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Reuse old items to create new games

This is an excerpt from 50 Games for Going Green by Carol Scaini & Carolyn Evans.

Activate your students’ interest in environmental issues through fun physical activities with
50 Games for Going Green.

Sock It to Ya!

Eco Thought

Healthy active living takes on a new meaning when we take a second look at items and find new ways to be active using old stuff. Taking small steps to reuse simple items is a great way to help save the earth’s resources and keep the earth healthy. Can you think of items that can be used to create new games?


  • Music
  • 4 sets of large plastic soda pop bottles (6 bottles per set)
  • Socks, recycled paper, or yarn balls, 3 per student
  • 1 tennis racket (made with a wire hanger and pair of nylons) per student at the station
  • 1 to 4 recycling bins
  • Hand towels or dish towels, 1 per student at the station


  • Divide the students into four groups.
  • Have students perform the activity at each station and rotate when time is called or music stops.

How to Play

Station 1: Pop Bottle Bowling


  • Set up the large plastic soda pop bottles as bowling pins.
  • Roll up a pair of socks to use as a bowling ball.


Students use the sock ball to knock down the bottles. Each student should take three turns bowling, then reset the pins for the next player.

Station 2: Hanger Tennis


  • Bend the wire coat hanger into a diamond shape to create a tennis racquet and pull one leg of the nylons over it to create a small tennis racket.
  • Roll up one sock to make a small, light ball.


Students try the following challenges:

  • Keep the ball in the air by bouncing it on the racket.
  • With a friend, keep the ball in the air by hitting it back and forth to each other.
  • Count the number of times you can bounce the ball without dropping it. Start counting again from zero if you drop the ball.

Station 3: Sock Ball Basketball


Place a recycling bin at the station and roll up a pair of socks to use as a ball.


Students perform a set shot by shooting the sock ball into the recycling bin. Students may increase the challenge by placing the box farther away from the starting point. They also may set up a basketball game by passing the sock and shooting it into the bin.

Station 4: Sock Towel Toss


Provide hand towels or dish towels to each student along with balls made of socks, recycled paper, or yarn.


Hold a small towel at each end, fold it in, and snap it out to toss a rolled-up sock into the air and catch. Practice passing the rolled-up sock back and forth to a friend.

Read more from 50 Games for Going Green by Carol Scaini and Carolyn Evans.