Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Olympic Snowball Toss Game for Kids

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A simple Olympic snowball toss game for kids. It's a fun way to practice color names and develop gross motor skills.

In the spirit of the upcoming winter Olympics, I thought it would be fun to come up with some kind of game using fake snowballs...

AKA sock snowballs.

See, when me and my brothers were younger, my dad would make sock balls for us to play mini sticks and whatnot with in the house. Basically, he would take some old socks, ball them up, and then wrap them with duct tape. Did you ever play with homemade balls like these when you were little?

Anyway, nostalgia aside, for this particular activity, I just went with plain sock balls, minus the duct tape. Besides, I didn't have any old socks on hand that we were ready to part with. And I wasn't going to duct tape pairs of perfectly good socks just for an afternoon or two of fun...

As you will see shortly, we used these sock snowballs as part of a simple Olympic snowball toss game to work on colors and develop gross motor skills. And it was a lot of fun!

A simple Olympic snowball toss game for kids to practice color names and develop gross motor skills

A version of this post originally appeared on the CBC Parents website.

Olympic Snowball Toss Game for Kids: What You'll Need

For this activity, you will need the following materials:

  • Large cardboard box - I'm not sure where this big box came from, but it was really large!
  • A round lid from a large yogurt container or similar - You will use this as a template for making the holes, but you could also free hand them if you'd prefer.
  • Utility knife or scissors - Use whatever's easier for you to cut cardboard with.
  • Construction paper in blue, yellow, black, red, and green (in other words, the colors of the Olympic rings)
  • Tape - I just used scotch tape, but masking, duct, or packing tape will also work.
  • White socks rolled into balls - These will be your "snowballs." However, feel free to use whatever substitutes you want, including small balls, large pom poms, or similar.

Since there are five Olympic rings, I cut out five large circles in our cardboard box using the utility knife. As you will see below, I put the holes evenly spaced out versus close together like the rings would normally be.

Once the holds were cut out, I tape construction paper to the backside of the cardboard box to cover the holes. Be sure to tape only along the top edge. That way it will flap open when a "snowball" is tossed through the hole. I taped the colors in the order of the Olympic rings.

As an added layer of learning, I wrote the names of the colors on each flap. That way the kids could associate the color with the written word. Plus, if you have a hyperlexic learner like I do, then you know writing the words down was a must.

Olympic snowball toss game setup

As an alternative, you could color a border around each of the circles with different colored markers and write the color names above the holes. Another alternative would be to include balls that match each of the colored holes and turn it into a color matching/sorting style game instead.

Once you have everything set up, place your snowballs in front and let the games begin!

How to Play this Olympic Toss Activity

The basic gist of this activity is to toss a snowball through one of the holes and name the color before or after getting their snowball through the hole.

Since my oldest J can already read (ahem, hyperlexia), he exclaimed, "Blue, yellow, black, green, and this one's red, mom!" before picking up some snowballs to toss.

Child pointing to red paper with the word red written on it

Or, in his case, stuff into the holes.

Child putting snowballs into a ball toss game

Child putting snowballs into a ball toss game

My youngest, K, was a bit more interested in trying to toss them rather than stuff them into the colored holes. He would squat down to pick up a snowball and try to toss it into a hole.

Child putting snowballs into a ball toss game

Not only was this game a hit with my boys, but we also played it as part of our homeschool preschool co-op. The theme was Olympics for this particular meetup and this game had all the kids giggling hysterically.

Are you going to try this Olympic snowball toss game?

A simple Olympic snowball toss game for kids to practice color names and develop gross motor skills