Container Ball




Container Ball

State Standard: 1, 2, 3, 5
Equipment: 4 Folding Mats, Several gator balls, & jersey’s Grade: 3-6
Purpose: Cardiovascular Fitness, Throwing Skills, Movement in General Space, Muscular Strength, & Teamwork.
Time: 15-25 Minutes


Game Description: Container Ball incorporates many skills – running, fleeing, dodging, throwing, catching, teamwork strategies, and shooting – all in one fun massive 2-team game! The object is to get more balls into your container than the opposing team, and to empty the opposing teams’ container. The gym is divided by the center line (also needed are the end basketball hoop on each side). “Containers” for the opposite teams are built on each side using tumbling mats placed on their ends to form a rectangle (can use some sort of clamp to hold together if needed). ‘Jails’ are placed down on each side as well by laying a mat flat down on the floor.

Game play description:

  • Players are safe when they’re on their own side.
  • Players who cross over to the other team’s side can get tagged by an opponent who is holding a ball. If tagged, the player goes to the jail on that side. Opponents cannot touch or block an opponent if they are not holding a ball. A player in jail may only possess a ball that he/she has caught in the air.
  • There are 2 ways to get out of jail (these are escapes, not a free pass back to their own side): 1) Catching a ball in the air while on the mat (the ball must be thrown by a teammate from their team’s side of the gym), or 2) The teacher calling out “Jailbreak”.
  • A player has 3 options after getting out of jail and stepping off the mat: 1) Try to make it back to your side without getting tagged 2) Try to throw the ball into the container and then try to make it back to your side, or 3) Try to make a basket.


  • You may not throw or shoot from your jail mat.
  • If a player makes a basket then his/her team gets to empty and take possession of all balls in their opponent’s container, and the player who made the basket gets a free pass back to their side.
  • Players may puppy guard the containers, but NOT the jails. Use cones or lines to mark a “no enter zone” that the defense can’t enter into.
Concerns: Be Careful when throwing a ball! Students are not allowed to throw a ball at another student!!
This idea is from: Russ Alvarez & Bruce Bowman



About mrkirsch

Greetings from Garfield Elementary School! My name is Dan Kirsch. I teach Physical Education for students in grades K-5! Please read about what students are learning within our Physical Education program at Garfield!!


  1. The container game. Once they cross the center line with the ball. Can they stop and shot the ball or do they have to run it in, and do you ever have a student run into the mats? And for getting out of jail do they have to have two feet on the mat when they catch the ball?

    1. Thank you for your questions!! I have changed the game couple times for my students. For instance, I have my 4-5 grade students can ONLY get out of jail if someone from their team throws them a ball and they catch it before it hits the ground! I have had students run into the mats, so I have add protectors, which I call the “safeties” to defend the mats. This means if a student tries to go and steal they may get tagged by the “safety.” Keep in mind I only do this with 3 thru 5 graders. As for K-2 students I have learned that it’s best that I do not let them run across the line. They must stay on their team’s side and practice throwing. Now, if someone catches their ball then they must go to jail in which someone from their team must throw them a ball in order to get out of jail. Hope this makes sense. 🙂

    2. They are able to stop and shoot if they choose. As for getting out of jail they can only have one foot on the mat that is ok. As for older students I require them to have both feet on the mat.

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