Eight Creative Games Using Topple Tubes

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For more information on Gopher’s ACTION! Topple Tubes.

1. Topple Three Up

Objective: For two players try to outdo each other by getting three of the four Topple Tubes facing up.

Scroll to next game (Topple Four Up Dribble)

Fundamental Movement Skills: Locomotor (Dodge, Run)

Equipment List:

Setting Up:

  • Lay four Topple Tubes in a square about 4-8 paces from each other.
  • Two players compete.
  • Each player stands in the opposite corner.
  • Each player is assigned a color (blue or yellow).

Instructions:

  • Each player tries to be the first to get three of the Topple Tubes up on their color.

Questions & Notes:

  • Is there a strategy that works the best?
  • Does fatigue play a factor?
  • What are you thinking about when you compete?

2. Topple Four Up Dribble

Objective: Each player attempts to stand up four Topple Tubes with their color up.

Scroll to next game (Your Color Up)

Fundamental Movement Skills: Locomotor (Dodge, Run), Manipulative Retain (Dribble)

Equipment List:

  • Seven Topple Tubes per two players
  • One bouncy ball per player

Setting Up:

  • Seven Topple Tubes are laid on their sides in a circle appropriately six to seven paces apart.
  • Two players stand in the center of the circle, each with a bouncy ball in hand.
  • The players determine which one of them is blue and which one is yellow.

Instructions:

  • On the signal, players begin to bounce (or could dribble with feet) the ball to a Topple Tube and stand it on end so their color is up. They then go to other tubes that are laying on their side or have their opponent’s color up and flip it to their color up.
  • The first player to get four of their Topple Tubes color up is the winner.

Questions & Notes:

  • Variation
    • Use no balls
    • Use a soccer ball or football and dribble with feet.
    • Spread the Topple Tubes out further so that players run and dribble further distances.
  • Questions for Understanding
    • Is there a tactic that seems most helpful?
    • Is there a way to dribble that improves your success?
    • Are there emotional feelings that go along with winning or losing? Why? 

3. Your Color Up

Objective: In a preset time for each team to either have the Topple Tubes blue-side up or yellow-side up.

Scroll to next game (Seven Degree)

Fundamental Movement Skills: Manipulative control

Equipment List:

Setting Up:

  • Give half of the Topple Tubes to each team.

Instructions:

  • At the signal, players place their Topple Tube on the ground.
  • Players run to the other Topple Tubes that are flipped for the other team and flip them so their team’s color is up.
  • Players cannot flip the same Topple Tube without flipping another one first.

Questions & Notes:

  • Variation:
    • Subs: If there are not enough Toppletubes to go around have extra players stand on the edge of the playing area. Once a player has flipped one Topple Tube, that player runs to the sidelines and tags a waiting player who flips a tube and tags again…
  • Questions for Understanding:
    • What are effective techniques or strategies to increase success in this game?
  • Thanks to Jordan Stolp at NYShape for this idea!

4. Seven Degree

Objective: To score a point for setting up the three pins. Use Topple Tubes instead of foam pins or water bottles.

Scroll to next game (Topple Double Tic Tac)

Fundamental Movement Skills: Locomotor (Dodge, Run), Manipulative Send (Throw), Manipulative Receive (Catch)

Equipment List:

  • 3 Toppletubes
  • 2 12″ spots
  • 1 oversized foam tennis ball

Setting Up:

  • Best played with two teams of three players each.
  • Place spots about five paces apart (closer for less able throwers and further for more able throwers)
  • On one spot stand one foam pin up and lay the other two down beside it.
  • Three players (the defense) stand behind the pin.
  • Three players, one player holding a ball, stand behind the other spot.

Instructions:

  • The first player throws the ball at the pin.
    • If unsuccessful and the defense does not catch the ball, the player tries again. ​
    • If unsuccessful and the defense catches the ball, the player is out–once all three players are out, teams switch roles.
    • If successful in knocking the pin down, the defense gets the ball (the ball carrier cannot move but can toss the ball to a teammate–and must do so within three seconds) and attempt to hit one of the offensive players.
      • If successful in hitting a player the team is out and teams switch roles. ​
      • If the offensive team can get to the pins and set them up before one of the offensive team members is hit with the ball, the offensive team scores a point and play resumes from the start but whoever was out is still out.

Questions & Notes:

  • For Defense​
    • What makes it easiest to catch a ball and make an out? ​
    • What are the best strategies to hit an offensive player when they have knocked the pin down?
  • For Offense​
    • What makes it easiest to hit the pin or not have the ball caught if it misses the pin?​
    • What are the best strategies to get to reset the pins?

5. Topple Double Tic Tac

Objective: Be the first team to get two sets of three of your colors in a row.

Scroll to next game (Pushup Tic Tac Toe)

Fundamental Movement Skills: Locomotor (Run)

Equipment List:

Setting Up:

  • Two teams, of three players each, line up behind a start line. Label one team blue and the other white.
  • Lay nine Topple Tubes on their sides approximately nine paces away from the starting line.

Instructions:

  • On the signal to begin the first players run to the Toppletubes and stand one tube up so that their colour is on top.
  • Once the first player runs back and tags the second player, the second player does the same… each team trying to get three of their colour in a row and attempt to block their opponents from getting three in a row.
  • Once all nine tubes are standing players can flip one of their opponent’s tubes in an effort to get three in a row.
  • Once one team has two lines of three in a row they win. Lay the tubes flat and play again.

Questions & Notes:

  • Question for Understanding:
    • Are there any key spots to control? 
  • Thanks to Gopher’s Jordan Stolp for this idea.

6. Pushup Tic Tac Toe

Objective: • To get three markers in a row.

Scroll to next game (Topple Numbers in Sequence)

Fundamental Movement Skills: Non-locomotor (Push-Up)

Equipment List:

  • Two sets of three playing objects per team (half-cones, bean bags, foam squares… of different colors to differentiate the two players)

Setting Up:

  • Two players face each other in a push-up position.
  • Each player has three same-colored bean bags in front of them.

Instructions:

  • One player begins by placing a bean bag.
  • The next player places his bean bag–keeping in mind that all bean bags need to be placed in a three by three square (this can move).
  • The first player plays the second bean bag, then the second player, then the first player, and then the second player.
  • Once all six bean bags have been placed, and if there is no three in a row for either player, then the first player moves one of his bean bags, and then the second player moves one…. until one player has three in a row.

7. Topple Numbers in Sequence

Objective: Teams of three players try to find a set of numbers in order of lowest to highest.

Scroll to next game (Word Relay)

Fundamental Movement Skills: Locomotor (Run)

Equipment List:

Setting Up:

  • Number your Toppletubes on the yellow ends 1-24 (be sure to underline 6 and 9 and 12 and 21).
  • Place the Toppletubes in a grid pattern with sufficient space between so players can walk/run between the columns and rows.
  • Place six spots or cones at least four paces from any of the ends of the grid.
  • If you have 24 players place teams of three players behind each cone/spot.
  • If you have more players add more players to each team.
  • Assign each team a set of 4 numbers (1-4, 5-8, 9-12….).

Instructions:

  • Instruct the teams that they must find their numbers and they have to collect them in order. For example, team 9-14 must first bring back 9, then 10, then 11, and then 12.
  • On the leader’s signal to begin the first players from each team run to the grid, flip a Toppletube in their hand to see the number underneath.
  • If the number is not one from their team’s set, they place the tube back on its place with the number down.
  • If the number is not the first number, or the next needed number, the tube is placed number down in the spot it was retrieved from, and team members are informed which number it is and where it is located.
  • If the number is the next needed number the Toppletube is placed number up by their spot/cone.
  • Whatever happens after the player finishes looking at a tube, that player tags the next teammate who then runs to flip the next tube.
  • First team to collect their tubes in numerical order wins.

Questions for understanding:

  • Questions for understanding:
    • What teamwork skills are helpful in succeeding at this task most efficiently?
  • Variation: Use paper plates numbered at one side instead of the Topple Tubes.

8. Word Relay

Objective: To score as many points as possible by placing the Topple Tubes in connected words.

Fundamental Movement Skills: Locomotor (Run)

Equipment List:

  • Two sets of Topple Tubes (48) lettered as following on the blue end of the Topple Tubes–number before the letter indicates how many Topple Tubes should have that number, and all letters are worth one (1) point unless otherwise noted:

4 x A
1 X B
1 C
2 D
6 E
1 F
1 G
1 H
4 I

1 J 3 points
1 K
2 L
1 M
3 N
4 O
1 P
1 Qu 5 points
2 R

2 S
3 T
1 U
1 V 3 points
1 W
1 X 3 points
1 Y
2 Z 4 points

Setting Up:

  • Place all Topple Tubes with the letters down in the middle of the playing area.
  • Place six poly spots around and as far from the Topple Tubes as works for this game–the further away the more running players do.
  • Divide the players into four teams of four players.
  • Each team lines up behind a different poly spot.

Instructions:

  • One player begins by placing a bean bag.
  • The next player places his bean bag–keeping in mind that all bean bags need to be placed in a three by three square (this can move).
  • The first player plays the second bean bag, then the second player, then the first player, and then the second player.
  • Once all six bean bags have been placed, and if there is no three in a row for either player, then the first player moves one of his bean bags, and then the second player moves one…. until one player has three in a row.


Notes and Questions for Understanding:

  • Variations:
    • Use plastic cups with letters on the bottom.
    • Set a limit of 10 tubes (for four teams) which allows teams to return a letter they do not want and pick up a new one.
  • Questions for Understanding:
    • What is the best way to use the team’s skills in creating words?
    • How does it feel when your suggested word is accepted? Rejected?
    • How can each player contribute best to team success?
    • How do you think each player felt about their contribution to their team’s effort?
    • Have all players select a small document and count up the number of times each letter used. Then they can discuss if the number of letters used in this game, and the points awarded to each letter, corresponds well with the distributions they found.

John Byl, PhD, is the Canadian Gopher Sport Educational Consultant, was president of CIRA Ontario (2003-2018), and a retired professor of Physical Education at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario (1986-2014). He is the winner of several professional awards, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for promoting physical activity across Canada, and is a regular workshop leader. He has a special interest in promoting fun, active participation for all children and developing and maintaining personal wellness.

John Byl, PhD, is the Canadian Gopher Sport Educational Consultant, was president of CIRA Ontario (2003-2018), and a retired professor of Physical Education at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario (1986-2014). He is the winner of several professional awards, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for promoting physical activity across Canada, and is a regular workshop leader. He has a special interest in promoting fun, active participation for all children and developing and maintaining personal wellness.

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