14 activity ideas for a fun and safe recreation

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Teacher Carl Provost, a physical educator in an elementary school in eastern Montreal, shares ideas for activities and practical advice that will help young people and adults live together in the playground. Joy and pleasure will be there!

by Carl Provost, physical educator

How can we make children's free time in the playground more attractive and enjoyable? This guide answers them by describing new cooperative activities to experience on the schoolyard. It is part of the Quebec school training program.

The guide will allow you to review the environment of the playground to make it a healthy and active, stimulating and safe living environment. The cooperative games that are presented there are intended to be an extension of the physical education and health course and they respond to the needs and interests of young and old alike. They can also enhance the leisure activities of community members (young people, parents, grandparents) on days off and on vacation. The important thing is to have fun in complete safety!

It is my pleasure to welcome you to my new playground! 

“The schoolyard is a place where the child learns to play in order to live better in society. " 


1. Scooby-Doo and his scarves

  1. In a square of play, distribute a scarf to each player.
  2. The child puts his scarf in the front pocket of his coat or in the back pocket of his pants.
  3. Initially, Scooby-Doo (the host) tries to remove a scarf (dog tail) from a player because they don't have one.
  4. After collecting a scarf, he will take the time to place it outside the playing area.
  5. The child who has had his scarf removed by the host will pursue another child to steal his tail !!!

 2. “Aigle de St-Marcel” challenge

  1. At the start, all the players meet in the center of the “dodge ball” playing rectangle. In possession of a ball, two students throw from one of the two bases to eliminate the other players from the game.
  2. A player is eliminated if he leaves the rectangle of the game or if he drops a ball thrown directly at him.
  3. An eliminated player may return to the game if he first touches the ball outside the rectangle and if he eliminates a player by throwing from one of the 2 bases of play.
  4. You win the game if you are the last one alive inside the playing rectangle.

3. The Lords of the Rings 


  • 3 PG balls (inflatable foam)
  • 2 rings
  • 1 case of milk (or other container)

Description of the game

  1. Divide the group into two teams
  2. Appoint a Lord in each of the teams; the others are knights

The Lord of each team holds his ring in his hands. If he escapes during the game, the other team wins.

To play, the knights must throw the balloons towards the other team making sure to first bounce them in zone X (buffer zone delimited in the middle of the playing zone)

If a ball jumps into zone X and a player catches it, the player continues to play. 

If the player is hit by a ball but does not catch it, he is “injured”. He must then do a “MC jump” (jump with both feet while raising his hand) to be released. To do this, the Lord of his team will give him the ring. Suddenly, he will become the Lord of his team and get back in shape. 

The objective of the game is to hit the Lord of the other team with the ball. Warning: any Lord who touches the ball eliminates his entire team!

If a balloon gets stuck in zone X of the game, it can be picked up by a Lord, who will use his ring to direct it towards one of his knights. The Lords are the only ones with the power to walk in Zone X. 


  • Make photocopies of the game for each student.
  • Have a drawing contest illustrating the game in the classroom. The drawings can be displayed in the gymnasium.
  • Have them write, for example, in the form of a dictation with holes, the rules of the game.
  • Take the time to go play the game with the students on a beautiful sunny day!

4. Rock Paper Scissors

First, make sure the children in your group know the Rock Paper Scissors game.

Rock (closed fist)> Scissors (index and middle fingers in "V")

Paper (open hand)> Rock

Scissors> Paper


2 bibs of different colors.

Game instructions 

  1. Each team appoints a captain (teacher or student).
  2. Each team regroups on the back line of its square of play.
  3. From the bottom of his square of play, the captain decides which gesture (Rock, Paper or Scissors) will be used for the confrontation.
  4. The two teams line up face to face, separated by a center line (middle).
  5. The two captains say at the same time “Roche Papier Ciseaux”. The members of each team imitate the captain's gesture.

Once the action of each team has been announced:

  • The winning team of the gesture must run and hit the most people on the other team.
  • The losing team must flee to its end line without getting hit.
  • If a member of the losing team is tagged, that member must stay put and raise their hand. 
  • When everyone has regained the baseline, the captain of the winning team counts the hands raised: this is the score.
  • Everyone returns to their starting point and the captains choose a new gesture that they share with their team, and we start again!

If both teams perform the same gesture (therefore equality), each player returns to his end line with a smile to listen to the new gesture chosen by the captain!

Purpose of the game: the first team to get 5 points wins! We can then start a new game. Fun, isn't it ?!

5. Dodge ball, version 2.0

Description of the game 

  • Divide the students into two equal teams.
  • One person from each team starts at the back of the opposing field (we call it the cow). This person will return to the game as soon as the first player on their team is eliminated. 
  • The cow from each team throws a ball and tries to reach a player.
  • If an opposing player catches the ball, well done, it's their turn to throw.
  • If the ball bounces before reaching a person, that person is not eliminated. 
  • When a player does not catch the ball thrown directly at him, he is eliminated and quickly exits the pitch, heading towards the cow area. When he manages to hit someone with the ball, he can then return to his team.
  • If the ball goes out of the field, one of the players in the cow zone can pick it up.

A directed throw from the cow pen that eliminates an opponent frees all players on the team. The successful player remains in the cow zone while one of his teammates is eliminated.

The game ends when all the players of the same team are eliminated. When recess ends (or at the end of a timed game), the team with the fewest people in the cow zone wins.

6. Collect your ball


  • a tennis ball or a bag of sand
  • A space delimiting a bottle in the game of basketball (the bottle is the name of the restricted area)
  • 1 collection tray placed on the ground where the basketball hoop is located
  • a stopwatch

 (This game introduces children to the following activity in the same guide: the bottle.)

Description of the game  

At the start, all the students in the group line up behind the basketball bottle.

The first participant is given a ball or a bag of sand.

The kid with a ball goes into the bottle, throws from the free throw line to get a "recycling basket". If he succeeds on the first pitch, BRAVO! He gives his group a point! He retrieves his ball quickly to give it to the closest friend who has no ball. Then, he stands at the end of the line to have the chance to start again another time.

On the other hand, if the child misses the target, he retrieves his ball quickly and stands on the line of the nearest bottle to make another shot.

As long as he has not passed his recycling basket, he continues to throw.

 ** Warning! If the ball comes out of the bottle, the thrower is replaced, as at the start, at the free throw line.

The objective of the game is to get the most recycling baskets in a given time and try to improve your score with each game.

Come on, play friends! 

Question to ask the students before the game ...

But where is the bottle on the ground?!?

7. The bottle


  • 3 foam balloons
  • A space delimiting a bottle in the game of basketball (the bottle is the name of the restricted area)
  • A stopwatch

Description of the game  

The players all stand inside the basketball bottle.

At the start, 3 players have a ball in their hands and must take a shot for a basket from outside the bottle.

To stay alive in the game, throwers must either hit the ring or land a basket. Otherwise, they go into the bottle ... 

A player who successfully throws from the side of the bottle scores 2 points, which allows 2 players to get out of the bottle. A successful throw from the bottom, outside the bottle, releases 3. 

The game is timed. In the end, all the players must be released, otherwise, the GAME wins… Hence the interest of this cooperative game!

8. Gold medal (expert)

Description of the game

The medal is a circle on the ground divided into four equal parts. These parts represent: #1: GOLD, #2: SILVER, #3: BRONZE and #4: PARTICIPATION. 

Four players start the game, one player in each part of the medal).

The object of the game is to catch the player at fault who ends up in the OR part (#1) of the medal. The ball is put into play by the latter.

At the start, the player bounces the ball on the ground and hits it WITH OPEN HANDS towards one of the other three parts of the medal. (You cannot be eliminated on a serve.)

The ball must bounce into another part of the medal and the player concerned redirects the ball in the same way to any other area of the medal.

A foul is called when a player fails to hit the ball OR hits it outside the medal: 

  •  The player who made the fault will be placed at the end of the line of replacement players.
  • Players who can “move up” one position, and the first substitute takes over at position #4 (PARTICIPATION).

The player who succeeds in remaining at the GOLD #1 medal when recess is over is declared the winner.

Game inspired by "The game of 4 squares"

9. Power 4


  • 4 lines of 6 hoops of different colors
  • Party hats to separate the two teams

Description of the game

At the start, divide the group into two teams. Each team stands on each side of the game to see it well. A player takes turns in the unoccupied hoop of their choice. As in the board game Power 4, to win the game, 4 people from the same team must be together (side by side) diagonally, vertically or horizontally.

10. RPC to the dark! 


  • 2 different card decks

 Course of the game 

  • Divide the group into 2.
  • For each team, a leader will deal cards from his deck.
  • When everyone has a card, the game can begin.
  • To win a card, players must, while walking, challenge a player from the opposing team.
  • Following a paper scissors rock battle (RPC), the winner wins the opponent's card.
  • The loser returns to his boss to get a new card.
  • The first team to win the 12 face downs (jacks, queens, kings) of the other team wins the game. Each of these cards is worth 1 point.
  • When a leader has no more cards to deal, he becomes a player. We simply have to give him a card won against the opponent to allow him to fight a battle.

At the end of a game, each player on a team that has no cards gives a point to the other team.

11. MCNDF 


  • A dodge ball field
  • Two hockey nets
  • Two PG 8 balls
  • A cone delimiting the center of the game
  • Two bibs

How the game unfolds

  • Initially, divide the group into 2
  • Appoint a goalkeeper for each team. Give him a bib (invincibility).
  • To start the game, players stand behind their team's hockey net at the end of the dodge ball field.
  • The goalkeeper has 3 roles: he or she is invincible. He delivers the players eliminated from his team. He acts as a referee when a ball enters his net.
  • The objective of the game is to throw a ball from its area and succeed in scoring a goal. 
  • A player who catches a ball thrown at him or touches the ground before reaching it remains alive.
  • A player is eliminated when he cannot catch a ball thrown directly at him. Eliminated, he remains in place, jumps while raising a finger to the sky. To be delivered, the guardian will come and touch it with his hand.
  • The game ends when there is a goal. 


  • The team that loses the game can choose a player from the winning team to join its team in the next game.
  • Put the net on the ground. The opening to score the goal is therefore reduced.

12. The 4 corners of the world of Mr. Carl


  • 4 cones
  • 1 bib per player (4 colors)
  • Cones to delimit the 4 territories
  • Balloons


Divide the group into 4 teams. Each team is identified by a different color and each of them occupies a separate territory. The game is played like a dodge ball. Players should attempt to hit their opponents directly by throwing a ball at them. When a player is hit, he begins his “round the world tour”, ie he goes into the territory to his right. When a player has gone to the three opposing territories, he returns to his territory.

Suggestion: At the end of the game, add the points for each player per team: 4 points for a player who has not been eliminated. 3 points for a player who has been eliminated once. 2 points for a player who has been eliminated twice. 1 point for a player who has been eliminated three times.

* game inspired by the book Physical education and creativity through play

13. Twister

At the start, the boys line up on one side of the game, the girls on the other. (Variation: use colored bibs to form two teams.)

At the signal, with the ball in his hands, a player jumps in the hoops (like hopscotch), without touching the hoops:

  • one foot in the 1st hoop
  • two feet in the next two hoops (one in each hoop)
  • at the line of the three hoops, two feet and a hand each in a hoop
  • at the line of the four hoops, you have to hold the ball between your legs to place your hands and feet each in a hoop!
  • then we continue to the end.

(Always keeping the ball in your hands without dropping it!)

When the player comes to the end of the game, he gives the ball (the “bomb”) to the waiting person and stands behind the line of players.

When the bell rings, signaling the end of recess, the player with the ball in hand “JUMPS”, so the other team wins.

NB During the course, if the ball is dropped or the equipment moved, the child must start from the beginning and replace the equipment himself, if this is the case.


The playing surface is rectangular about the size of a basketball court, separated in two by a center line.

The originality of this sport lies in the fact that the two competing teams can score from both sides.

The teams are made up of 3 players.

The soccer ball is put into play at the start of the game at the center of the halfway line. The object of the game is to knock down the three pins arranged randomly on each side of it.

You can play the ball with your hands (put-o-play) or your feet. Passes and shots must hit the ground before hitting the target.

After a pin has been dropped, the opposing team immediately resumes play from where it fell. When a pin falls, it is mandatory to make the ball cross beyond the center line (in the middle of the game) to drop another pin.



Grandparents, parents, children: all of them have already had great experiences in a playground. For example, in the fall, make your team win the dodge ball, take the flag and run with all your might to reach the paid zone under the encouragement of friends. In winter, build the biggest snowman, stop the game during a game of boot hockey. In the spring, participate in the Olympics and eat hot dogs with the family on the last day of school. Everyone has a happy anecdote about THE COURT!

I would like to thank the young people and adults that I have worked with since the start of my teaching career, in particular the children at St-Marcel school where I have been teaching for several years. They were able to inspire me to create new games in order to always stimulate them and make them move while having fun.

We hope that the educational activities presented in this guide will become classics!  

To all of you, happy RECREATION!