students. Place a flying disc in one of the baskets.
  • There are four players divided into teams of two at each set of baskets.
  • Members of the same team stand at opposite goals.
  • One partner throws the disc toward the opposite goal. When necessary, the other partner redirects the disc toward or into the goal.
  • When both partners complete one throw each, the other set of partners then get the disc.
  • The first team to score 11 points wins the round (Real Kan Jam is played to 21 points).

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