Inuit Games

Inuit Games and Blanket Toss

Overall Goal
The Inuit live in one of the harshest environments on Earth. To survive in such a harsh environment is a challenge that requires strength of both mind and body. Students will understand more about the culture, values and the environment of the Inuit through engaging in some of the games that build group cohesion, strength, flexibility, reaction time and endurance all while having fun.

Grade 6 Curriculum Connections

Social Studies - Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada, Past and Present

  • assess contributions to Canadian identity made by various groups and by various features of Canadian communities and regions
  • use the social studies inquiry process to investigate different perspectives on the historical and/or contemporary experiences of two or more distinct communities in Canada
Physical and Health Education
  • participate actively and regularly in a wide variety of physical activities, and demonstrate an understanding of factors that encourage lifelong participation in physical activity
  • demonstrate an understanding of the importance of being physically active, and apply physical fitness concepts and practices that contribute to healthy, active living
  • demonstrate responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others as they participate in physical activities
  • perform movement skills, demonstrating an understanding of the basic requirements of the skills and applying movement concepts as appropriate, as they engage in a variety of physical activities
  • apply movement strategies appropriately, demonstrating an understanding of the components of a variety of physical activities, in order to enhance their ability to participate successfully in those activities

Program Description
Students learn about Inuit culture by playing a number of indoor and outdoor Inuit games. These games originated from the need to develop mind, body and spirit. Developing strength, fitness and agility were important to improve hunting and survivability in the north including maintaining mental discipline. Entertainment was also important especially during long periods of darkness to keep spirits up and get through difficult times.

Games are selected based on the group’s dynamics and abilities. Most of the games require few or no materials and involve competition between two people in an atmosphere of fun rivalry. Observers cheer for both competitors and their skill development rather than for a winner. Through play, the Inuit games teach of honour, the importance of strength, agility, balance, flexibility, inclusion and fun. Students learn about Inuit culture in the Arctic such as the climate, food, shelter, clothing, transportation and way life in the Arctic through play.

This program also includes a full group ’blanket toss' outside. Students stand around the blanket holding the handles and all pull at the same time to stretch the blanket taut. This causes the person in the middle of the blanket to be tossed in the air and then land again on the blanket. Staff give specific commands and students follow rules and commands. The blanket toss is the ultimate team building challenge and requires focus and students to work together. A safe and successful blanket toss depends on group dynamics so will take place at the discretion of our staff.

Success Criteria/Learning Goals

1. Explain why Inuit games were and continue to be so important to the Inuit culture, and what skills the Inuit people developed while participating in them
2. Identify four Inuit games and explain the rules for each game
3. Students demonstrate behaviours that maximize their safety and that of others throughout the games


Pre-Trip Activity

Through Mala's Eyes is a book written through the eyes of a 12 year old Inuit boy. It comes with many teaching resources and lesson plans. It is available through the link from the TDSB Aboriginal Education Centre.
Next Step Environmental Action
To continue learning more about the culture and games, you could check out inuit games lesson plan and have students teach the rest of the class another game. Students can compare and contrast to traditional games from other parts of the world and share what games teach us. Go deeper into understanding the Inuit games and their importance in the past and into the future through this 26 minute film, Games of the North.
A great podcast with an Inuit instructor demonstrating a variety of the games with a number of links included. For more resources please go to Learning Resources on our website and look under Aboriginal Education.


Inuit games are best planned during Fall, Winter and very early Spring.