Play Ball! (translated: Go Outside and Exercise!)

Today is Opening Day for the Cincinnati Reds and is a big deal to the city. There is a parade, former players come back to see the game and be involved in festivities, and some parents take their kids out of school to attend the game and be a part of the fun.  Opening day always signals the beginning of Spring to me. We are finally seeing glimpses of that season and I am happy to see the temperatures are going to be in the 60’s after seeing cold temperatures and snow for many, many months.

How about celebrating Spring by going outside and playing some ball? Maybe you don’t have enough children for a baseball team, but all sorts of other games can be played involving balls.

Ball Games to Play

Volleyball This may be difficult to play unless you invite some friends over and you have a volleyball net, but you can play a variation of the game. Draw a line on the sidewalk and see how many times the ball can be hit in the air from one side to the other without it falling to the ground. A point is scored when the opponent cannot return the ball or steps over the line, or the ball goes out-of-bounds.

Catch Just toss a ball back and forth. You only need two people to play this game, which is great if you have an only child.  Have your child count how many times s/he is able to catch it. An added bonus is that you can include math in there too!

Pickle A variation of catch, but is played with three people. One person is in the middle and tries to intercept the ball as it is being tossed back and forth by the other two players. You can keep score by seeing ho many times each person intercepts the ball if you want.

Two Square You can use the sidewalk as a dividing line or you can draw your own square on the driveway. The idea is to stand parallel to the line and drop a large rubber ball on the ground and then hit it to your opponent. If the other person doesn’t hit it on the first bounce, you get a point. The first one to 10 (or what number you decide), wins. Did you know you can even purchase a ball that is perfect for that activity? It is called a playground ball.

Four Square This is a variation of Two Square and you can bounce the ball is any of the other squares. This makes the game a bit livelier, since you have to keep alert. You can do “dropsies” where you get low to the ground and drop the ball in the opponent’s square.  You can also bounce it really high, trying to bounce the ball in the other person’s square and not giving them an opportunity to hit it before it goes out-of-bounds. Your opponent cannot catch the ball, but must hit it with their hand. Make up your own variations and moves with the game. Maybe the players have to hit it with their elbows instead of their hands.

Tennis If you don’t have a tennis court nearby, play driveway tennis.

Relay Races Why not use a baseball or a tennis ball and have the children balance the ball on the top of their shoe? The first player who completes an up and back lap wins. You can also have the players bounce a ball up and back, the winner is the one who crosses the line first.

Dodge Ball This is not one of my favorites because it seems like someone usually gets hurt, but if you monitor how hard the ball can be thrown, the kids love playing. Decide on boundaries before beginning as anyone who steps/runs out of the boundary sit sour until the game is finished. One person is the thrower and the other players attempt to dodge the ball until there is only one player left. The player who is left is the person who gets to throw the ball the next time.

Kickball This is played just like baseball, but you play with a larger ball and kick it instead of hitting the ball. This can be modified if you do not have many people to play.

Get out there and enjoy the weather! You will not only have fun, but the children are having physical education and you can burn off some extra calories too if you join in the fun!

~Lisa