Here are some active ball games for kids that are perfect for playing indoors! Save these ideas for the next bad weather day!
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Back in the fall, I bought a package of 100 ball pit balls on a whim on Walmart. They ended up being an excellent purchase. There are so many things to do with them, besides just make a mess! (Although we’ve done that too…)
This one is my personal favorite.
Put a cardboard box on each side of the “playing field” for goals. To play, use a fly swatter as a hockey stick to swat the ball into your goal.
Game #2: Get Rid of the Balls!
For this game, create a line between the two sides of the playing field by stretching a large sheet across two chairs. The object of the game is to get all the balls over the sheet and into the other player’s side. Meanwhile, your opponent is trying to dump all the balls back onto your side. There is not really ever a winner, but we sure had fun with this!
The boys cracked up the entire time. My 12 year old and I even played a hilarious round against each other. Make it even more silly by giving each player a laundry basket. They they can load up a whole bunch of balls at one time and dump them over the sheet!
Game #3: Milk Jug Catch
Cut the bottom off of a plastic milk jug to make a simple ball catcher. If the edges are sharp, cover them in duct tape.
This is perfect for preschoolers, and older kids will enjoy playing too.
Game #4: Pour the Balls! (Toddlers will love this!)
Janie (22 months) was too young to master the ball catch game. She wanted to load up the ball catchers with balls and then dump them out, but you can’t set them down on the floor without them tipping over. I used another milk jug to make her a “pitcher” for pouring the balls. She loves it!
Fill and pour… Fill and pour…
Game #5: Laundry Basket Skee Ball
Turn a cardboard box and some laundry baskets into this simple skee ball game! See the details here: Laundry Basket Skee Ball
Game #6: Cardboard Box Basketball
We upcycled a diaper box into a basketball game that rolls the ball back to you. It’s super simple to make:
- Cut the flaps off the top of the box.
- Cut a hole near the bottom of the box.
- Use the cardboard flaps to build a little ramp inside the box for the balls to roll down. Easy!
Jonathan and Janie have been having a blast with this game!
Game #7: Toddler Ball Tube
Toddlers and preschoolers will love playing with this simple ball tube. This is a piece of 3 inch PVC pipe and a 90 degree joint. Drop in the balls and watch them pop out the end!
Janie tried using her ball pitcher to pour balls into the tube, but it didn’t work too well. So adorable watching her learn and explore!
Game #8: Color Toss
Here’s another simple idea for preschoolers. Label laundry baskets with construction paper to match the colors of your balls. Then toss the balls into the matching basket!
More Ball Games!
- Cardboard Box + Balls for Babies! This is a fun baby play idea from Carrots are Orange.
- Build your own Kerplunk game – This is a pin description on Pinterest (just a photo). Looks simple, and I think it would be fun indoors too!
- Build a PVC pipe ball pit – Super cool.
- Slide into a ball pit! From I Can Teach My Child (Instagram)
Here are 100 crush-proof ball pit balls on Amazon. Note that 100 won’t be enough to fill a ball pit or a kiddie pool. We have 100, and it’s plenty for the games in this post. If you want different colors, there are TONS of options on Amazon!
Pien Maltz-Klaar Feb 27, 2016
These ball games look great fun.
I like the game with the sheet in the middle best. It will certainly fit in the games I generally play. those are games without winning or losing. Games just for the fun of playing together or cooperate together. These games create a very different atmosphere. When I play with groups (of any age) and when after the first two games people start to realize they just playing for fun all of a sudden a sense of relief and well being enters the group and slowly trust and lots of laughter take over. Rules are added or changed. It always amazes me what happens when the competitive element has been eliminated.
Linda Mar 17, 2020
If you don’t have a lot of those colored balls rolled up socks work well too!
Malinda Strueby Nov 2, 2016
awesome games looks like you guys had lots of fun.
Pamela Kim Feb 14, 2017
I love how your posts have lots of pictures. Great for a Visual person like myself! Thanks for always doing such a great job!!
Edna Jun 22, 2018
I can't wait to play these games with kids!
We are going to read the book; Can I Play Too? by Mo Willems.
I've been searching for the ideas for the ball play.
Even school kids would love them.
Thank you so much for sharing.
Patricia Butler Jul 14, 2018
Awesome games looks like you guys had lots of fun.I can’t wait to play these games with kids. Thank you so much for sharing.
Cathy Chant Dec 3, 2018
I love your activities, curriculum, and all the cool, fun stuff I find on your website to use in my classroom I teach SPED, and these are great for hands-on learning. Thank you for all of this.
I'd like to add a really fun, simple activity you might consider for your list. I've literally been doing this with kids for over 45 years...
Indoor Volleyball using a balloon (or balloons).
Have kids on two sides of the "net) (use a rope or anything you like for a dividing rope).
Kids are either seated (good luck, they'll jump up too much) or on their knees.
You, as the referee, holding one end of the rope (other attached to anything you like) can control the game
in any way; raise the rope, lower the rope, etc. Make any rules you like. For example, if you're in a relatively open and/or small room with walls, make it "Wallyball" and kids can play off the wall. Require 3 hits (passes) before hitting to other side (or not), you see the idea?
Anyway, as the referee, you can start the game tossing the balloon to one side or the other. I recommend a good quality, fairly large balloon. You might be able to make it round-ish, but that doesn't really matter.
Keep score like volleyball (or not)
Have fun with it. It's a very active game. Always quit before kids get bored. Have them begging for more... LOL
Yullissa Jan 30, 2020
I love your ideas!! I will implement them for my classroom. We are doing doing the Ball Study creative curriculum.
Harjinder Kaur Attalia Dec 4, 2020
Very nice i will try with my son special need. He is 4 years old
Leslie Jan 30, 2021
Wonderful ball game ideas! I have a bag full of these balls just sitting in the closet. I'm gonna try all of the games with my 3 1/2 yr old grandaughter. Thank you for sharing.
Zuzu MacDonald Jul 11, 2021
Thanks for the ideas, I am volunteering with refugee children in Turkey and have fun, easy prep games to keep them busy while their mums are taking workshops is very important.
Sherry Apr 1, 2022
I’m so excited to use some of these ideas to help students achieve their learning objectives! Makes learning fun!
Donna Jan 11, 2023
Sarah, these games are SO creative and resourceful, I just LOVE them. I am a BIG fan of "making your own" with ordinary items and all this is right up my alley. I can't wait to do some of this stuff with my granddaughters! :D Thanks!
Marcia flores Feb 15, 2023
I absolutely love your pictures and all your ideas! As a preschool Teacher Assistant you sure help me gather ideas quickly!
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