4th May, 2011 - Posted by - 9 Comments
Research shows that adding play props such a balls and hoops is a great way to get kids moving during play. They provide children ample opportunity to practice motor skills and increase moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), while keeping the focus on fun!
Here are six fun ideas that involve a beach ball:
1. Catch and Do! On each section of a beach ball (traditionally sectioned by color) write an action word such as jump, turn, shake, etc… Children can play catch with a partner or in a group. Roll or throw the ball to each other. When the child catches the ball, they should look to see where their hand is on the ball and do that action. Throw the ball to another child.
2. Musical Beach Ball: March around as the music plays. When the music stops have children sit on their beach ball. Once the music starts again call out a different locomotor skill such as walk, run, skip, gallop or slide, as children move to the music. Change tempo of music to travel to different speeds. When music stops, sit on top of ball until music starts again.
3. Traveling Beach Ball: Set up an obstacle course using cones, hula hoops, chairs or other objects to create movement pathways. Children use the beach ball as they go over and around the obstacle course. Create a variety of pathways, straight, curved or zigzag to give children an opportunity to practice moving their bodies in different directions. Carry the ball through the obstacle course. Now try to kick it.
4. Toss It In: Place laundry baskets around an open space. Toss beach balls into the laundry baskets or other large containers. To increase or decrease the challenge place some baskets closer to the children and others further away to vary the distance in which the ball is thrown. Run, walk, slide or skip to collect beach balls and do it again! Also, include a variety of other rubber or plastic balls to allow children to practice tossing.
5. Batter Up! Set the beach ball atop a cone. Children can hit the ball across an open outdoor space with a flat open hand or strike it with a thick wiffle bat. Once it lands on the ground, run after the ball and strike it again, and again!
6. Cooperation Carry: Pair two children to walk across a play area carrying the beach ball together. First they might use two hands, then one hand each. No hands?! What fun and silly ways will they think of to carry the ball?
Do you have any ideas for beach ball play? Share them in the comments section — we would love to hear how you get your play on!