Throwing, rolling and kicking balls strengthens big and small muscles and supports coordination. Whether you buy or make the balls, tamariki can practice turn-taking and learn about ‘rules’ as they cooperate with whānau.
Why do it?
Playing with balls is a good chance to:
- build on and strengthen skills that are used in many other activities, like eye-hand coordination
- practise taking turns
- cooperate and collaborate with others — both children and adults
- make use of low-cost or no-cost resources.
How to do it
- Try making and playing with balls of different sizes, shapes and textures.
- A simple and cheap ball can be made from scrunched up newspaper wrapped with a bit of sticky tape.
- Children between 3 and 5 years old will be mastering catching a ball. Start by standing close together and then move further apart as their skill and confidence grows.
- Before you start to play, agree on the rules. For example, certain balls might be for throwing and catching outside only.
- Include a variety of ball skills activities such as rolling, throwing, kicking and batting.
- Introduce a simple target such as a box to get the ball into or to knock over, or a chalk circle drawn on the path, an outside wall or a fence.
- Play newspaper ‘hockey’ with a newspaper ball and a hockey stick made of rolled up newspaper. This can be a vigorous indoor game for wet days if there’s a suitable space, such as a hallway.
- Use a newspaper ball and play a version of handball and volleyball over a string.
- Play family games of soccer and hockey.
- Plan a half-time snack with your tamaiti.
- Encourage tamariki to invent new ball games.