Zig-Zag has become one of my favorite activities over the past few years. I honestly don't remember if I learned this from someone or the idea came to me from watching one of my groups play Moonball. Zig-Zag for me has become more of a variation of Group Juggle with some added challenges. I've also found that I can use Zig-Zag with any age group - I simply change the tossable object and the distance between the lines (and maybe even a simple roll of the object as opposed to a toss). And, it plays well indoors (in just about any space) and outdoors with 10 to 40 players.
Set Up: Have your participants form into two lines of 5 to 10 people (I'll share about larger groups below) and have the two lines face each other (like in the picture). With younger students (e.g., kindergarden) the lines will be about five feet apart. With older groups (e.g., age 13 and above), set the lines eight to ten feet away. Have a variety of safe tossable objects ready for the challenge. Examples: Tennis Ball, Playground Ball, Beach Ball, Dodge Ball, Rubber Animal, Foam Pool Noodle, Water Balloon. A friend of mine, since he has one, uses a bowling ball, rolling it between lines (carefully).
Process: The basic challenge is to toss/catch (NOT hit like Moonball) the object of choice from one line to the other (zig-zagging) down the lines and back again for time. Simply changing the object of choice will vary the challenge level. Here are some other rules to add in order to vary the challenge even more:
Larger Groups: With groups of up to 40 (I've only tried Zig-Zag so for with 40 - could do more?), form more than two lines (no more than 10 players in a line). The lines will still be set up across from each other. Start a tossable object at the end of each line (e.g., three lines, three tossables). In this variation some players will have double duty working objects between two lines - the players in the lines at the ends of your formation will have to call out the names of the players standing with the inside lines - these players will need to turn around to receive tossables from the outside and inside lines - some tossers will need to wait on some catchers until they finish tossing to another line, then turn around. (You could, of course, simply have multiple zig-zag activities going on at the same time with two-line sets of players, but integrating the lines is much more interesting.)
Let me know if you come up with other zig-zagging variations. Add to the Comments below.
All the best,
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Dr. Chris Cavert is an internationally known author, speaker, and trainer in the area of adventure-based activity programming and its relation to community and pro-social behavior development.
This blog is a space for hands-on programable fun - energetic activities and ideas that can be used as a means to bring people together; activities and ideas we as educators can add to our social development curriculums.