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Name of Activity:  Pirate Ball

Grade Level:  3-5

Equipment Needed:  4 each of 4 types of balls, 4 mats, rope, 4 hula-hoops, flags and belts.  However, much of this equipment is not absolutely necessary for this game to be successful.

Highlights:  running, evading skills, strategy, teamwork, and critical thinking.

Instructions:  Set up the playing area as follows:  Divide the gym into four equal quadrants.  (I use half court line for one direction, and my rope for the other.  However, tape, chalk, cones and such, will also work fine).  In the far corner of each quadrant you will build a base.  Each base consists of a mat place diagonally across the back corner.  Behind the mat (inside the small triangle created by the mat placement) place a hula-hoop.  Inside each hula-hoop should be 1 of each type of ball being used (I use basketballs, volleyballs, soccerballs and footballs).

     Divide the class into four equal teams and have each team put on flags and belts.  Each team should be designated by itís own color of flag or pinnies.  Each player must begin the game from his or her own home base.  Each team will be given a name that is representative of their particular ball (for now we will call them the football team, basketball team, etc.).  The object of the game is for each team to collect all of their designated balls from the opposing teams.  The first team to have gathered all four of their own balls will be declared the winner of that round.  Following are the rules of this game:  Once a player enters an opposing teams quadrant (pirate ship), he or she is susceptible to having their flag removed.  If you have a flag torn off, or fall off while in an oppositionís territory you must retrieve your flag and go to their dungeon (mat).  Once inside the dungeon (on the mat), you must take your flags off and wave them overhead while kneeling.  (Note):  Any player from any team can remove the flag of any player who is not inside his/her own quadrant (ship).  However, the captured player would go to the dungeon (mat) of the team whose quadrant he was in at the time of his capture.  If a student successfully makes it into an opposing teams vault (triangle of floor behind the mat) he must rescue one of his/her teammates (to rescue; student must escort his/her teammate, by the hand, all the way back to their own quadrant).  In all variations of this game, rescued students and their escort, get a free walk back to their quadrant as long as the hand joins them.  If a player makes it to the opposing teams vault and there are no prisoners from his team to rescue, then he may steal only the treasure that represents his team.

     Following are some other miscellaneous rules that help with this game:

1.      Students cannot have their flag removed as long as they are in their own quadrant.

2.      Players are not allowed inside their own vault unless they are returning with a piece of treasure (ball).

3.      You may rescue only 1 player at a time.

4.      Players are not allowed on their own mat, this is how I stop the arguments over weather a person was safely in the vault or not when their flag was removed.  By not allowing players to be on their own mat, and opposing players to be safe if in the vault area, arguments are eliminated because:  If a player had his flag removed by an opposing player not on a mat, then he must be out because the students are not capable of reaching the vault without being on the mat.

5.      You may not rescue a player and a ball at the same time.

6.      If a flag falls off in enemy territory then you are out and must go to the dungeon.


To win:

  1. Students must gather 4 matching balls regardless of their originally designated team
  1. Students must gather their own 4 designated balls.
    1. Students can steal only their designated ball.
    2. Students can steal any ball they choose

   3.  Any combinations can be chosen, 2 sets of three, or 2 sets of two.  Sometimes I will choose odd combinations depending on how long I want the game to last.


1.      Teams get a free walk back if they have a ball. (This year I am going to try to have the students use the ball on the way back; ex. dribble soccer ball, basketball etc.)

Teams do not get a free walk back with a ball.  In fact, they are not safe anywhere including their own property.

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