At the center, the kids love to play with, “the big green ball.” It’s one of those therapy or stability balls that people use during physical or occupational therapy. There are smaller ones that people use for exercise, but the one that we have at the center is huge.
One of their favorite things to do with the big green ball is to have it role over them. On one of our rainy days, I brought a few kids down to a huge room we have and got out the ball. The kids were excited about playing with the ball because we don’t play with it often. I asked what we should play and they said they wanted to make pizza. Last year, a teacher who no longer works with us made up a game with the ball about making pizza and the kids have liked playing it ever since. The kids lay flat on the floor in a straight line so that the ball can role over their backs. The first part is making the dough so I role the ball flat over the kids and tell them that I’m making the dough. Next comes the sauce so I lightly bounce the ball over them. Next comes the cheese so I bounce the ball lightly a few times on each child’s back. Then next comes the toppings which each child gets to pick. Two children picked pepperoni, one picked more cheese, one picked tomatoes and the last girl picked sprinkles. This is a girl who always picks something different which makes things more interesting. For each topping, I bounce the ball a few times on each child’s back and then role it over them to smoothe out the toppings.
Then the kids decided that we should play the game with vegetables so I stopped at each child and asked them what their favorite vegetable was. I got some interesting responses like broccoli, pumpkin, etc. They weren’t things I’d expect, but I was glad to hear that they liked their veggies. Then the girl who likes different things surprised me and said she liked broccoli like one of the boys in the class. The kids started kicking the ball when I’d come around to them and I said this could ruin the ball since our shoes are rough and asked what else we could play that would be better for the ball.
They couldn’t come up with something so I suggested we stand in a circle and role the ball back and forth. It’s a good turn taking game and can actually be a good introductions game at the beginning of the year or whenever new children start. Each person has to say the name of the person before they role it to them. They were occupied with this game for about ten minutes until it was time for the next activity. I had to remind the kids to take turns, but not too often. They made sure that everyone got the ball at least a few times. They will cooperate well and learn patience if they are engaged in the activity. Pushing and rolling the ball around was good exercise on a rainy day.
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