Not all of us are crafty, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like to be creative with our kids. The beauty of this project is that you don’t have to have any special design skills to make it, it only requires a couple of supplies, and in the end you have a squishy ball that can be used in a variety of active games for playtime. It’s a quick and simple way to encourage your kids to move and play, while also getting creative together.
This YouTube video shows you how to make colourful soft squishy balls that your children can use for all kinds of fun:
And here are a few ideas on how to play with them:
Start simple. Have your child throw the squishy ball from one hand to the other, building the height of the toss as they get the hang of it. When they’re ready, try tossing two balls. Toss one ball (ball A), and when it reaches the air, toss ball B. Catch ball A with the opposite hand (the hand that threw ball B) and vice versa. Practice until this becomes comfortable.
2. Make it balance
Place the ball on any body part like the top of your foot and balance it there for a set amount of time (try five seconds to start!). For an extra challenge: try walking around while still balancing it.
3. Simple throw and catch
Ask your child to stand some distance away from you and gently toss the squishy ball to them using an underhand motion. The objective is for your child to catch the ball using their hands. Have your child throw it back to you (underhand or overhand).
4. Dodge (squishy) ball
Using the same distance set for throwing and catching, have your child to intentionally dodge the squishy ball as you toss (or a friend tosses) it gently in their direction. Remember to vary the placement of your toss, and don’t throw too hard (you want to keep the squishy balls intact!). The ability to dodge in a controlled manner, without falling or stumbling, is an important skill for sports.
5. Hop over it
Place the squishy ball on the ground and hop over it with one leg. They can hop front-to-back, side-to-side and in any pattern they choose. Don’t forget to practice with each leg!
6. Now jump and leap
This activity is similar to hopping but now you should ask your child to jump and land using both legs. When they get comfortable jumping in all directions, use the hacky sack as a marker to jump towards. For an added progression: try leaping, jumping with one leg and landing with the other.
7. Basket toss
Place a basket, bowl, or garbage bin some distance away and throw the squishy ball into the target. Remember to practice both underhand and overhand throwing, and to increase the distance as their accuracy improves.
8. Keep it up
This game never gets old. You can play with two of you, but the more, the merrier! Stand apart or in a circle if there’s more of you and toss the squishy ball into the air. As it comes to each person, have them gently bump it with their hands back up into the air and towards another player. Remember to ensure a safe environment for everyone to play in.
9. Spin it like a top
This activity requires your child to balance the squishy ball on their head and spin around in one place. Spinning is the ability to rotate the body around a centred point while holding one or more body positions simultaneously. For an extra challenge: balance the ball on an outstretched arm.
All of these activities can be done indoors or outdoors. Try them out with your kids and let us know what you think in the comment section below!