Tips & Toys | Ideas with a Ping-Pong ball











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Blow soccer:


Lie opposite your child on the floor approximately 50cm to 1m apart from each other (alternatively you can sit at opposite ends of the table). Each player receives half a straw. The aim of the game is to blow the ping pong ball past your opponent to score a goal. You are not allowed to touch the ball with your hand.

  1. Roll up newspapers to make two bats (or use two cardboard tubes) and use them to hit the ping pong ball into a cardboard box (goal).
  2. In the swimming pool: each player gets a ping pong ball. The aim is to blow the ping pong ball to the opposite end of the swimming pool (you are not allowed to touch the ball with your hands).


Scoop ball:


Use a pair of scissors to cut the bottom off a 2 litre plastic milk bottle (make one scoop for each player). Hold the scoops by the handles and use them to catch and throw the ping pong ball to each other.

  1. Grade the game by standing close to each other to start with, giving one step back each time you successfully catch the ball.
  2. Make this more difficult by standing on one leg or sitting on a ball while catching.


Target practice:


Place a bucket on the ground (at an angle), propped up by a brick, so the bucket is tipped towards your child. Let your child throw his/her ping pong balls in the bucket.

  1. Hang a hoola-hoop in a tree or on the clothes line. Let your child throw his/her ping pong balls through the hoola-hoop.
  2. Make this more difficult by placing the bucket behind the hoola-hoop. Your child now has to throw the ping pong ball through the hoola-hoop and into the bucket.
  3. Spin the hoola-hoop so that it is turning and let your child throw his/her ping pong balls through the hoola-hoop.
  4. Use a Stanley knife to cut different sized holes out of a cardboard box. Number each hole and let your child try to throw his/her ping pong ball through the holes, scoring the number of points allocated to that hole.
  5. To improve number concept you can number the holes 1-10 and ask your child to throw the ball through a specific number, e.g. your child has to throw the ball through number one before moving on to number two; or you can ask your child to throw the ball through the number between four and six etc.
  6. Arrange a throwing golf course around the backyard. Put out the containers and place a hoop/rope in front of each one so the players are all throwing from the same distance. Each player as a ping pong ball (have fun “decorating” your ball before the game to tell them apart) and tries to throw it in each hole in the least number of throws. Give each player a card so that they can keep their own score.


Boomerang:


Put three fingers (thumb, index and middle fingers) on the ping pong ball. Let your child pull his/her fingers away quickly and see how the ball spin and return to him/her.

  1. Let your child stand at least 1.5m from the staircase. Let him/her throw the ball at one of the stairs, trying to bounce it back so that s/he can catch it.
  2. Bounce the ping pong ball on a table tennis/plastic racket. See how many times you can hit the ping pong ball up into the air without the ball falling on the ground.
  3. Bounce with a partner: Sit/kneel approximately 50cm to 1m opposite your child. The idea is to throw and catch using the two balls at the same time.

- Bounce the ball to your partner and catch their ball with both hands.

- Bounce the ball to your partner and catch it in your right hand with the palm up.

- Bounce the ball to your partner and catch it in your left hand with the palm up.

- Bounce the ball to your partner and catch it in your right hand with the palm down.

- Bounce the ball to your partner and catch it in your left hand with the palm down.

- Bounce the ball to your partner and clap before you catch their ball.

- Discard one ball and practise bouncing the ball to your partner who bounces it back without catching it. See how many times you can do this without stopping.

  1. Let your child bounce his/her ping pong ball on the table, aiming to let it land in the hole of a muffin pan. The aim of the game is to get three balls in a row. Using different coloured balls you and your child can play a variation of “noughts and crosses” – the first player to get three balls in a row (horizontally, vertically or diagonally) wins.


Spoon race:


Each player gets a dessert spoon. Place the ping pong ball on the spoon. One hand must be held behind your back at all times. The aim of the game is to walk/run as quickly as possible to the finishing line while still holding the ball on the spoon. If a player drops his/her ball s/he must go back to the starting line.


Ping pong ball painting:


Lay a sheet of paper inside a baking dish and spoon a little bit of paint into small containers. Let your child put a ping pong ball into each paint container and use a spoon to cover the balls with paint. Lift out a couple of balls into the baking dish and tilt it from side to side so that the balls roll around, mixing the paints, making new colours and spreading them into interesting shapes and patterns. If you use primary colours this will help teach your child how new colours are made.