Need some ideas for ball activities for preschoolers? Here are a few to try at home or at school.
Balls are great tools for gross motor activities for toddlers and preschoolers, and they can be used in so many simple ways to get kids learning through play.
Here are just a few of the benefits of playing with balls in preschool:
- Improves eye-foot and eye-hand coordination
- Develops balance
- Increases reflexes and focus
- Builds fine motor skills
- Helps children become skilful at ball sports
A few ideas for what we can do with balls include:
- Playing throwing and catching games
- Bouncing them
- Dribbling them
- Rolling them
- Sorting them
- Kicking them
- Balancing them
- Batting and hitting them
Teaching young children ball skills is important for their overall physical development.
All kids need is regular exposure and opportunities for ball games from a young age and they will build these skills over time.
Here are a few simple balls skills activities for preschoolers
1. Dribble the Ball
Place cones a metre or two apart in a row. If you don’t have any, use plastic bottles and fill them with water or sand to keep them standing upright.
Dribble the ball in between the cones with your feet. Place the cones closer together to make it more challenging.
2. Kick the Ball
Learning to kick a ball is an important skill and good for building foot-eye coordination.
Kick the ball back and forth or play a mini-game of soccer with older children.
For toddlers, use a larger ball. For older preschoolers, challenge them to kick a tennis ball to each other.
Create a makeshift goal with a laundry basket on its side, or something similar. Kicking a ball into a target requires a lot more focus and aim.
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Play a game of bowls by placing skittles in a row and rolling a ball to knock them over.
Let younger children roll larger balls like beach balls and use plastic bottles if you don’t have a good set of skittles (like this one).
4. Mini Cricket
Teach young kids to bat balls and improve their eye-hand coordination by hitting balls into a basket or target on the ground.
Use any kinds of bats you have – cricket bats, baseball bats, tennis racquets, etc. Use rolled-up newspaper to make one.
5. Knee Soccer
Kneel down on the carpet or grass with your kids. Play soccer with your knees and hands.
Kick the ball to each other using your knees and stop the ball with knees or hands only. If you kick it past the other person, you score a goal.
This game is challenging and will require lots of practice. Start closer together at first. It will build your children’s balance and coordination.
Sit the children down in a circle. Younger children should sit closer together and older children should make a wider circle.
To play the game, choose a basic category to start, such as animals. Name any animal then roll the ball to someone on the other side of the circle, who must then add another animal to the list.
Continue and see how long you can keep the chain going without repeating words. Then, pick a new category and start another round.
If you are playing with your child, roll the ball back and forth to each other.
This is a good game for developing listening skills.
7. Clap and Catch
This throwing and catching game for preschoolers involves concentrating on several actions at once and will improve focus.
Throw a ball against a wall and then clap your hands twice before catching it. Repeat as many times as you can, without dropping the ball.
Older preschoolers can try to include some number skills by increasing the number of claps each time and seeing what’s the maximum number of times they can clap before dropping the ball.
8. Smallest to Biggest
For this seriation activity, gather as many balls as you can find. Get your kids to order them from smallest to biggest, in a line.
Then, use the balls for a sorting activity. Children must group them by common traits, such as colour, texture or material.
9. Follow the Instructions
This ball game teaches preschoolers to listen to directions and follow them in sequence.
Give children instructions such as:
- Roll the ball and catch it before it reaches the wall.
- Put the ball on the floor, jump over it and throw it in the air.
- Throw the ball to me, then clap 3 times.
Start with 2-step directions, then gradually increase the number of directions for older children.
10. Hula Hoop Throw
Hold a hula hoop in the air, or suspend one between two chairs and get your kids to aim and throw the balls through the hoop.
Move the target further away and higher to make it more challenging.
Here are more hula hoop games young kids will love.
11. Left-Hand Throw
Play a game of throw and catch where you can only throw the ball with your non-dominant hand, then catch it with your dominant hand.
Some children may find it easier to catch with their left hand, so they can try this game by throwing with their right hand.
It takes some concentration as they have to remember to swap hands and throw with the other hand.
To make it more challenging, try to throw and catch with the non-dominant hand, holding the other hand behind your back.
12. Ball Bounce
Challenge your kids to bounce a ball on the floor for as long as possible. Count the bounces as you go to develop one-to-one correspondence at the same time.
Older children can try bouncing a tennis ball with a racquet.
13. Dodge Ball
This game is fun but best played with older children or with an adult (if you’re playing with a toddler).
In a group, make a circle and take turns throwing the ball at the person standing in the middle. The person must jump out of the way, dodging the ball. If they get hit, they swap out with someone else.
If playing with your younger child, simply aim and throw the balls at each other. Teach your child to avoid getting hit.
I hope you got some fun new ideas for activities with balls. If you’d like to try some art with balls, try these ball painting activities.
Here are some more fun games to play with kids.
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