I was reading one of my favorite MPMK posts the other day, How to Maintain Your Zen When the Kids Have Lost Their Ever-Loving Minds, and I was reminded of how much we used to play with beach balls in the house when the kids were younger.
It was such a simple way to keep the kids active and happy when we were stuck indoors – plus it was super inexpensive and easy to set up (two of my favorite qualities in a kids’ activity).
The idea is so great, I just had to re-visit it, so I sent out the call to our contributor Alli to help me freshen it up a bit and, as usual, she didn’t disappoint. And now me and my nearly 2-year-old are ready to go!
Here are Alli’s 10 fabulously fun ways to keep your littles active and happy with our friend the beach ball. Enjoy!
Will this Winter ever end? I am so ready for Spring I can taste it.
Here in Texas, we get a few warm days mixed in with the cold. So I can’t complain too much. But so many of you across the nation have been covered in snow for what seems like months.
Regardless of where you live, or what season it is, there are ALWAYS days that need to be spent inside. And those are the days that tend to drive us crazy as Moms. Am I right?
Enter the beach ball.
Such a simple toy. And the simplest toys are usually the best. Know why?
Because they’re unexpected fun. Beach balls are kind of a novelty when brought indoors so they seem to draw kids in.
They are also a great way to help those kids burn off some energy.
We’ve noticed, though, that after a while even the most enthusiastic kiddos can get bored (or it goes the other way, things get a little out of hand and a lamp or two is sacrificed in the process). But it doesn’t have to be that way – just by adding a little structure and creativity, a once simple toy becomes one big ball of fun.
If you’re stuck inside, grab a beach ball (or any large bouncy ball for that matter) and try any one of these games to not only pass the time, but challenge your kids to get up and get moving.
1. Letter/Color Smash: (Gross Motor Skills, Letter/Color Recognition)
Use colored construction paper to write letters and attach to any wall/door. The older your children are, the more complicated you can make it (using sight words, the answers to math equations, etc.).
My kiddos are 1 and 4, so I stuck with letters and kept them at an appropriate height.
Draw a line on the floor using masking tape, then have them aim the ball at the letters or colors as you call them out.
2. Blanket Toss: (Teamwork, Silly Fun)
Have each child hold the corners of a sheet or blanket.
Place the beach ball on top of the blanket and instruct them to bounce it as high as it will go, then catch it on the blanket.
See how many times they can catch it in a row before it hits the ground.
3. Animal Toss: (Teamwork, Gross Motor Skills, Hand-Eye Coordination, Silly Fun)
Have your children stand at a tossing distance, and toss the ball back and forth.
As each child catches the ball, they make an animal sound. The key is: no sounds can be repeated!
This game gets really silly, really fast (once they start to run out of noises).
4. Beach Basketball: (Gross Motor Skills, Hand-Eye Coordination)
Grab an empty laundry hamper and set it across the room.
Using your masking tape, draw a line on the floor at an appropriate distance per age.
Then set a timer and see how many baskets they can make in a minute. Hint: the timer really makes this game! Suddenly a simple game of basketball becomes a frenzied time challenge, which makes for loads of fun.
If you have older kids, you can also adapt this game with a pool noodle as a hoop.
5. Beach Ball Bowling: (Gross Motor Skills, Silly Fun)
Choose a hallway (the walls serve as natural bumpers) and set up your bowling pins. This is the part where you can get creative. The pins should be light, since the ball is light, but other than that…the world is your oyster.
We used some empty cereal boxes that I’d been saving but water bottles would also work really well. Then just try to get that strike!
6. Catch and Do: (Teamwork, Gross Motor Skills, Hand-Eye Coordination, Silly Fun)
Write silly instructions with a marker on each color of the beach ball. Then have the children start to play toss.
As they catch the ball, they check what color their hand lands on, and do that action. The funny part: They have to keep doing that action until they catch the ball again.
You can be as simple (or as SILLY) as you want with what you write.
Here are some ideas:
- Do a silly dance
- Tell a joke
- Bark like a dog
- Jump up and down
- Hop on one foot
- Spin around in a circle
Tip: You can use a washable marker. It’ll wipe right off with a wet paper towel, so you can change up your phrases the next time you play.
7. Beach Ball Volleyball: (Teamwork, Gross Motor Skills, Physical Activity)
Set up a “net” using a long piece of string (I used twine).
Divide your children (or you and your child) on opposite sides of the string.
Begin to bounce the ball back and forth, keeping it above the string and off the ground. See how long you can keep it going.
8. Paper Towel Roll Baseball: (Team Work, Gross Motor Skills, Hand-Eye Coordination)
You can also use a pool noodle, but I have rambunctious boys, so we decided to dial it down a notch since we were indoors.
Draw bases on your floor with masking tape.
Then play your own mini-baseball game right in your own living room.
Tip: Let your little ones tape the bases by themselves. The little things can be the most fun!
9. Beach Ball Obstacle Course: (Gross Motor Skills, Hand-Eye Coordination, Silly Fun)
Using objects from around the house, set up your very own obstacle course.
Then have siblings time their sisters/brothers as they make their way through the course.
10. “Foot” Ball: (Gross Motor Skills, Physical Activity)
Have your child take off his/her shoes, and lay on the floor with their feet in the air.
Place the ball on/between their feet, and see how long they can hold it there. It’s not as easy as it seems! In fact, it was pretty much impossible for us to catch a picture of him balancing it.
We hope these games will keep you entertained the next time you’re trapped inside.
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