This balls theme page includes preschool lesson plans, activities and Interest Learning Center ideas for your Preschool Classroom!
A ball theme? Really? Preschoolers love all kinds of balls: beach balls, basketballs, super duper bouncy balls!
You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.
Materials Needed: Small balls (like bouncy balls), shallow trays, paper, variety of colors of paint.
Place a piece of paper in a shallow tray. Drop a few drops of different colors of paint (I find that watering the paint down a bit works best).
Place 3 balls in the tray.
The children roll the balls through the paint and round the paper by moving the tray.
Create A Ball
Provide a wide variety of arts/crafts and other items for children to discover how to make their own balls.
Provide: paper, cardboard, aluminum foil, clay
Ball Painting--Big Time!
Secure LARGE paper and balls (dodge balls, tennis balls, whatever!) and paint. Yes, I said paint!
Bowl or toss balls that have been dipped in paint onto the paper!
Materials: yarn, watered down glue, small balloons, brushes
The children brush glue on the balloon.
They wrap the yarn around the balloon and brush more glue on it. (Optional: sprinkle glitter on them before they dry!).
Pop balloon and remove
Play games with their yarn balls or hang from the ceiling.
Provide paper towel tubes and other cylander shaped blocks to the block area as well as balls that will fit in the tubes.
Provide dump trucks.
The children will figure out how to transport the balls to the different parts of the block area!
Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your theme!
What Do We Know About Balls?
Materials needed: A basket with all kinds of balls: ping pong, golf, baseball, basketball, soccer, bouncy balls, etc.
Before showing the children, ask them what they know about balls!
Write down everything they say about them!
Ask them what kinds or types of balls they know about and ask them to describe it.
Provide one to pass around as they discuss each one.
Ask many questions: what is inside each ball? (air, etc.); which balls roll faster, can we make balls?
On another morning, answer some questions about balls at circle time!
Cut open a bouncy ball, ping pong ball or other balls after discussing what they think might be inside them.
Bring a board or small folded table to circle time to experiment with which ball rolls faster. Why do they suppose that is?
Try dropping a ball on the floor and measure how far up it bounces.
Why do some bounce higher than others?
These types of experiments during circle time first thing in the day give your children things to think about throughout the day while using balls in the interest centers and outside!
Ball Name Game
Although this may be something you do at the beginning of the year, it is always nice to revisit each others' names!
Sit in a circle. Name a child's name and roll the ball to that child. Only that child should reach for the ball.
That child then names a friend's name and rolls the ball to them.
Tell the children to only choose a friend who has NOT had a turn yet!
The Magic Ball
Of course, this is great. You pass the ball while singing the song. I am not a fan of games for preschoolers where they are "OUT", as this song suggests. If you do this, a great time would be when dismissing them from circle to go to another activity. When they are "Out" in this song, they go to choose their next activity, or got get their jacket on, etc.
The magic ball goes round and round.
Pass it quickly if you are around.
If you're the one to hold it last.
That means it's time for you to __________(sing activity here..get jacket on, go to interest centers, wash your hands, etc.)
And you are out!
Pass the Bean BagI LOVE this song from the Bean Bag Activities CD
Instead of singing "Pass the Beanbag", you will sing "Pass the ball"...it is a GREAT CD!!!
Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation!
Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!
Using a spoon or melon scooper, have the children help scoop ball shapes out of fruits such as watermelon, honeydew melon, cantelop, etc.
Delicious and nutritious!
EXTENSION: Encourage the children to count the balls they put into their dessert cups!
Sports Ball Store
Provide boxes with different balls for the children to sell in their store.
Provide a cash register, paper and pens for receipts, bags for purchases!
More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)
Create A Ball
Provide paper plates instead of paper. The children are going to create their own ball! My thought was for them to have a circle shape and create their own design on the circle so they are creating a design on the circle (ball) shape.
that help build their muscles while they have fun together
Laundry Basket Ball Toss
Provide a variety of balls--different colors and sizes.
Provide a variety of laundry baskets.
The children practice tossing balls into the baskets.
You can set it up so that they are tossing like colored balls into like colored baskets.
They can toss small, medium and large balls into small, medium and large baskets.
Don't have a large selection of balls? That's okay! Use crumpled colored scrap paper!
Beach Ball Games
There are SO many things you can do with preschoolers and beach balls for games!
Let them use a pool noodle to hit the beach ball across the room! Great eye/hand and gross motor development.
Try tossing or kicking the beach ball back and forth.
Use the beach ball (and other balls) as a ball to toss in the Parachute!
Provide large exercise balls for the children to use! They lay their belly on the top, feet on the floor and try to balance on them. Be sure the floor is padded and the activity is supervised.
Rather than purchasing a plastic bowling set, why not make your own instead with the children? Collect 2 liter plastic bottles or 1/2 gallon plastic milk containers. Put a little bit of water or sand in the bottom and provide heavy balls to roll!
Book Suggestions for the Library
The following books may be available at your local library. They are available through Amazon by clicking on the title.
Ball! by Ros Asquith
Don't limit yourself to these titles! Look for other books both fiction and non-fiction to have around your preschool classroom!
Playdough and Clay Balls
Provide playdough (home made or store purchased) and modeling clay.
Show the children how to make balls by squishing and rolling the dough or clay.
Provide bowls or cups for the children to sort and count what they make!
Bouncy Ball Sorting
Provide cups or bowls that are numbered 1-10.
Provide a large collection of bouncy balls.
Provide un-numbered bowls/cups.
The children place the correct number of balls into the numbered cups.
The children sort by attribute (color, specks, etc.) into the un-numbered bowls/cups.
Golf Tee Math
Materials needed: pieces of styrofoam, plastic golf tees, golf balls
The children place the tees into the styrofoam and then count and balance the balls on the tees.
Bring a large selection of balls to a large area.
Show the children one ball. Ask them to describe: how it looks, feels (heavy, light), etc.
Continue with several balls.
Then play music. Call out one of the balls you discussed with them.....they should move like THAT ball (i.e. a smal bouncy ball bounces up and down really fast and low to the ground).
Take Me Out To The Ball Game! (song)
Take me out to the ball game.
Take me out to the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks.
I don't care if I ever get back.
Cause it's root, root root for the home team.
If they don't win it's a shame!
And it's ONE, TWO, THREE strikes you're out!
At the old ball game!
One, Two Three!
Here's a ball (make a small, ball shape with your fingers).
And here's a ball (make a ball shape using both hands).
And here is a great, BIG ball as you can see (make a huge ball shape using your arms)!
Let's count them together...Ready?
One, two, three (make each shape again as you count)!
Textures and Sizes
In your sensory table, provide different sizes, textures and colors of balls for the children to investigate. Some are hard, some squishable, some soft.
Sink or Float
Mhmmm...always a fun sensory activity!
The children try to predict if each type of ball will sink or float!
Add a spray bottle to your sand table as well as melon ball scoops and ice cream scoops for the children to make sand balls with.
Sand Golf (Thank you Jennifer for this idea!)
Set up two baking tins with a scene from a golf course and put alligators and other animal figures along with a pond area and provided little Pom poms and other movable balls with sticks/ wooden and or real for them to hit into hole area with flag.
Homemade Bouncy Balls
2 bowls, measuring spoons, A stir stick (a wooden paint stick works well), 2 tbsp hot water, 1/2 tsp borax, 1 tbsp glue, 1 tbsp corn starch, Food coloring (optional)
Pour the water and borax into one bowl and stir the mixture until it is dissolved.
Pour the glue, cornstarch and food coloring into the second bowl and mix.
Add the mixture from the first bowl into the second second.
Let the ingredients sit for 15 seconds then stir.
Once the mixture becomes difficult to stir, scoop it out of the cup, and roll into a ball. Enjoy!!!
Provide some slightly deflated balls and pike pumps.
Work with the children to inflate and deflate balls.
Provide paper bags and other bags to try to add air to (such as baggies) to experiment with air.
Air Pump Movement
Provide different types of balls: pom poms, cotton balls, bouncy balls, basketballs, etc. and an air pump.
Does the air move each ball across a table?
EXTENSION: Provide each child with a straw. Can they move each ball by blowing into the straw?
Heavy or Light
Provide scales to weigh balls. Use balance scales and actual scales.
Pom Pom Names
Have the children print the letters of their name or the letters they know with a marker.
Give them colored pom poms to glue onto their letters for a textured name or alphabet!
Please CONTACT ME with any activities you'd like to see added to this page! This is such a fun theme that leads to so many child-directed preschool lesson plans in the classroom!