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One of the best ways to start your school year is to get your students active and working together. Team building games and activities also referred to as cooperative learning activities, can be a great way to see which students work well with everyone, which work well with certain students, and which students struggle to work well with anyone. We all know we have the full range in any given class, so hopefully incorporating some team building activities and games will bring the entire class together.


Island Movers


One of the best team building games or cooperative activities to do when teaching elementary students was Island Movers! You can use as much equipment as you want to allow. The idea of the game is for students to use the equipment you give them to get everyone in their group from one end of the gym to the other without anyone touching the “shark-infested waters,” aka the gym floor.


Body Walking


Another team building activity that can be done is called buddy walking. This is a fun activity to try and record on video the first and last day of the activity to see how far the students’ teamwork skills have grown and improved. Everyone will have a good laugh and laughing together is a great way to bond.


Ideally, you want to use Team Walker Sets from Gopher for this activity. However, if you are low on funds and handy, you can make your own set with some 2x4s and rope. The idea of this activity is to get the students to think, communicate, and walk as a group from Point A to Point B. Some students will take charge and lead their group in a   march, while others will struggle to work together.




Geocaching or treasure hunting is an activity that can be done in small groups or as a whole class and can be a tremendous amount of fun. You are in control of how complex you would like to make this adventurous lesson. I have never had GPS units in my PE closet, but if you can purchase a couple, it would be helpful.  The units range in cost and complexity, so pick what you feel comfortable using and teaching. If you don’t have the funds, create maps of your own for students to follow. The great part about creating clues to use is that you can pull classroom concepts into PE class, again this all depends on how elaborate you want to make the lesson/unit.