The National Association of Sports and Physical Education, NASPE, considers dodgeball to be inappropriate for use in schools. The reason behind this is that some kids are not as athletic as others and can feel left out. Changing up the rules allows all the children a chance to be successful and makes the game more fun.
Use softer balls when playing dodgeball for elementary PE classes. Nerf balls, beach balls, soft playground balls all move slower through the air and are easier to dodge. Soccer balls, volleyballs and firmer playground balls are all good for dodgeball games in older elementary PE classes. Dodgeball can create an atmosphere of team work and cooperation if approached correctly. Keep the ball constantly moving and encourage players to help their team mates.
In this adaptation of a dodgeball game for elementary PE, nobody is a target. You will need an equal number of soft balls and a cageball which is a large ball, four to six-feet in diameter.
DIvide the PE class into two teams with an equal number of balls on each side of the half court line. Set the cageball on the center line. The object of the game is to throw the small balls at the cageball. The teams try to move it into the opposing team’s court. Players cannot cross the half court line to retrieve balls. If a player is touched by the cageball, the other team wins.
Scatter is a variation of dodgeball that is played in an every man for himself manner. No teams are necessary. The class gathers in the center of the gym and the game begins with a jump ball.
The player who grabs the jump ball is the attacker and the rest of the PE class needs to scatter. The attacker can throw the ball or tap it on a player maintaining possession of the ball.
If the attacker throws the ball and another player catches it, the attacker is out and everyone the attacker eliminated is back in the game.
Play murder ball on a basketball court. The baskets play a big role in this version of the game. The class is divided into two teams. Separate teams on either side of the court. Place the balls in the center of the court. When the game begins, players from either team race the center to grab the balls. Like in traditional dodgeball, they toss the balls to get players on the other team out.
The difference is that in Murder Ball if a player scores a basket all their teammates that were eliminated are back in the game.
War is an interesting adaptation of dodgeball. Regular dodgeball rules apply except that instead of players sitting out when the ball hits them, they are still in the game although the body part that touched the ball is not allowed to move for the rest of the game. For example if a player’s right arm was hit, the arm must remain limp and cannot be used to throw or catch a ball. If a leg or foot is hit, then they lose the use of that leg, if both legs are hit, the player can scoot along the floor.
Players can regain use of one of their body parts if they catch a thrown ball. Although, if a player is hit in the chest or back they are automatically out.
Appoint a “secret medic” on each team. They can touch the “injured” body part and the player can regain use of it. Keeping the medic a secret is an important part of this adaptation since once discovered, the other team can target the medic in order to eventually win the game. One way to keep the secret is to encourage teams to move in groups while playing to camouflage the medic.
National Association for Sport and Physical Education: https://www.aahperd.org/naspe/standards/upload/Position-on-Dodgeball-in-PE-2006.pdf
Physical Education Update: https://www.physicaleducationupdate.com/public/551.cfm