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Friday, March 9, 2012

Tennis Balls & a ‘safe’ indoor game idea

tennis balls
What little child doesn’t love balls?!?  But in the winter, there are few opportunities to play with balls since we like to keep our pictures hung nicely on the walls. *wink*  So a game we came up with for indoor ball play is with tennis balls and a pop-up tube.  It’s wonderful way to burn off a little energy, build skills at hand-eye coordination, and keep the walls safe!

History ~~ About a year ago, my preschoolers we were bored playing indoors during the winter and I wanted some sort of game that got us up and moving.  We had recently purchased a bag of tennis balls and I thought my two boys would enjoy rolling them around our living room.  The younger of the two kids was only 1.5 years so it was very hard for him to keep the balls on the floor – he desperately wanted to throw them!  I tried to find a way to allow him to throw yet keep the balls contained and then thought about our nylon tube that goes to our pop-up tent…it was perfect!
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We pulled it out and I told the boys to throw or roll the balls inside the length of the tube.  Not realizing that both boys had very bad aim, we STILL had balls flying!  Haha!  That’s when I realized what a great tool this activity could become at building hand-eye-coordination as well as finger strength while also motivating them to get up and move.

Skip forward to this winter ~ Both boys have better throwing skills now but we’ve moved the game into the hallway because those balls sometimes jump out of their excited little hands. Having the bag of balls is very handy because it allows the ball-thrower multiple opportunities to practice and we're not having to throw-stop-pickup-then start again.

Sometimes we play with one kid on each end and see who can get all their balls to the other receipent (since some balls stop mid-way in the tube) or we have both on one end of the tube and see who’s faster at rolling.  And it usually ends with at least one person rolling around inside the tube along with lots of giggling!
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You can always modify the activity if you don’t have a pop-up tube like this and just use a closed-door hallway.  Plus, you can challenge the preschooler to knock over items at the end of the hall (empty soda bottles?) or put obstacles in the way of ball rolling or whatever else may fit your playtime.

Please share any thoughts on the activity and let us know how your little one(s) did with building their rolling/throwing skills!

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