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.

Other ideas

  • 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.