10 Simple Holiday Games for PE

Snowman Down

My students love this game!

I’ve played this with a class of 20 students and with larger groups of about 40.

For my class of 20 students, I spread out 15 hula hoops around the gym with a bowling pin in each one (snowman). There’s one student per snowman. Each of these students protects their own snowman and attempts to knock over anyone else’s with a 6″ gator skin ball. The remaining five students are in a line along the side of the gym working on the steppers (steppers are not necessary, just added movement). At the same time, they are on the lookout for a “Snowman Down.” When a snowman falls, everybody yells “SNOWMAN DOWN,” and the first student in the stepper line replaces the student with the fallen snowman. That student heads to the back of the stepper line.

This is a fast-paced game I highly recommend.

Thank you physedgames.com for inspiring this game with your game called Pin Down.

Be sure to also check out 30 Random Acts of FAMILY, FRIENDS, and FUN for the holiday season!

Christmas Caroling Tag

Scrooge, Grinch, and Jack Frost can’t stand the holiday season. They decide to form an alliance to cast a spell on anyone and everyone with the goal of spoiling the holiday spirit. Anyone tagged by the trio is frozen and their holiday spirit is taken away. The only way to break the spell is for two other carolers to hold hands around the frozen caroler and sing the first line of any holiday song… LOUDLY!

Light the Menorah

My students love this game. Before we play, we meet in a circle to talk about Hanukkah. Many times I’ll let my students who celebrate Hanukkah lead the discussion. We’ll talk about the Menorah, the shamash or helper candle, and the order in which you light the candles (from right to left) and why.

Each team begins on their own side, sitting on a scooter board, much like capture the flag. The goal is to cross over the middle line and safely get to the opposite end in order to light a candle on the menorah (I use a plastic ball pit ball for the flame). If you are tagged on the opposite side, you must freeze with your hands up. This tells the person on your team with the “eternal flame” (noodle or candy cane) to come rescue you by handing you the candy cane. The eternal flame cannot be tagged. Once the eternal flame rescues a tagged player, he hands the flame to that player, who now becomes the eternal flame. The student who was the eternal flame can now try to light a candle like everyone else. When a player crosses the opposite end-line, he/she is safe and can light one of the candles. Once the candle is lit, that player must walk their scooter along the sideline, back to their team to continue the game.

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

Unload as much equipment as possible into the center of the gym. In groups of 2-3, students spread out around the perimeter of the space. On the signal to begin, the first student runs around the perimeter to earn the opportunity to retrieve two pieces of equipment from the center to begin building a snowman. As the first student finishes the lap, the next student immediately begins to run his/her lap. Meanwhile, the partners who are not running are brainstorming ideas and begin to build their snowman. I allow 3-5 minutes to gather equipment, depending on the size of the class.

Once all the equipment is gathered, I give the students three minutes to put their finishing touches on their snowman. After three minutes, each group walks around the perimeter to admire each team’s snowman.

You’ll find many awesome versions of this game on social media!

Christmas Eve Blizzard

Santa’s elves need to load his sled with all the presents on Christmas Eve. However, there’s a blizzard making the task nearly impossible. The wind is howling, snow is piling up, and visibility is limited.

The elves take one toy from the basket and try to work their way across the floor, all the way to Santa’s sled.  Several students wearing blue pinnies represent the blizzard and attempt to tag the elves. Each blizzard tagger can only move side to side, staying in their own lane (use cones to create eight lanes for eight blizzard taggers). If an elf is tagged, she holds her hands up and walks to the nearest sideline, then returns to the starting point to try again. If an elf makes it all the way to Santa’s sled, she drops the toy into the sled, then runs back along the sideline to try and deliver another toy. I usually play 2-minute rounds before changing blizzard taggers.

*I’ve also played this game with a “GIFT OF TIME” theme. Students have to deliver food to a shelter for homeless people. They’ll do anything possible, even fight through a blizzard, to help people in need.

Elf Switch

This is a great game to play around the holidays.  For a class of 20, I evenly space 15 hoops around the gym floor.  One student stands inside each hoop (Elf power station).  They are the elves.  The other five students, who are not standing in the hoops, are the trolls.  The goal of the game is for the troll to become and remain an elf.  Elves can only be in a hoop for no more than five seconds at a time.  They must make eye contact with another elf and quickly switch hoops. The trolls try to jump into a vacated hoop to become an elf. With my older classes, I like to play this game without talking.  They have to solely rely on nonverbal communication.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

This game takes place on Mount Crumpit. The Grinch and his helper are trying to stop the people of Whoville (Whos) from taking back the presents that were stolen.

Set up the game by dumping at least 50 yarn balls and beanbags along one baseline (top of Mount Crumpit) of your gym. For bigger groups, you may need more. The Whos line up along the opposite baseline (base of Mount Crumpit in Whoville). The Grinch and his helper begin the game in the middle of the gym floor, each holding a green swim noodle. The Whos attempt to scoot across the floor (up Mount Crumpit) without getting tagged by the Grinch and his helper. If tagged, the Who stands up holding the scooter like a suitcase walks to the closest sideline, and continues back down the mountain to try again. If a Who makes it all the way to the presents without getting tagged, she earns the right to take one present back to Whoville. The Who then attempts to get another present.

Click the picture for a video of the game!

Jack Frost Tag

Jack Frost and his buddy are trying to freeze all the children into ice statues. If tagged by Jack or his buddy, students freeze into a crazy frozen statue. For the spell to be broken, another student must hold an orange ball, the sun, over the head of the frozen statue for five seconds. This melts the ice and the frozen player can once again move. At this point, the student who was the sun hands the sun to the student he just rescued, and they switch roles.

I switch taggers every 30 seconds – 1 minute.



Elf Training – Collecting Presents

This is a fun, fast-action game utilizing teamwork, strength, and navigation skills. Disperse a bunch of yarn balls and beanbags (present) along one baseline of the gym. On the opposite end of the gym spread out buckets for each team of three along the baseline. Each team lines up alongside their bucket. Teams each have a sled consisting of two scooters, connected if possible but not necessary. Two players ride the sled while the third one pushes it across the floor to pick up one present, then returns and drops the present into their bucket. Teammates switch places each time they deliver a present.

Gumdrop Tag

Our three-year-old – kindergarten classes can’t get enough of this game. Spread out different colored spots throughout the play area. These are gumdrop spots. Two gum drop taggers each have a soft disc or gator ball to use as a tagging implement. Two students each have a candy cane (you can also use a noodle with spiraling tape). They are the candy cane rescuers. I like to play this game on the floor lines, especially for the younger students.  You can play it without the lines.  If a student is tagged by a gumdrop tagger, he must go and stand on a gumdrop spot, holding hands out in front, ready for a candy cane rescuer. Candy cane rescuers, who can’t be tagged by a gumdrop tagger, are on the lookout for anyone standing on a gumdrop spot. Candy cane rescuers rescue a “frozen” gumdrop by handing over the candy cane. The student who was a “frozen” gumdrop is now a candy cane rescuer and the candy cane rescuer is now fleeing the gumdrop taggers.


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Are you making “Kudos Calls” to Parents?


I have an extremely rewarding goal this year as an educator. It’s gratifying for me, my students, and my students’ parents. The goal is simple. Make a minimum of five “kudos calls” per week. A kudos call is a phone call to parents celebrating their child with specific praise. It’s a way to check-in with parents to maintain open communication. I make kudos calls when my students demonstrate any of the following:

  • extra effort
  • exemplary sportsmanship
  • noticeable interest in a skill or activity
  • improvement in a skill
  • good deeds both in and out of PE
  • improvement in behavior
  • unique skills or characteristics
  • participation in an early morning program
  • well thought-out insight during class discussions
  • blossoming leadership

Often, kudos calls catch parents off guard.  They may notice the school phone number on caller ID and immediately assume something physically happened to their child, or it’s a call regarding misbehavior. To combat this, I immediately begin a kudos call by stating something like, “Good morning! This is Coach Cahill.  I would like to share something positive regarding (insert student’s name).”  This generally puts the parent at ease.

Kudos calls not only make parents proud, they provide a snapshot of their children’s day they otherwise would not know. The fact that a teacher has taken time to compliment their child, fosters a positive parent-teacher rapport. In many instances, a simple kudos builds lasting connections with parents. Kudos calls invariably trickle down to the students. Parents can’t wait to share the phone conversation with their child. In effect, this will often motivate the students, and demonstrate that you, the teacher, are dedicated to their emotional, physical, and social success. Recognizing even the smallest triumphs can bring herculean happiness to your students and parents.

Click Kudos Calls for a copy of the simple form I use to document my Kudos calls.

Now pick up the phone and make a kudos call!

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December’s Holiday Brain and Body Boost Challenge

For the month of December, students have the freedom to choose any physical activity lasting at least 20 minutes.  I’ve provided several options, however, it’s perfectly fine if they come up with their own ideas. The goal is for students to understand that playing, spending time with family, and a little physical work equates to exercise.  I’m hoping parents and family will also take part in many of the chosen activities since much of the challenge takes place over the holiday. Students write down their specific activity on their workout calendar each day.  At the end of the month, they can turn in their calendars to receive an award.

Click 2017 Holiday Fitness Challenge for an editable copy of the challenge and calendar.

Click Holiday Fitness 2017 Certificate for a copy of the December’s ward certificate.

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If you enjoyed this post, consider following my blog to receive future posts and fitness challenges.

Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/justybubpe.

Check out my Facebook group called Keeping Kids in Motion!

Youtube Channel

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