With just a few balls, you can create multiple learning activities that help children develop skills across the curriculum!
In my 12 years of being a teacher of kids aged 3-6, I’ve tried so many ball games it’s untrue! In this post, I’ll describe my absolute favorites!
The best 21 ball games for kindergarten are:
- Cooperation Roll
- Popcorn Chase
- Roll A Ball Off The Other Side
- Number Roll
- Thank You Game
- Pass The Ball Around The Circle
- Pass The Ball With Your Feet
- Time Challenge
- Pass The Number Balls Around The Circle
- Thief In The Night
- Bridge Ball
- Relay Races With Balls
- Throw The Balls In The Bucket
- Ten Throw Sit
- Tidy Up
These games are brilliant for teaching:
- Hand-eye coordination
- Physical development
- And so much more!
Let’s dive into the games:
Parachute Ball Games For Kindergarten
This is a great team-building game.
All the kids hold the parachute at about waist height. You will need one ball that you put on the chute.
Set up a ‘target’ somewhere else in the space, quite near to the parachute. It could be a square of cones, for example. Or a big circle chalked on the floor.
The kids are going to try to propel the ball out of the parachute and land it in the target area! This requires lots of teamwork and communication to work out how to do it, and how to coordinate their movements.
2. Cooperation Roll
This is a very simple team-building game.
All the kids hold the parachute at waist height. Have one ball that you put onto the chute.
The idea is that you all try to roll the ball around the edge of the parachute without it falling off. Do a few revolutions of the chute, with everyone helping each other to get it round.
This is a really well-known game – possibly the best-known parachute game for young kids.
Get lots of small sponge balls (the small ones are better so there are no injuries).
The idea is everyone helps to bounce them all off the parachute by shaking and bouncing them into the air. Simple!
4. Popcorn Chase
Two teams are required for this one!
One team is holding the parachute with loads of small sponge balls sitting on it.
The other team is spread out around the space.
The parachute team starts bouncing the balls off the chute. The other team chases them, and puts them all back on!
Keep going either for an agreed time period or until all the balls are off the chute!
5. Roll A Ball Off The Other Side
This is a good game for competitive children.
The kids stand and hold the parachute at waist height again. Split them into two teams, so those on the right of the parachute are one team, and those on the left are another.
Make it clear where one team starts and the other ends.
Have one large sponge or rubber ball for this game.
The idea is that both teams are going to try to roll or bounce the ball off the parachute on the other side of the chute to their team.
So the team on the left is trying to bounce it off on the right, and vice versa.
Every time you bounce it off you get one point. I normally do the first to five is the winner.
6. Number Roll
This is a simple early math game. It is good for teaching number recognition.
Have some number cards (or similar things like rubber spots with numbers on them). Place these randomly on top of the parachute.
Have one ball.
The adult shouts out one of the numbers that are showing, and the children cooperate to roll the ball onto that number.
Then call out another number, and repeat the process.
If you want to make it trickier you can:
- Roll the ball onto one more or one less of the number
- Have addition or subtraction problems (e.g. what’s 2 add 3? Roll it onto 5)
- Roll on the numbers in order
This is a very simple and funny team-builder!
Have lots of small sponge balls on the parachute. The kids bounce these up into the air as high as possible! Enjoy the sensation of the balls coming down all over them and the floor like ‘rain’.
This is another game that acts brilliantly as a team-builder.
All the kids go underneath the parachute for this one. They are going to be in a crawling position, with the parachute completely covering them.
The kids are the turtle, and the parachute is the turtle’s ‘shell’.
Have one ball that you place in the space away from the ‘turtle’. The adult is going to try to direct the ‘turtle’ to find this ball.
Give them whatever directions they need – ‘Go left. Keep going forward etc’.
The turtle tries to reach the ball.
The next step is to get one child to be the person doing the directions.
Circle Games Using Balls
9. Thank You Game
This is a simple circle game that teaches eye contact and good manners as well.
Like all the best ball games, it’s pretty simple! The kids sit in a circle. One child says someone’s name, and they roll the ball to them. That kid says, ‘Thank you!’
Then they pick another child, roll the ball to them, and process continues.
This is a great ice-breaker, and a way of learning everyone’s name.
10. Pass The Ball Around The Circle
Another super, super simple one here!
The kids sit in a circle. Have one ball. They pass the ball around the circle! This teaches cooperation and teamwork.
You can make this game a bit harder in a range of ways.
One way is to have several balls going at the same time.
Another way, is to have two different colors of ball. The two colors will go opposite ways around the circle.
So, for example, the blue balls go clockwise, and the red balls go anti-clockwise.
This is another way of making the Ball Pass game a little trickier.
Have either one ball or lots of balls being passed around the circle. They could be different colored balls, and so be going different directions as well.
Do that for a few moments and then say, ‘Change!’
The balls will all start going the reverse direction from the one they were going in.
12. Pass The Ball With Your Feet
This is a really funny game, that can be used a party-game, or just a team-builder for a class.
The children take their shoes off (this makes it slightly easier).
They try to pass the ball around with their feet. I’ve found that having a few balls going at once works well. That way the kids aren’t sitting around for ages waiting for their go, as this is definitely not a quick process!
13. Time Challenge
This is a game that combines passing balls around a circle with an element of competition and speed.
Have a timer, as well as lots of balls! The kids sit in a circle. Start the timer (probably for about 30 seconds), and see how many balls they can pass all the way around the circle in that time.
You can also play this game in two groups (you just need double the balls).
Start the timer, and see which group can pass the most balls fully around the circle by the time the set period is finished.
14. Pass The Number Balls Round The Circle
This is another game that is fantastic for number recognition.
For this you can either write numbers on some balls that you own, or put sticky-notes on balls with numbers written on the sticky notes.
If you don’t want to vandalise your balls, then I’d go with the sticky note strategy.
Simply pass the balls round, and when every child handles an individual ball they say the number they can see, and then pass it on.
You could also do the same idea for:
- Words on the balls
Here’s a ball with a sight word on it that I used to play this game:
15. Thief In The Night!
This is a really fun listening game.
The children sit in a circle, and one kid sits in the middle of the circle. They have a ball that they put on the floor behind them.
Have one noisy instrument, such as a tambourine or a set of bells.
The child in the middle is going to close their eyes tight. Pass the noisy instrument to one of the kids sitting in the circle.
They are going to sneak, holding the instrument, to the middle of the circle, pick up the ball in their other hand, and ‘steal’ it by taking it back to where they are sitting.
They sit back down, and put both the instrument and the ball behind their back. Everyone in the circle puts their hands behind their backs, so anyone could be guilty of being the thief!
Then the child in the middle opens their eyes. They have three guesses to think who the thief might have been.
Physical Ball Games
16. Bridge Ball
Split the children into teams of 4 to 6 for this game. The kids stand in teams with their legs spread really wide.
The will be standing with their feet next to the player beside them. If there is four, they will be in a square shape, each with their legs spread wide. You cannot now move your legs during bridge ball, and must stay where you are.
Have one sponge or rubber ball per team. The idea is that the players are going to try to ‘score’ by getting the ball through the legs of someone else in their team.
If you score, you get 1 point. You can throw, pat, or roll the ball through the ‘goals’ (between their legs) to score.
The ‘winner’ is the person with the most points at the end of a pre-agreed time period.
17. Relay Races With Balls
There are so many relays you can do with balls!
Some great ones are:
- Walk while throwing a ball to yourself
- Use a ball as a relay baton
- Run to the other end, throw a ball to a partner three times, and then run back to your partner
- Run with a ball between your knees
- Maneuvering the ball with your feet around cones.
18. Throw The Balls In The Bucket
This is super simple! Just get a range of containers (such as buckets) and some balls to go with them.
Try throwing them in!
You could potentially put numbers or words on the buckets, and direct them to throw a ball into the right bucket.
19. Ten Throw Sit
This is a simple partners game, that is ideal for PE lessons.
Split the kids into partners. The partners will stand about three yards away from each other, and face one another.
Say, ‘go!’ and the partners must try to complete ten throws to each other, back and forth. They count while throwing, and sit down as soon as they get to ten.
You can adapt this game, by letting them bounce the ball to each other, or even roll the ball to each other.
This is a very simple listening game.
Each child starts with one ball. You will need two different instruments for this as well, for example, a drum and a triangle.
In this example, the drum means ‘drop’ the ball, and the triangle means ‘pick it up.’
The kids start walking around the space, until you hit one of the instruments. If it’s the drum, then they place the ball where they are and keep walking.
Whenever they hear the triangle, they pick up the ball that is closest to them, and walk away with that.
This is a good game for practising sharing in a structured way.
21. Tidy Up!
This is an excellent way to finish a structured PE lesson.
It works best if you have a lots of different balls for this, and several different containers to place the separate balls.
The kids sit down to start with, and the adult scatters the balls as randomly as possible around the space. Place the empty boxes that had been containing them in separate parts of the space, and put one ball of each type into each (just so they know which ball goes into which container).
Then it’s a race! The kids must run around, picking up one ball at a time, and placing it back in the right container.
Keep going until all the balls are back in their rightful places.
You could do this against the clock to make it more competitive.