In elementary school, football is one of those sports where safety is always a serious concern. However, there are definitely ways of introducing elementary school students to the game of football while still creating a safe playing environment.
Two-Hand Touch Football
Materials Needed: 4 cones, 1 football (kickball can substitute)
- 1) Have your students pick teams. Use two students to be captains and alternate selecting the teams.
- 2) Use cones to set the boundaries for your playing field. Also make sure to have markers for the goal line. Use students’ jackets or any other items if possible. Ensure your students are playing on a grassy field if possible to minimize any cuts/bruises that can appear from students falling down.
- 3) Determine who which team gets possession first. Use either a coin, or even rock-paper-scissors if a coin isn’t available. The team who wins the coin toss or rock-paper-scissors game will kick the ball first. Or you can even remove kick offs from the game and just have the offensive team run to the opposite goal.
- 4) Instead of tackling players, you would have students tag opposing players with their two hands. If a student is tagged, then the play automatically stops. We even have students use a “Two-Finger Tag” instead of using their entire hand because it minimizes the chances of a student pushing another student down. Pulling or grabbing of clothes is also not permitted.
- 5) In our version of Two-Hand Touch football, each team has 4 opportunities to obtain a touchdown. The teacher or game coordinator needs to keep track or they can assign a student to keep track of how many downs a team has used.
- 6) Set a score limit or time limit. Another way to simplify the game is to only allow 6-pt touchdowns and not allow 3-pt field goals. You can use a cell-phone to keep track of the time.
- 7) After a winner has been decided, praise both teams for doing a great job and encourage good sportsmanship.
Flag football is similar to Two-Hand Touch football in the sense that students are still not allowed to tackle. However, instead of tagging the person possessing the ball, each student has a flag that other students can pull to stop the play.
Materials Needed: 1 flag belt per student, 4 cones, 1 football (or kickball can substitute)
But if you really want your students to play the real game, then check out these amazing tips from Livestrong on how to have a safe and fun tackle football game.
Have fun playing football with your students! 🙂