Mother Earth Defenders

Activity Overview

Participants learn about and practise applying offensive and defensive skills in a territory game. This activity reinforces the role of Protector traditionally found in First Nation, Métis, and Inuit cultures.

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


  • Gymnasium
  • Outdoors

Materials and Equipment

  • 1 hula hoop per group
  • 1 object (e.g., rubber chicken, bean bag, ball) 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. Clearly define areas of the body that can be tagged (e.g., arms, legs, back). Inform students that a tag is a touch; not a push, grab, or punch.

Activity Information

Activity Set-up

  • Divide participants into small groups (e.g., four to six).
  • One group member is designated as “the Protector.”
  • Ask each group to think of something that must be protected (water sources, culture, language, animals, children, territory, etc.).
  • Put an object in the hoop to represent what will be protected.

Activity Instructions

  • Group members try to touch the protected object while the Protector tries to tag the group members who are attempting to touch the object.
  • The Protector stays outside of the hoop and may not go through the hoop or touch the object being protected.
  • If a participant touches the object, he or she moves to another group and tries to touch that group's object. If a participant is tagged by a Protector, he or she moves to another group to try and touch their object.
  • Change roles frequently so all participants have the opportunity to be the Protector.
  • The leader asks open-ended questions to help participants refine their movement strategies and tactical solutions during the activity. Examples include: What strategies can you apply if you are attempting to touch the object? Describe how you move to avoid getting tagged by the Protector. If you are a Protector, what is a successful way to position yourself so that you are guarding your object?
Mother Earth Defenders


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:

  • Have a safe space where participants cannot be tagged.
  • Use a larger object (e.g., pylon, baseball base) in the centre of the hoop.
  • Use ropes or floor markers to hold the object rather than a hoop.
  • Use an implement (e.g., pool noodle) to tag other participants when acting as the Protector.

To increase the challenge, participants could:

  • Have two or more Protectors at each hoop.
  • Use a smaller hoop.
  • Have multiple objects in the hoop and challenge participants to remove the object instead of just touching it.

Pause for Learning

Throughout the activity, consider highlighting the following skills, concepts, and strategies for effectively applying offensive and defensive skills. Note that this list is not exhaustive; further learning opportunities may arise during the task.

Movement Skills and Concepts

  • Locomotion and relationship: travelling safely within the activity area, while trying to avoid getting tagged by the Protector
  • Spatial awareness: knowing where and how to move in a territory game while attempting to touch the object and avoid getting tagged by the Protector; as the Protector, knowing where to position yourself so that you are in an optimal location to tag participants.

Movement Strategies

  • Decision-making: learning how to make decisions about what to do (e.g., deciding to try and touch the object when the Protector is focused on another participant)

First Nations, Métis and Inuit Inspiration

This activity reinforces the role of Protector traditionally found in First Nation, Métis, and Inuit cultures. In Anishinaabek (Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi nations) and Métis cultures found in Ontario, men are considered the keepers of the fire while women are considered protectors of water. Each element (i.e, fire, water, rock, and wind) is considered an essential force of life on Mother Earth.