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Solar System Soccer

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A creative soccer lead-up game for grades 3-6.  
Submitted by Marcia Bassham, Ellicott City, Maryland.


Here is an innovative activity that allows your students to use their soccer skills in a very challenging way! The activity is divided into four groups of players: Star Shooters, Sun Guards, Solar Flares, and Alien Backcatchers. This is an interesting game of “winners” and “winners.”

The students rotate positions throughout the game and therefore move from one “team” to another. We use it with our 3rd-5th grade students.


  • 1 Cageball (the sun)
  • 1 Child’s size plastic wading pool (used to hold the “sun”)
  • 20 Small traffic cones or other markers (“force fields”)
  • 4 Large cones (used to mark the field)
  • 4 Yellow nerf soccer balls (“target balls”)
  • 4 Orange nerf soccer balls (“solar balls”)
  • 4 Scrimmage vests (for “alien backcatchers”)

Procedures: Set-up the activity area as shown. Have 6-8 Star Shooters, 4-6 Sun Guards, 4-6 Solar Flares, and 4-6 Alien Backcatchers. Please feel free to modify the activity so that you get plenty of activity for every student. You may want to have two games going on at the same time to increase student participation!

Set-Up: In the center of the field is a cageball (sun) placed in a small plastic wading pool. Around the sun are stationed the Sun Guards.

The Sun Guards stand 4-6 feet away from the sun. Their job is to protect the sun from being hit by the yellow nerf balls (target balls) that are kicked by the Star Shooters. Each Star Shooter is stationed between two cones (force fields).

While a Star Shooter can move anywhere in the activity area, he or she can only attempt to kick a target ball from between his or her two cones. The Star Shooters will attempt to kick the target balls to hit the sun.

The Sun Guards can catch or deflect the balls with any part of their body. Balls that are caught are rolled back into the play area.

The Solar Flares are free roving players who dribble the orange “solar balls.” They are the Sun Guards’ first line of defense. They dribble the orange nerf balls throughout the playing area, trying to shoot their ball at one of the “force fields.”

If they are successful, the Star Shooters have to run one lap around the outside of the four boundary cones because they have been “blasted out of the star cluster.”

Solar Flares have to be careful because if their orange solar ball is controlled by a Star Shooter, it can be kicked anywhere in the solar system for the Solar Flare to retrieve!

The Alien Backcatchers wear the scrimmage vests and are stationed out of bounds.

Their job is to retrieve any yellow target ball and send them back to the Star Shooters.

One Alien Backcatcher is assigned to a side of the playing area. Alien Backcatchers cannot use their hands and must dribble the balls at all times.

Playing the Game: We rotate the players to a new position every 3-minutes. By using this method, the students “forget” what group is “winning” or “losing.” Start the game by giving four different Star Shooters a target ball and begin on your signal.

Play 3-minute quarters and simply rotate the players at the end of each quarter. Example: The four Alien Backcatchers can become Solar Flares, the Solar Flares take the place of four Star Shooters, four Star Shooters become the Sun Guards, and the Sun Guards are the new Alien Backcatchers!

You will find that this activity provides a great cardiovascular work-out for the students and allows the students to use their soccer skills in a purposeful manner! Students of all abilities seem to like rotating to the different positions throughout the game.

We hope you and your students have a “blast” with this activity!

Solar System Soccer Set-Up

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