The Frisbee Game: An Option for PE

Stray from the daily norm by playing this exciting outdoor game with your class.

By Greg Harrison


Dog jumping to catch frisbee

During my teaching career, I must have spent thousands of hours out on the playground and on ball fields, leading a variety of games with my classes. Some of the games are standard fare, such as: kickball, wallball, soccer, softball, and basketball. However, many of the games we played were of my own design. In this article, I'd like to describe how to play The Frisbee Game, which is a game I invented.

Sometimes, when we go outside for PE, I lead games in which the entire class is required to participate. Other times, I offer a choice: students can play the game I am going to lead, or they can choose another activity on the playground. The only rule is that everyone has to be moving their bodies in one way or another. Ideally, The Frisbee Game is played with 10 - 14 people; so it is a great activity for part of your class, while the rest of your students are engaged in other activities.

Setting Up The Frisbee Game

In order to lead this game, you have to be quite good at throwing a Frisbee. It's best to use a high-quality Frisbee that weighs 160 grams. The 175 gram Frisbee will do as well, but I've found that for the elementary level, the slightly lighter weight disc is best. These are standard weights for the Frisbees you find at most sporting goods stores. Having two Frisbees will keep the game going at a good pace. To start, divide your kids into two equal teams. Mix up the boys and girls evenly. Choose one person to be your assistant. The game is played in six rounds, and the first team to score 30 points is declared the winner.

Rounds One and Two: Straight Line Catch

For the first two rounds, have each team make a straight line. There should be at least ten feet of space between the lines, and you should stand about 20 feet away. Throw the Frisbee to the first person in line. If he catches it, he gets a point for his team. If your throw is uncatchable, give him a do-over. The catcher throws the Frisbee back to you, then goes to the back of the line. Quite often, students' throws are off target, so your assistant chases down the Frisbee and gets it back to you, while you use the second Frisbee to make the next throw. Repeat this for both teams until each player has had a chance to catch the Frisbee. For the second round, move back until you're about 30 feet away, and make a throw to each team member as before.

Rounds Three and Four: Participant Throws

Now it's time for players to test their throwing accuracy. Choose some kind of target. It could be between two trees that are close together, into a soccer goal, hitting a picnic table that's been turned on its side, or some other obvious target. Most elementary-aged children aren't adept at throwing the Frisbee yet, so have them form their lines fairly close to the target. Once again, they take turns in their lines, and each team receives a point if its member successfully hits the mark. Complete two rounds.

Rounds Five and Six: Team and All-Group Catches

Now it's time for some group work! Have each team spread out into a group about 50 feet away from you. Each group should be separated by at least 20 feet. The task for each group is to catch a long throw that you make. It doesn't matter which member makes the catch for the team. You can make the throws quite challenging by purposefully aiming to the left or right of the group so that they have to run to make the catch. Each time a team successfully catches the long throw, they get one point for their team. Make five throws to each team in this fashion.

Round six is where it really gets fun! At this point in the game, the teams usually have somewhere around 20 points each. Since the goal is to get 30 points, you'll play round six until there is a winner. In this round, anyone who catches the Frisbee gets two points for their team. The kids make one big group, and they all try to catch the Frisbee. You can make long throws over the heads of the group, short tosses that make them run forward, tosses to the left and the right, or high "floaters" that come down right in the middle of the group. Like in football, there can be no "interference" with someone trying to catch a disc. If there is a blatant foul, the person who was fouled gets a "free throw" from you that they can catch without any competition from the other players. Repeat this until one team gets to 30 points.

If you like to play Frisbee, I guarantee you'll enjoy playing this game with your class. The Frisbee Game is always one of the most popular games with classes! Here are some other Frisbee lessons for you to peruse.

Round Out Your PE Time with these Additional Frisbee Games

Frisbee HORSE

Most young players have a harder time throwing the Frisbee than catching it. This lesson focuses on mastering the technique of throwing the Frisbee. There are many ideas for throwing games, and an excellent description of how to properly hold, throw, and follow through while tossing a Frisbee.

Disc Golf

Fourth and fifth graders should enjoy this lesson which introduces them to the game of Frisbee Golf, also known as Disc Golf. This is a sport which has gained enormous popularity over the years. The lesson is easy to implement, and there is a link on Frisbee throwing tips, and one that takes you to the National Disc Golf Association website. Excellent!

Frisbee Keep-Away

Designed for middle schoolers who have had experience throwing and catching the Frisbee, here is a simple game of keep-away, but its real purpose is as a lead-up activity to playing the awesome game of Ultimate Frisbee.

Frisbee Physics

Yes! The game of Frisbee can also lead to academic studies; especially math and physics. This is designed for middle to high schoolers.  They study how environmental factors affect the flight of a Frisbee, then engage in an experiment in which groups try to figure how to get the most distance out of their tosses. A wonderful, cross-curricular lesson.