Cooperative Activities


I am back!  I apologize for the long hiatus.  July and August was summer break, which was quickly followed by September and the start of school and soccer (I coach 7th and 8th graders).  My other excuse was that my weekends have been busy with painting my house (a project I thought would have been completed by mid-summer)!  Anyway, I will try to be more consistent from this point moving forward.  I hope everyone that began their school year recently is off to a great start!


“Top 5 Cooperative Games”


  1. Bumper Cars

  • Equipment: Blindfolds
  • Object: Trust
  • Directions: Have students find a partner and find a good self space in the activity area. One partner is in front with their arms outstretched (“bumpers”) and the other stands behind. The front person uses a blindfold (or closes eyes). The partner in back is the driver and uses voice commands to drive the partner in front (the car). Students should be encouraged to walk. Tell the driver that the “emergency brakes” can be applied only if necessary; this is done by the driver placing his/her hands on the shoulders of the car.


  1. Triangle Tag

  • Equipment: None
  • Object: Group of 3 works together to keep target away from tagger
  • Directions: Have students form groups of three and join hands. The fourth group member will be the “Tagger” and stands outside the circle of three. Designate one person in the circle to be the “Target.” The tagger attempts to touch the target. The group holding hands will work together to try and protect the target. Play for a designated amount of time and switch roles.


  1. Group Juggle

  • Equipment: Large Foam balls (about 1 per student)
  • Object: Cooperate in small groups to keep balls in the air
  • Directions: Group students in teams of 5-7. Have the group start with one foam ball. The juggling starts with one member tossing the ball to a teammate (but not a teammate directly to their right or left). Continue to pass the ball to each member of the team. Tell your students that it is very important that everyone remembers the order in which the object was tossed. Once a pattern has been set with one ball, try the same pattern using two balls, then three, or maybe four or more. As groups begin to toss more objects, they will notice the importance of discussing strategies (i.e. levels at which to throw, speed at which the balls are thrown, etc.).


  1. Grand Canyon

  • Equipment: climbing rope, vaulting box (or four folded mats stacked upon one another), and mats placed around for safety
  • Objective: Use cooperation to get all group members across the Grand Canyon
  • Directions: The Grand Canyon is the area between the starting line and the vaulting box. If any member of the group touches the floor anywhere in the Grand Canyon, a student who has successfully crossed the canyon and the person who touched the floor must start over. If a group member falls or jumps off the vaulting box, that person and one other person must start over. The group takes turns swinging over the Grand Canyon and onto the vaulting box.


  1. Beat the Clock

  • Equipment: Stopwatch
  • Object: Use teamwork to accomplish task in the shortest time possible
  • Directions: Form a circle and link hands. Identify a student that is the top of the clock (12 o’clock) and the student who is at the bottom of the clock (6 o’clock). On “Go” the group rotates clockwise halfway around, until the top of the clock gets to the 6 o’clock position. Then the group stops and quickly reverses directions (counter clockwise) until they are back to the starting position. Record the time. If any part of the circle comes unlinked, add a two second penalty. Repeat to try to beat the best time!


  1. Thank you! I used to do a greeting/activity in my Morning Meeting like Group Juggle. In a circle, we would toss a ball to greet a friend. They would have to remember who they greeted and who greeted them. Then we would do it again in a silent greeting by just tossing the ball to the same person. After the ball had been tossed to five people, I would start a second ball and then I’d start a third ball. I had forgotten this greeting. Thank you for your post. I’m doing this tomorrow in my Morning Meeting. This is a good activity to help wake up the brain!

    1. It sounds like you use Responsive Classroom. There are many similarities with that and cooperative games. Among others, both improve the climate and social dynamics of a class. Good luck!

    1. So happy to hear from someone that is not a teacher! These games are great for any setting, including after school! Thank you for teaching your kids fun and engaging activities!

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