A stack of flexi cones on grass

Cups & Cones

  • Great team game for all abilities and age groups
  • Works agility
  • Ideal for groups of 8-25 players
  • Works best on grass

Cups & Cones, also know as Domes & Dishes or Cups & Saucers, is a top workout or warm up activity suitable for all abilities and age groups. It's quick and easy to set up and the rules are simple. Fun is guaranteed.


A set of flexi-cones. It's best to have at least as many cones as the number of players.

Setting Up

Select an area appropriate to the group size. Divide the cones into two piles. One pile will serve as cones and the other half as cups (which are simply cones turned upside down). Distribute the two piles randomly around the activity area.

Participants are divided into two teams: "Team Cups" and "Team Cones". The cups belong to Team Cups and the cones belong to Team Cones.


When play starts the job of each player is to convert the opposing team's cups/cones into their own by turning them over.

Play continues for a pre-arranged time. A minute works quite well. Much longer can become demanding, especially for younger players and those new to exercise. A good approach can be to play two or three games with a short recovery between each while the cups and cones are redistributed.

The winning team is the one with the most cups or cones at the end of play.


  • No cone/cup hogging. Once a player has turned over a cone/cup, they must move on to another.
  • No cone/cup hoarding. Players are only allowed to turn over one cone/cup at a time. I.e. no collecting cups/cones before replacing them all at once.

Group Size

Ideally eight players as a minimum. With fewer than this the game is playable but loses some of its buzz. In terms of maximum size you're limited by the area and number of cones available but things tend to get congested with more than about 25 players.


Cups & Cones +

The game can be made more challenging by requiring each player to perform an exercise each time a cup or cone is turned over.


Players must hop from cone to cone instead of running.

Real World Example

There is a group of 17 athletes and the session is taking place at a park. All but a couple of the runners are new to running.

50 cones are laid out in random positions on an area of grass. Half of the cones are placed the right way up and serve as cones, the other half are placed upside down and serve as cups.

Nine of the athletes are given the cone designation and the other eight are given the cup designation.

Since there are more people on the cones team than the cups team, the cups team is given a five-second head start to make play fairer.

At the end of a minute's play everybody is told to stop and cones are counted up. There are 28 cones to 22 cups which means that cones win.

The cones and cups are left as is and the teams now swap sides. I.e. everybody that was previously on the cups team joins the cones team and everybody that was on the cones team now joins the cups team.

Play begins again, with the smaller team (which is now the cones team, since they have swapped) given a five-second head start. The new cones team also has the advantage that the game begins with more cones than cups, which is needed since they lost the previous game (when they were playing as cups).

When the minute's play is up the cones are counted and this time there are 26 cups to 24 cones. Cups are announced the winners by the narrowest of margins.


Spread cones over a wider area to make the game more challenging.


Players should be careful not to bump heads when reaching down to switch cups/cones. Place cones at reasonable distances apart to mitigate this.