6 active games kids can play with a pair of socks

Editor’s note: This article was updated on March 30, 2020.

COVID-19 has forced Canadian families into isolation at home, and it’s extremely important for everyone’s health that we do this.

However, it’s also important that we stay physically active during this stressful time. It’s essential for the physical, mental, and emotional health of parents and children alike.

Here are a few simple games with sock balls that kids can play indoors with limited space and “equipment”—including single-player games kids can enjoy even when a parent or sibling isn’t able to join them.

Start by raiding your sock drawer: each of the following games requires making one or more simple balls using two or three clean pairs of large socks rolled inside each other.

Games for one or more

1. Sock ball soccer

This game can be played one of two ways:

  1. One child alone can practice kicking the ball at a “goal” of their choice: living room sofa, door opening, or laundry hamper laid on its side.
  2. Two or more children (and parents) can play one-versus-one or two-versus-two in a small space.

Note: goals don’t need to be identical. One team can defend a sofa, the other team can defend a doorway, etc.


Related resource: More kicking activities


2. Sock ball basketball

Two ways to play:

  1. One child alone can practice throwing their ball into a laundry hamper, small cardboard box, or another household container from different distances and angles.
  2. Two or more children (and parents) can play one-versus-one or two-versus-two in a competitive shootout challenge. Take turns shooting from different distances and different heights and angles.

3. Bowling with sock balls

  • Make three sock balls.
  • Clear a floor space in your house (such as a hallway) approximately one metre wide by five to seven metres long. Be sure to remove breakable objects.
  • Set up six empty milk cartons or empty plastic bottles as bowling “pins” at one end of the space.
  • Roll the sock balls on the floor and try to knock over the pins!

One child can play alone after a parent shows how to set up the bowling pins. Two or more children (and parents) can play against each other in a competition. If you have big differences in age, let smaller children bowl closer to the pins.


Related resource: More throwing activities


Games for two or more

4. Sock ball dodgeball

  • Make two or three small sock balls per person using one pair of socks, rolled inside each other.
  • Choose a play space in your home that’s free of breakable objects, or remove the breakable objects before playing. Play space can be a bedroom, living room, or any room where you’re not likely to trip on obstacles and hurt yourself in the excitement.
  • Two children (or a child and parent) try to hit each other with their sock balls. If you have more players, you can play any combination you want, such as two-versus-two, or three-versus-two, or even three-versus-one where the kids play against the adult.
  • After each throw, opponents can pick up sock balls from the other players and throw back at them.
  • Opponents are only permitted to throw from their “home base.” Home base can be a sofa, a bed, or other designated space at one end of your playing area.
  • Play is continuous—there is no “elimination” after being hit—just keep throwing.

5. Sock ball batting

  • Make a sock ball using two or three pairs of large socks rolled inside each other.
  • Find a cardboard tube, roll a newspaper with tape, or find a plastic vacuum cleaner pipe to use as a baseball bat.
  • Choose a play space in your home that’s free of breakable objects, or remove the breakable objects before playing. Play space can be a bedroom, living room, or any room where there’s enough space for a batter to swing the bat and the pitcher to throw the ball to the batter.
  • Two children (or child and parent) can take turns pitching and batting the sock ball.
  • If you have more than two players, the extra players can take turns as “fielders” (behind the pitcher) and try to catch the ball after it has been hit.

6. Sock ball throw and catch

  • Make a sock ball using two or three pairs of large socks rolled inside each other.
  • Choose a play space in your home that’s free of breakable objects, or remove the breakable objects before playing. Play space can be a bedroom, living room, or any room where there’s enough space to throw a distance of three to five metres without obstructions.
  • Two children (or child and parent) stand three to five metres apart and throw to each other.
  • Start with gentle underhand throws for young children and any children who are unfamiliar with throwing and catching a ball.
  • As throwing and catching improves, throw faster, throw overhand, and even try trick throws (such as throwing from behind your back, under your legs, or from behind your head).

It’s not easy to be shuttered indoors, but these are some simple ways that kids can stay active and distracted. Along the way, they’ll also be developing fundamental movement skills and physical literacy while hopefully letting off some stress.

You can print a poster of these sock ball games for your refrigerator or family bulletin board at home.

For more simple activities you can do to develop physical literacy at home, visit activeforlife.com/activities.

7 responses to “6 active games kids can play with a pair of socks

  1. i would also like to know how you make a ball into a good sock. I can ball up my socks when i organize them, but not make them into a perfect sock.

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