With the sun shining and the days getting longer, summer is the perfect time of year for children to get active in the great outdoors. And if your child has a summer birthday approaching, why not celebrate with an outdoor party?
Better yet, throw a ball! Not the sort involving posh frocks and dancing, but a party where you play kids’ ball games. Children of all ages love throwing balls around, the exercise is good for them, and we have some great ideas to inspire you.
So, let’s start the ball rolling!
If you have a reasonable sized garden, this could be the perfect place to hold your party. But if your garden’s not suitable (or you value your plants!) there are plenty of other options. Consider your local park, the beach (if you live close enough), or a community centre with an outdoor space. Or perhaps you have a relative who’s happy to let you borrow their garden for the occasion.
In case of inclement weather though, it’s always advisable to have a plan B, which essentially means moving the party indoors. This isn’t quite as unfeasible as it sounds. If you’ve hired a community centre, or similar space, it’s likely that you’ll be able to transfer the kids’ ball games indoors, but what about your own home? Although you might have to ditch some of the more energetic games, or those requiring lots of space, many work just as well indoors as out, and for those that don’t, just select a suitable alternative from our list of kids’ ball games.
Outdoor / large space kids’ ball games
Based on the three-legged race – requires an even number of participants:
- Place a goal at one end of your space and a length of string (to mark the start line) at the other
- Pair children up (matching those of similar height) and stand them side-by-side
- Tie their inner legs together using scarves or strips torn off an old sheet
- Provide each pair with a ball and line them up on the starting line
- The first pair to successfully score a goal are declared the winners.
Ping-pong Spoon Race
- Use string to mark a start and finish line
- Give each child a ping-pong ball and a spoon
- Participants place their ball on the spoon and walk towards the finish line as fast as possible without dropping the ball.
- If a ball is dropped, that player must return to the start line
- The first child past the finish line, with their ball on the spoon, wins.
All the fun of the fair with a few simple adaptations! Set up a small table, with empty food tins weighted with sand or pebbles. Use lightweight balls as coconuts and tennis balls to knock them off.
- Mark a throwing line with string
- Provide the first player with four tennis balls to knock a ‘coconut’ off its stand
- Reinstate knocked over ‘coconuts’ for the next child
- The child who knocks off the most ‘coconuts’ wins
- If there’s a draw, have a play-off.
The aim is to complete the course in the fastest time. Here are a few suggestions:
- Traffic cones – dribble the ball around them
- Blanket or play tunnel – crawl through while holding the ball in both hands
- Hula hoops – hang in a tree or place on the ground for bouncing or scoring
- Walk with ball between knees
- Dribble ball along a plank of wood.
- Kick the ball into a goal at the end of the course.
Simplify for younger children by rolling a ball through a pop-up tunnel, running with it, rolling it down a slope or slide etc.
Attach a Velcro ball pad from a set to a line post or other suitable surface. Let children take turns throwing the ball at it from a good distance away. Award a point for each successful hit – i.e., the ball sticks to the pad – within a given time frame.
Classic ball games
- Dodge ball
- Bench ball
Indoor and Outdoor suitable Kids’ Ball Games
This kids’ ball game can be easily adapted for different age groups. It requires lots of lightweight balls in five or six different colours, the same number of washing baskets/cardboard boxes, coloured paper and pens. Can be played in teams or individually.
- Label each box with a blank paper square to match the ball colours
- Mark a throwing line with string and place the baskets/boxes close together opposite the line
- Players take turns to throw as many balls as possible into the correct container within 30 seconds
- The team or individual with the most correctly sorted balls wins.
Make this easier for younger children by standing them closer to the receptacles, and harder for older children by mixing up words and colours. For example, write the word ‘RED’ on YELLOW paper with a GREEN pen and watch the ensuing confusion!
Like pass the parcel, but the aim is not to be holding the ‘potato’ when the timer goes off. When playing indoors, use a lightweight ball.
- Stand or sit the children in a circle with enough space for them to throw a ball to each other
- Set an audible timer on your phone
- Children throw the ball around the circle as quickly as possible but must shout out an item of food to go with the potato (anything goes!) before they throw
- The child holding the ball when the timer goes off is out
- Repeat until you have a winner
Buckets and Paper Plates
Line up a row of beach buckets or other containers (one per child) on a flat surface.
Cut a small hole in one side of a paper plate – a bit larger than a ping-pong ball
- Mark the start line with string
- Children carry a ball on their plate trying not to drop it through the hole
- When they reach their receptacle, they must get the ball through the hole, by tilting the plate, and into the bucket – no hands allowed
- Provide multiple balls and set a time limit – the player with most balls in their bucket wins.
Indoor kids’ ball games
- Tape a paper cup to each end of your dining table with the tops level with your tabletop.
- Bend card from a cardboard box into long right-angled strips and tape under the edge of the table-top – not essential but it will prevent too many off-sides!
- Divide children into two teams
- Provide each team with paper straws and a shared ping-pong ball
- Children score goals for their team by blowing the ball into the goal cups using straws.
- Set a time limit – the team with most goals wins.
Create a maze on a table or large tray using building blocks, books, or even playdough. Vary the maze’s difficulty according to the age of the children. Depending on the construction of your maze, use a ping-pong ball or a marble to run through it. Children take turns to get their ball through the maze within a set time limit. The winner is the child who gets the ball through in the fastest time.
This one works best on a non-carpeted surface. Use paper cups, empty yoghurt pots or anything else you can think of to create a stacked pyramid. Children then roll a ball from an appropriate distance to knock the pyramid down. Points can be given for partial demolition as well as knocking the whole structure down. The winner is the child with most points.
That’s a wrap
We really hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these ideas, and that this article has inspired you to hold a kids’ ball game party.
Don’t forget that most of these games can be easily adapted to suit a wide range of ages and abilities with just a few small tweaks; whatever age your child is, there’s plenty to choose from.
So, go ahead, start planning your child’s summer birthday bash – we’re sure they’ll have a ball!
At PartyWizz, our mission is all about helping people create fabulous parties with the minimum amount of time and stress.