Keep It Up

Activity Overview

Participants learn about and practise working in a group to keep an object in the air.

  • Primary (Ages 6-9)
  • Junior (Ages 10-12)


  • Gymnasium
  • Outdoors

Materials and Equipment

  • 1 ball per group (e.g., volleyball, beach ball, balloon)
  • 4 pylons per group


Inspect the activity area and eliminate potential hazards. Check that the activity surface provides safe traction. Set boundaries for the activity a safe distance from walls and obstacles. Provide a safe distance between activities. Remind participants to be aware of others in the space as they are moving and looking up at the ball.

Activity Information

Activity Set-up

  • Divide participants into small groups (e.g., four to six).
  • Participants create an activity area for their group using four pylons to define the boundaries.
  • Participants select a ball that is appropriate for their group (e.g., volleyball, beach ball, balloon).

Activity Instructions

  • Each group stays within the activity area and plays a game of “keep it up” by hitting a ball into the air to pass it to each other.
  • Participants work together to prevent the ball from hitting the floor.
  • Participants count how many passes they can complete before the ball drops.
  • The group works together to try to better their previous score each round.
  • The leader asks open-ended questions to help students refine their movement strategies and tactical solutions during the activity. Examples include: How could you hit the ball so your group member has more of a chance to receive the pass successfully?


To maximize the challenge and the fun, participants could identify their own ways to increase or decrease the challenge.

To decrease the challenge, participants could:

  • Allow one bounce between each hit.
  • Catch and throw the ball.

To increase the challenge, participants could:

  • Increase the size of the activity area.
  • Increase the number of balls in the game.
  • Modify the hitting techniques (e.g., use two hands or use only the non-dominant hand).
  • Play sitting down.
  • Keep the ball up while moving from one end of the activity area to the other.

Pause for Learning

Throughout the activity, consider highlighting the following skills, concepts, and strategies to effectively keep the ball in the air. Note that this is not an exhaustive list, and further learning opportunities may arise during the task.

Movement Skills and Concepts

  • Manipulation skills and effort awareness: Applying a controlled force to send/receive a ball (e.g., placing the hands above the forehead, making a triangle shape with the thumbs and index fingers, and bending the arms with the elbows at a 45° angle and pointed out to the sides; maintaining eye contact with the ball; and then following through at the moment of impact to send the ball upward with the finger tips)

Movement Strategies

  • Understanding and developing tactics, such as working with group members to cover the space effectively and adjusting the force used to increase the height of the ball, which allows group members more time to get into position