A fun, low-cost activity that you can easily do together almost anywhere.
Why do it?
- Balls are a readily available activity, enjoyable both outdoors and indoors.
- Repetition builds strong pathways in the brain.
- Ball play can involve both fine (small muscle) and gross (large muscle) motor skills.
- Playing with balls is also good chance to:
- build on and strengthen skills that are used in many other activities, like hand–eye co-ordination
- practise taking turns
- co-operate and collaborate with others — both children and adults
- make use of low-cost or no-cost resources.
How to do it
You'll need: a ball of some kind
- Gather some balls in a range of sizes, shapes and textures.
- A simple and cheap ball can be made from scrunched up newspaper wrapped with a bit of sticky tape or from a sock stuffeed with tissues.
- Beach balls can be safe for indoor ball play they can’t do too much damage.
- Before you start any ball game, agree on the rules. For example, certain balls might be for throwing and catching outside only.
Playing ball games with toddlers:
- Make sure the ball is small enough for a toddler’s hand, but too big for their mouth.
- If your toddler is not yet walking, sit facing them with your legs apart and roll a ball back and forth between you. Your legs will guide the ball if it’s headed ‘out-of-bounds’.
- Show a toddler how to throw the ball and chase after it. Give it to them to throw and ‘race’ each other to it when it lands.
- Lightweight inflated balls work well with toddlers but need to be firm enough to prevent toddlers from biting them.
- A simple sock ball game is aiming them at the washing basket, empty toy box or a container. Move it further away to make it more challenging.
Playing ball games with 3-5 year olds
- 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.
- Try out 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.
- If you've got a group of tamariki to entertain, get them to form a circle. Pick a category such as 'colours' or 'animals' and get each child to shout out an answer e.g. 'Blue' or 'Cow' before they throw the ball to someone else in the circle.
- 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 volleyball over a string.
- Play family games of soccer and hockey outside
- Plan a half-time snack with your tamaiti.
- Encourage tamariki to invent their own new ball games
Using more te reo Māori
|Te reo Māori||English|
|Paoro paoro Ball Maori | Noun||Ball|
|Paoro iti||Little ball|
|Paoro nui||Big ball|
|Tikina tō pōro||Bring your ball|
|Homai te pōro e te tau||Give me the ball my darling|
|Takahuri te pōro||Roll the ball|
|Anō anō Again, more, same Maori | Particle||Do it again|
|Nōku te wā||My turn|
|Nōu te wā||Your turn|
|Kei hea te pōro?||Where is the ball?|
|Kei raro i te tepu||Under the table|
|Kei muri i te tūru||Behind the chair|
|Whiua te pōro ki a Pāpā||Throw the ball to Dad|
|Kino kē koe e te tau!||You're awesome my darling!|