Keep It Up

Primary, Junior

TGfU Category: Net/Wall Games

Locations: gymnasium, outdoor space (e.g., field, tarmac)

Game/Sport Connections

Net/Wall games are activities in which players send an object toward a court or target area that an opponent is defending. The aim is to cause the object to land in the target area while making it difficult for the opponent to return the object. By playing these games, participants develop skills and tactics to play other net/wall games or games that require the application of similar skills, concepts, and strategies (e.g., sitting volleyball, tennis, badminton, squash, racquet ball, volleyball, Sepak Takraw, wheelchair tennis).

Activity Overview

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

Key Movement Skills, Concepts, and Strategies

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 while maintaining eye contact with the ball, and then following through at the moment of impact to send the ball upward with the fingertips).

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.


  • Incorporate some or all the variations listed in the “Variations” section while planning the activity. This will help to best meet the diverse backgrounds, identities, needs, and interests of participants and maximize the fun, inclusion, participation, and success of everyone.
  • To elevate participant voice and choice, periodically pause the activity and share the variations with participants. Ask them to determine how they would like to change the activity to maximize the fun, inclusion, meaningful participation, and success for everyone. Encourage participants to add any variations of their own.


  • 1 ball per group (e.g., volleyball, beach ball, balloon, foam ball, elephant skin ball)
  • 4 cones or pylons per group to mark the playing area


  • Inspect the equipment and activity area to identify and remove hazards. Check that the activity surface provides sufficient traction.
  • Establish the boundaries for the designated playing area at a safe distance from walls and obstacles. Share the boundaries with participants.
  • Review the safety rules and activity instructions with participants prior to the activity.
  • Instruct participants to be aware of their surroundings, including the locations of other participants during play.

How to Play

  • Divide participants into pairs or small groups (e.g., 4 – 6). Groups create their playing area using 4 cones or pylons to define the boundaries. Groups may increase or decrease the size of the playing area at any point during the activity.
  • Groups select a ball they would like to use (e.g., volleyball, beach ball, balloon, foam ball, elephant skin ball).
  • Each group plays a game of “keep it up” by hitting or tossing the ball into the air to pass it to each other while staying within their designated playing area.
  • Participants work together to prevent the ball from hitting the ground. Participants decide as a group whether a participant may touch the ball more than once before sending it to another participant, catch the ball to prevent it from hitting the ground, or allow it to bounce once to save the rally.
  • Participants count how many passes they complete before the ball hits the ground.
  • The group works together to try to better their previous score each round.
  • Participants may choose to add more balls to their game.
  • If playing in pairs, pairs may choose to join another pair at any point in time during play.
  • After a period of play, provide participants with some or all of the variations. Ask them to decide how they might change the game to enhance their fun, challenge, and success. Encourage participants to add any variations of their own.
  • Consider having groups share their variations and select another variation to try with their group.

Video: Visual Depiction of the Activity Instructions

Video link

Pause for Learning

Throughout the activity, ask open-ended questions to help participants refine their movement skills, strategies, and tactical solutions. Examples include:

  • How do you hit or send the ball so your group has more of a chance to receive the pass successfully?
  • How do you move to be more successful at contacting the ball when it is sent by your group?
  • How do you and/or your group decide which type of ball to use to play the game?
  • How do you adjust the force you apply to the ball to successfully send it?
  • Which games or sports have you played or know about that use similar rules and strategies to the ones used in this game?


  • Participants work individually to keep a ball in the air then pair up to keep a rally going. Pairs may then choose to join with another pair or pairs to create a group of 4 – 6.
  • Catch and throw the ball.
  • Keep the ball up while moving from one end of the activity area to the other.
  • Modify the sending techniques (e.g., use 2 hands or use only the non-dominant hand).
  • Play seated.
  • Play using a lollipop foam paddle and a balloon/light ball/shuttlecock.
  • Play against a wall with a ball with their partner/group. Try to keep it up with alternate touches, allowing the ball to bounce between turns.
  • Suspend a beach ball or balloon from a basketball rim with string and have participants strike and track the moving object to practise their skills.