Children’s interest in throwing things often starts early and continues into the preschool years. Throwing can be a fun, open-ended activity that provides opportunities for children to explore, experiment and learn through play – all while developing a variety of social, physical, cognitive and language skills!
This following list of play extension ideas might also help you find ways to expand on the children’s knowledge and experience! You will also find room setup and other considerations, materials ideas, and resources at the bottom of the page.
- Hard ball/soft ball – provide balls made of different materials for throwing. Discuss what they are made of, how they feel and if they are hard or soft to the touch.
- Heavy ball/light ball – provide different weights of balls or throwing items. They can hold each one and tell you which one feels is heavier. They could weigh the balls on a scale.
- Which one will go further? Provide different types of throwing materials and have the children guess which one will roll or throw further. You can also try:
- Making a chart
- Including a ruler and/or measuring tape
- Measure things in footsteps
- measuring with tape on the floor
- How high can we throw in the air? Try throwing underhand and then overhand. Which one is higher?
- Make a list with the children of things you can throw and things that would not be safe to throw and why.
- Have ramps for rolling and throwing things down and/or up.
- Have tunnels and tubes to throw items through.
- Rolling items that are round, rolling items that are square or triangle.
- What does the inside of a ball look like?
- Provide different uniforms from sports teams that “throw” such as basketball, cricket, football etc.
- Provide sporting equipment for dress up such as helmets, pads, gloves and shoes.
- Set up a sporting goods store.
- Set up your own olympics and paralympics – this could be done for dramatic play or in your entire room. You can add
- Pictures of different sports
- Maps of where the countries are that are competing.
- Introduce different sporting events that might be new to them which is also language development.
- Have a speaker come in to show the children different moves in a sport.
- Set up a sporting event! You can include cash registers, money from different countries, and items to make tickets.
- Add referee uniforms, whistles, and cards to your dress-up area.
- Provide coloured balls and matching coloured targets or baskets.
- Ring toss with letters, they could spell their name or say the letter.
- Different shapes on the floors with tape and the children bounce or throw the balls into them.
- Different size balls and different size openings to throw into.
- Bean bag colour, number or letter matching throw game.
- Targets on the wall with letters, numbers, shapes, words etc.
- Throw with your left or your right hand. You can make a chart or take pictures to show which hand the children find it easier to throw with.
- Matching balls where you have two pictures or actual balls and they have to find the matching pair.
- Match the ball or throwing item to the sport or activity.
Culture and diversity
- What are some sports or throwing games that parents/families play in their home country? Introduce some of these games or sports with pictures, playing them, providing equipment and having the parents share their knowledge. Examples include: Kongki Noli (Korea), Pitthu Garam (Seven Stones – Pakistan)
- Consider including different materials used for throwing and things that can be thrown into from around the world.
- Provide pictures, books and speakers that represent both genders in sports and activities, such as women in rugby or football.
- Provide pictures and books that represent all abilities playing sports and in activities, such as wheelchair hockey or a player with prosthetic legs.
- Discuss with the children that some people may not be able to use their arms so how could you throw a ball?
- Invite the families for a game. You can do this in the classroom, gym or even outside.
- Have the adult class and CNC wear their favorite jersey or share their favorite sport or activities/games.
- Make cards or tip sheets for families to take home – include some throwing game ideas and information for parents about why throwing is an important skill for children’s developing body and brain.
- Provide throwing materials for at-home games/activities.
- Have pictures of places in their community where families can go to throw things, such as basketball courts, baseball fields, community centers, parks etc.
- Consider a field trip with the adult class to these community places.
- Have speakers come in and teach movements or activities to the children.
- Create a community book for the classroom where children draw or you take pictures of all the places I can throw a ball.
- What do other communities look like? Do all communities have basketball courts?
Gross motor and movement
- Parachute throwing – you can put an object on to the parachute to throw into the air.
- You can also do this in pairs with towels.
- Throw something into the air and catch it yourself.
- Throw something in the air and catch it with:
- A bucket
- A hat
- Your shirt
- Left hand
- Right hand
- Your elbow
- With a spoon
- With a glove
- Throw something in the air and
- Stomp your feet while you catch it
- Turn around and catch it
- Do a jumping jack and catch it
- Catch it laying down
- Catch a partners
- Clap your hands and catch it
- Touch your toes and then catch it
- Throw to music
- Playing catch with a partner also incorporates social and emotional skills!
- Freeze throwing game
- Hot potato
- Throwing cotton balls or pom poms at mactac or sticky tape on the wall.
- Throwing pom poms into their air and catching them.
- Use a spoons to scoop and throw pom poms into containers
- Create puzzles of all different types of balls
- Straw javelin throwing
- Roll the dough into balls and bake the dough. Have the children paint the balls or marbles.
- Use tongs to pick up the ball and throw it
- Use clothespins to pick up the cotton balls and throw them in bucket
- Throwing is part of many games that develop social skills such as turn taking, negotiation, and working as a team
- When a child gets upset and throws something, it is an opportunity to encourage a healthy expression of emotions. Consider whether there might be something they could safely throw without hurting anyone or breaking anything.
- Children can work together to develop their own throwing games
- Talk to the children about how they feel when they throw different items
- Discuss the safety of how and what we throw
Art and creative
- Make your own bean bags
- Paint different materials of balls
- Create a target mural where the children paint or colour a large piece of mural paper. Hang it up and let the children throw things at it.
- Make paper airplanes for throwing
- Paint boxes for throwing items into
- Create your own flags for your teams
- Have creative drawing material available in all areas of the room so children can draw their ideas for throwing things
- Make tape or sticky mactac balls
- Use recycled paper for creating paper balls or “snowballs” to throw
- Make a catapult for pom poms or soft balls and try to hit a target.
- Drop slat painting. Have a large roll of paper and let the children soak cotton balls in paint and drop them onto the paper.
- Introduce throwing related words in different language such as
- Post these different words in areas around the room.
- Ask parents to share some of these words in their home language so that you can use them during the children’s play.
- Create a game of your own with the children. Allow the children to create the rules, where they play it and what they wear. This encourages discussion and enhances language. Use a board to write down these ideas and add pictures if needed.
- Provide books about throwing, rolling, bouncing or sports in different play areas.
- Add movement songs or fingerplays
Different materials children can throw
- Bean bags
- Paper balls
- Balls made of clay, playdough, wicker, plastic, rubber.
- Tape/mactac sticky balls
- Football/soccer ball/beach ball
- Bocce balls
- Cotton balls
- Pom poms
- Stuffed animals
- Styrofoam balls
- Air planes
- Velcro balls
- Child-friendly lawn darts (with bean bag or velcro ends)
- Yarn balls
- Tin foil balls
Room setup and considerations
- Have a designated “throwing” area set up in your room. This will give children the opportunity to practice this skill and not disturb other children and play areas.
- Consider the size of the throwing items and consider choking hazards.
- Have throwing materials available during free play.
- Throwing does not have to be just for the gym or outside.
- Having different size balls or throwing items allow for practice of varying abilities.