Sample Games to Develop
Balance & Coordination

1.  HOPSCOTCH - Draw a hopscotch diagram on pavement with a piece of chalk.  The one illustrated above is common.  Each player needs something to throw, such as a key chain. When it is a player's turn, he stands behind the tossing line and throws his chain into box number one.  The chain must land inside the box without touching any lines, or his turn is over.  He then hops with one foot into each box thru nine, then hops back thru the boxes to the starting line again.  A player may not step in a box with his chain in it.  Remember, if he hops on a line or fails to jump into each box, his turn is over.  If a player succeeds in going all the way up and back again, he gets to try to throw his chain to the next box.  First player to throw his chain into all nine boxes wins.


2.  YOU CAN KNOT - You need a length of rope, yarn, or string for this.  Ask each of your friends in turn to tie a knot in the rope while he holds each end and doesn't let go.  He won't be able to do it unless he knows the trick.  This sets the stage for you to perform a little magic.  Fold your arms so your left hand goes over you right upper arm and your right hand goes below your left upper arm.  Grab one end of the rope with each hand or have someone hand you each end of the rope.  Now simply unfold your arms and behold!  You can knot!


3.  KING OF THE RING - Draw a circle large enough for all players to stand in.  Players lean over and grab their ankles.  Object of the game is to bump other players out of the ring.  Any player who falls down, lets go of his ankles, or is bumped out of the circle is out of the game.  Last player remaining in is the King of the Ring!


4.  CO-OP - Players think of various tasks that are easy for an individual to do by himself, but which would be challenging if done in cooperation with someone else.  For example, tying your shoelaces may be easy, but what if two players try to do it cooperatively?  One player using only his left hand, and the other player using only his right hand to try to tie the same shoelaces?  Try washing dishes with each player using only one hand.  Teams could race each other, but leave enough of an audience to just stand around and enjoy it.


5.  COMMERCIAL PANTOMIMES - Players take turns acting out silent television commercials in pantomime.  Other players try to guess the product and the brand.  First player to guess correctly gets to be the next leader.


6.  BLINDFOLD PICKUP - Buttons of various sizes are scattered on the floor.  Players are blindfolded and try to pick up as many buttons as they can before time is called.  Player having the most buttons wins.


7.  FEATHER RACE - Each player has a feather (or balloon) on a paper plate and tries to race to the finish line without losing the feather off the plate.  If the feather falls off, player must begin over again at the starting line.  Variations include having relays, or using something other than a feather.  (e.g. balloon).


8.  PAPER CUP RACE - Players each put a paper cup on their heads and try to race to the goal line without dropping it.  If dropped, the cup must be put back on the player's head.  First player to race to the goal line and back wins.  May be played as a relay race with teams, too.


9.  SHOULDER JOUST - Two players.  Draw a line on the ground.  Both players stand shoulder to shoulder with their arms folded across their chests a few steps back from the line.  Using only their shoulders, players try to force one another over the line.


10.  MUSICAL HOT FOOT - Players stand in a circle and pass a rolled up sock while the music plays.  Player holding the sock when the music stops is eliminated from the game.  Last surviving player wins.  You could use a kitchen timer and have the bell indicate when a player holding the sock is out.


11.  COOPERATIVE MARBLE DROP - Teams of two players take turns.  For this game you need a fairly shallow, square box such as a gift box.  You will also need one marble of one color, perhaps green, and two other marbles of a different color, perhaps red.  Cut a round hole a little larger than the size of a marble in the bottom of the box.  Each player holds one side of the box at waist height.  One player drops the three marbles in the box.  Players cooperatively try to maneuver the box so the green marble drops through the hole without either of the red ones doing so.  Each time the marble drops through, the team wins a point.  Each time one of the red marbles drops through, it becomes the next team's turn.  Team to get a score of ten first wins.


12.  SARDINE HIDE AND SEEK - One player hides, the other players try to find him.  Once they do, they must hide with him.  If the hiding place gets too crowded, find the nearest place you all can hide.  Play until last player finds the hiding place.  He becomes the next IT.


13.  PEANUT RACE - A number of unshelled peanuts are placed on a table about 15 feet from the players.  Each player is given a spoon and a bowl.  The bowls are left on the floor at the starting line.  When the starting signal is given, players race to the table and using only their spoons (Players may not touch the peanuts with their hands.) try to pick up one or more of the peanuts and then race back and put them in their individual bowls.  If a peanut falls to the floor, a player must stop and pick it up using only his spoon.  First player to get five peanuts in his bowl wins.  Buttons could be used instead of peanuts.  The game could also be played by teams as a relay race.


14.  HIP RACE - Players are divided into pairs.  Partners hold a piece of cardboard between the right hip of one player and the right hip of another.  No hands!  Just the pressure of your hips to hold the card in place.  Teams try to race toward the goal line with the cardboard remaining between them.  If a team drops it, they must stop and put it back in place.  First pair to reach the goal line wins.


15.  CAN LIFT - Place an unopened can on its side.  Kneeling on the floor, hold a 12" string between your hands and slide it under the can.  See if you can get the can to stand upright.  Fun to play alone - even more with friends.  Each player gets his own can.  First player to get his can upright without touching it with his hands wins.


16.  HOOK-UP RELAY - You'll need to mark off a starting and a turnabout line for this walking relay face; also two teams with each team's players divided into pairs.  A pair of players stands back to face with interlocking elbows at the starting line.  On the word "go", they walk as fast as they can.  One player walking forward and one backward until they reach the turnabout line.  Without turning, they then walk back to the starting line with the backward walker now the forward one.  Racing continues until all pairs from one team complete the race.


17.  NEWSPAPER RACE - Divide players into teams of two.  Each team is given two sheets of newspaper or cardboard big enough for both players to stand on.  Couples race by putting a piece of newspaper on the floor, stepping on it, placing the other sheet down in front of them, stepping on it together, etc., always standing on one or the other of the two sheets.


18.  STICK-IN-THE-MUD - Each player has a stick with a pointed end.  Use or prepare wet, soft ground outside.  First player throws his stick so it sticks up in the ground.  Next player tries to throw his stick in the ground so as to knock the first player's stick down, but have his own stick remain stuck.  If so, he wins the round.  First player to win three rounds wins the game.  If a player's stick is laying on the ground, the other player can win the round if he can throw his stick so it hits the one on the ground while successfully sticking in the ground itself.


19.  FOOTSIE - Two or more players.  Mark a goal line for each side.  Take off your shoes and socks and place a towel on the floor in the center of the room.  Players start about three feet away on opposite sides of the towel.  At the starting signal, players try to grab the towel with their feet or toes and pull or maneuver it across their goal line while keeping their opponents from getting the towel across theirs.  Players may not use hands to pull the towel or push or grab other players.


20.  BALLOON SOCCER - Two teams with opposite goal lines.  Players start halfway between the goal and try to pat or kick a balloon over one another's goal line.  No picking up or holding the balloon.  Team with most goals wins.


21.  BALLOON POP - A balloon is fastened to each player's left ankle.  At the starting signal, players try to pop as many of the other player's balloons as possible while protecting their own from being stepped on and popped.  Player with the last un-popped balloon wins.


22.  WALK ON CANS - Get two empty, large cans and some rope.  Put holes in the sides of the cans and pull the rope through them.  Put one foot on each can.  Hold onto the ends of the rope with your hands and try to walk.  It's a funny feeling!  Use them for races and relays.


23.  PANTOMIME A RHYME - One or more players silently act out a famous rhyme or story.  The other players try to guess it.  For example:

Jack and Jill



Little Boy Blue

Humpty Dumpty


Three Billy Goats Gruff

Mary Had a Little Lamb


Three Bears

Little Jack Horner


Little Red Riding Hood

The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe


24.  PENNY FOOT-RACE - Each player has a penny placed on each foot and races to the goal line.  Any player whose penny falls off must return to the starting line and begin again.  Variations include holding relays or placing the penny on various other parts of the body.  For example: shoulders, balanced on fingers, or the back of the hands.


25.  PENNY JOUSTS - Use pennies as in the game above.  Hold jousting contests in which players can push and shove while trying to cause the other players to lose their pennies while retaining their own.  Last player with a penny still in place wins.


26.  OLD CAR TIRES - Old car tires can offer many hours of fun.  Place the tires flat on the ground for challenging obstacle courses.  Walking on tires, stepping from one to another, attempting to balance on the edge of a tire, improves equilibrium and increases self-confidence.

  1. Tire-rolling races or relays.
  2. Tire-rolling contests.  See who can send a  tire rolling by itself for the farthest distance.
  3. Tire-rolling obstacle courses.                             
  4. Off-centered tires.  Glue a brick on the inside of a tire.   As player rolls the tire he must adjust to the uneven movement caused by the weight of the brick.
  5. Have players design their own games.  You will be quite surprised at how many they come up with.


27.  NEWSPAPER SWORD-FIGHTING - Players roll up newspapers and have sword fights with them.


28.  MARBLE WALKS - Players take off shoes, hold a marble between their toes, and race without dropping it.  Jousts would also be fun in which players try to make each other drop their marbles before losing theirs.


29.  SKATING - Roller skating promotes balance and awareness of the body and its capabilities.  This is something the entire family can enjoy.  Take skates along to your next picnic.  The added activity can make even a simple picnic a neat family event.


30.  MARBLE JOUSTS - In Medieval times two mounted knights would engage in combat by trying to knock each other off his horse.  In the spirit of those times, you can now play MARBLE JOUST.  Each player holds a teaspoon with a marble in it.  Players cannot use their other hands, but can bump or shove with their bodies.  The object of the game is to get the other players to drop their marbles without dropping yours.  Any player dropping his marble is out of the game.  Last player with a marble in his spoon wins.


31.  HORSE FIGHTS - Players get into pairs.  One player acts as the HEAD of the horse and the other player acts as the TAIL.  The second player holds on to the front player and has a section of rolled newspaper tucked into the back of his shirt or belt as a horse's tail.  The object of the game is to grab another horse's tail while not losing your own. Only the HEAD of the horse can grab tails.  Whenever a horse grabs another horse's tail, it earns a point.  The tail is then given back.  Horse winning the most tails wins.


32.  CHARIOT FIGHTS - Each chariot is composed of three players.  Two players stand side by side and link arms.  They are the horses.  The driver stands in back and holds on to the player's belts.  He has a section of rolled newspaper tucked into the back of his belt as a horse's tail.  The object of the game is to grab another chariot's tail while not losing your own.  Only the horses may grab tails.  Whenever a chariot loses its tail, it gets another one.  Chariot winning the most tails wins.


33.  FOLLOW THE LEADER - Leader performs various physical stunts for the other players to follow.  This could include hopping on one foot a certain number of times, doing somersaults, or other gymnastic tricks.  Other players try to follow and do the same.  Players take turns being the leader.


34.  PAPER CUP TAG - Play like regular tag, but each player (including IT) balances a paper cup (or other object) on his head.  If cup falls off, the player must balance it again before going on.  Have definite boundary lines for the game.  This could even be a good indoor game if you have a large room or garage available.


35.  COORDINATION RACES - Draw circles on the ground for places players to step in during the race.  The circles may also indicate special directions, like having to step in it with only the left foot, hopping three times, sitting down, etc.  Players should probably have their own circles drawn so they don't get in each other's way.  This would also allow taking into consideration the various players' abilities and ages.  First player to complete his circles wins.  If players are of similar abilities, they might enjoy the challenge (and bumping around) of having everyone use the same circles.