What is it about a beach ball that just makes an ordinary day seem more fun? We don’t know the answer to that, but if you try these beach ball games and activities in your classroom, you might just find out.
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1. Get to know your students with a beach ball icebreaker.
This beach ball game works for any age group. Write a variety of get-to-know-you questions on the ball. Toss it to someone; the catcher has to answer whichever question their right thumb is touching (or nearest to).
Learn more: Joy in the Journey
2. Throw out some sight words.
Cover a beach ball with sight words and lob it around the room. The catcher reads the sight words that their fingers are touching. Mix it up by asking them to use the words in a sentence or close their eyes and spell the word too. (Get dozens more sight word activities here.)
Learn more: The Happy Teacher
3. Play beach ball games to strengthen gross motor skills.
Create a game board with a variety of actions kids can do with a beach ball—throw, bounce, balance on head, etc. Use a paper clip–and-pencil spinner or toss a marker onto the board to see which action each student will perform.
Learn more: Pre-K Pages
4. Bounce the ball off the wall.
Use sticky notes to put letters, numbers, or anything else you like on the wall. Practice letter or number recognition by calling one out and having a student throw the ball to hit the correct answer. Up the difficulty with math equations or use this for spelling practice.
Learn more: Modern Parents Messy Kids
5. Lanzar la bola, por favor.
Foreign language classes can play beach ball games too! Write a series of questions in the language students are learning, then pass the ball in the circle while you play music. When the music stops, the student holding the ball reads the question aloud and answers it. ¡Que te diviertas!
Learn more: Fun for Spanish Teachers/Instagram
6. Bowl them over with math skills practice.
Make a set of bowling pins from empty plastic bottles and number them one to 10. Set them up and let kids knock them down, using a beach ball as a bowling ball. Then, depending on their ages, have students call out the numbers, count how many bottles are left standing, or even add up the numbers of the pins they knocked down.
Learn more: Learn With Play at Home
7. Have a ball with rhyme time.
Write a simple word on each beach ball stripe, then toss or roll it to a student. They read the word facing up and say a word that rhymes with it (e.g., bee—tree).
Learn more: PreK, My Style
8. Build a paper tower to support the ball.
Here’s a fun STEM challenge: Given only simple supplies, like paper and masking tape, can your students build a tower at least one foot high that supports their beach ball? They’ll sure have fun trying!
Learn more: Completely Kindergarten
9. Learn music terms with beach ball games.
Use a beach ball toss game to give kids practice identifying music symbols or notes, instrument groups, solfege … anything and everything musical! Get more ideas at the link below.
Learn more: The Modern Teacher
10. Make a DIY FitBall.
Physical activity can provide a brain break that actually helps kids re-focus on the learning at hand. Toss a DIY FitBall filled with physical exercises or yoga poses around the room. A student catches it and announces the activity closest to their right thumb. Then the whole class performs the exercise together.
Learn more: Making Healthier Decisions
11. Gauge their reading comprehension.
These cool balls come in a set of two, one for pre-reading and one for post-reading. You can make your own or buy the set at Amazon.
12. Use beach ball games to review for tests.
Line students up and give each a shot to throw the beach ball into the bucket. If they get it in, give them a chance to answer a review question to earn two points. If they miss, they can answer the question for one point. Play individually or in teams.
Learn more: Teaching With Jennifer Findlay
13. Paint a masterpiece using beach balls.
This one’s a little messy, so be sure to use washable paint. Kids dip the beach ball into different colors and use it however they like to create process art. Tip: Beach balls are easier to hold with one hand if you slightly under-inflate them.
Learn more: What Can We Do With Paper and Glue?
14. Seek out the elements of art around you.
Use a beach ball to go on a scavenger hunt for elements of art and principles of design in the world around you. Learn more at the link.
Learn more: Teach Kids Art
15. Practice basic math facts …
This is more fun than flash cards! Write a different equation on each dot, and have kids solve the one their thumb is touching. (If you can’t find these polka-dot balls at your local store, get two big ones or a pack of 12 smaller ones on Amazon instead.)
Learn more: The Kindergarten Smorgasboard
16. …or up the math difficulty for older students.
Older kids can get in on the fun too. Because these equations likely take a little more work to solve, have the student use a small whiteboard or go up to the big one to show their work.
Learn more: Little Room Under the Stairs
17. Get ready to do the beach ball boogie.
Here’s another beach ball STEM challenge. Using basic materials, kids design a device to carry a beach ball in a relay race. Get the details at the link below.
Learn more: Feel-Good Teaching
18. Send home memories with an autograph beach ball.
This adorable and easy craft is a fun way to remember the school year and your classmates. Simply have each student sign their name on every ball with a permanent marker. Done! (See more end-of-year activities for every grade here.)
Learn more: Simply Kinder
19. Look back on the great year you’ve had.
Try this beach ball game to go along with your autograph balls. Toss the ball and have each student follow the directions to share a memory about the school year.
Learn more: Staffroom Education/Twitter
20. Work on prefixes and suffixes.
Prefixes and suffixes can be tricky for little ones. Try beach ball games to help them review what they mean and how they’re used. Learn more at the link below.
Learn more: Teaching With Simplicity
21. Brush up on conjunctions.
Roll or toss a beach ball to get practice using conjunctions in sentences. You can do this verbally or have kids write it out.
Learn more: The Dabbling Speechie
22. Talk about feelings and emotions.
Help kids learn to recognize and acknowledge emotions in themselves and others, a difficult skill for some. Have the student identify the emotion under their right hand, and give an example of a time they felt that way.
Learn more: Hope 4 Hurting Kids
23. Build your teamwork skills with beach ball games.
Challenge two students to carry a beach ball back to back down a course and drop it in a bucket. Hilarity will ensue!
Learn more: Kids R Us Out of School Clubs
Looking for more inexpensive teacher hacks? Hit the dollar store with these 100+ clever ideas!