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A youthgroupresources.com original game

Guard. Every. Angle. That’s the goal of the fast-paced and exciting fun of Defenders Of The Cones! This game pits a handful of players trying to prevent an eager and hungry circle of players from knocking over their cones with dodgeball and claiming the spot for their own. This game combines some of the physicality and excitement of dodgeball without the ruthlessness. Well, at least without MOST of the ruthlessness, because your youth are definitely going to be aiming to claim victory for themselves. 

There are two main ways this game can end, and instructions for both modifications are included below!

Number of Players – 10 Minimum – No Maximum

Equipment Needed – Dodgeballs, lightweight plastic traffic cones (not heavy duty real ones!), timer (such as on your smartphone). Optional: hula hoops

Playing Area Set Up

This game can be played indoors or outdoors. You’ll need an area where you can create a circle of players at least arms length distance from one another. The players in the circle do not need to be close together, but they do need to form a ring around the playing area in order to catch and throw balls. Additionally the edge of the circle will need to be at least 10 feet away from the closest cone. 

The number of players you have will determine how many cones, hula hoops and balls you have in play. A good rule of thumb is one cone, hoop, and ball for every 5 or 6 players. 

For example, if you have 10 players, you should have two cones and hula hoops. Then two players will defend cones while 8 form a circle around them. 

Note: If you have a smaller number of players, it may be best to play indoors or in a space where the balls will not escape too easily.

To set up the game, place your hula hoops and cones in the center of the circle area, with at least 6 feet between the edges of each cone (and more space if you have the room). You can place the hula hoops and cones in a square pattern, with a circle forming around it when the players arrive.

Group Instructions (Read Aloud) – Note: there are two main modification to how this game ends 

We’re going to play a game called Defenders Of The Cones! In this game, players will guard their traffic cone from the relentless attacks of an outside circle of players. First, form a circle all around the cones, with about ten feet between the edge of the hula hoops. To start the game, I’m going to toss all of the balls into the circle randomly. The players who grab the ball will become the first Defenders of the Cones and select a cone to defend. Those players then pick a cone and then throw the ball back to other players they choose in the circle. 

The defender must never step inside the hula hoop or touch their cone. They can however jump over portions of the hula hoop or reach inside, as long as they don’t touch their cone.

The game begins with the players in the circle having all the balls. Those players then take aim and try to knock over the cone with the ball. The defender can use any part of their body to try to defend the cone. Defenders can catch the ball, but they must immediately return it to someone in the circle and cannot hold the ball for more than a second or two. 

Players should NEVER try aiming for the Defender, especially their head. The target should always be the cones.

If a player in the circle knocks over a cone, the player defending the cone switches places with that player, the cone is reset. Game play does not need to stop because a cone is knocked over, both sides should just quickly switch and the game continues.

If a defender accidentally knocks over a cone while defending it, then the player who threw the ball last will be credited with knocking over the cone and trade places with the defender.

If a ball hits a hula hoop and knocks it out of alignment, the defender should quickly fix the hula hoop and is SAFE while straightening the hula hoop.

Any attempts to knock over a cone while a defender and player from the circle are switching places does not count. The new Defender must be in place and ready to play before attacks on their cone counts.

Game Ending #1 

We will play this game for 5 minutes (or however long you decide) and the players who are defending the cones at the end of the game are the winners.

Game Ending #2 (Best for a larger group with 3 or more cones)

The first round of this game will last 5 minutes (or however long you decide rounds to be). When the timer goes off (use your phone’s timer), the next defender who has their cone knocked over will leave their cone knocked over and exit to the circle and no one will take their place, removing a cone from the game. The number of balls in play remains the same. Then, the next round will last the same amount of time, and when the time goes off, another cone is removed. This will continue until there is only one cone left, the final round. When the timer goes off at the end of the final round, the remaining defender is the winner of the game.

Detailed Instructions

  1. Place an equal number of hula hoops and cones in the playing area.
  2. Hold onto the dodgeballs yourself, which should equal the number of cones.
  3. Ask everyone to form a circle around the cones and hula hoops.
  4. Toss the balls into the air randomly.
  5. The players who get the balls are the first Defenders of the Cones
  6. The Defenders take their place at a cone to guard.
  7. The group is instructed that Defenders cannot step inside the hula hoop or touch the cone.
  8. Defenders may jump over the hula hoop or reach across it, as long as they do not touch a cone.
  9. Defenders may catch balls thrown at them, but they must immediately return them to the players on the circle.
  10. Players must never aim at the Defender alone, especially their head. The target is the cones alone.
  11. If a player in the circle knocks over a cone, they trade places with the Defender. 
  12. If the Defender knocks over the cone accidentally while defending it, the player who last threw a ball at them trades places with the Defender.
  13. There are two possible ways to end the game – listed below.
  14. Game Ending #1 – The game continues for the amount of time you have to play and the remaining defenders at the end of the game are the winners.
  15. Game Ending #2 – Using a timer (such as on your phone), the game is played in rounds, such as 5 minutes in length. At the end of each timed round, a cone is “removed” from the game. When the timer sounds, the next player who has a cone knocked over returns to the circle and their cone is left knocked over. No other players will return to that cone the rest of the game. The same number of balls stays in the game, however. This begins the 2nd round, which continues the same until the timer rings and the next player afterward is out and abandons their cone. When there is only one cone left, the final round begins. The Defender who is at the cone as the final timer sounds is the winner of the game. 


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Defenders Of The Cones Youth Group Game | Youth Group Games | Games For Youth | No Prep Games