Playing with different weight and textured balls is a fun way to teach the mathematical concept of heavy and light and to stimulate the sense of touch. Why not make your own!
What you will need:
- 2 Empty plastic bags
- 10 Newspaper pages
- Old stockings
Making the heavy ball
Let the children fill the empty plastic bag with the sand, have them feel the texture of the sand and let it run through their little fingers. Once you have enough sand in the plastic bag, close the bag making it into a ball. Twist the top of the plastic bag a little to make it secure and then wrap the left over plastic bag over the sand ball again. Make it as round as possible. Once it is done put your sand ball into an old stocking. Push the ball down to the bottom of the stocking and tie the stocking, wrap the ball twice or three times with the stocking to make it strong. Tie a knot and make sure it is secure.
Making the light ball
Give the children newspaper pages and ask them to scrunch them up to make a ball. Keep adding the pages until you have the required size ball. Put the newspaper ball into a plastic bag. Twist the top of the plastic bag and wrap the remainder of the bag around the ball again. Try and make it as round as possible. Tie a knot. You can use a material bag or plastic netting if you would like to make it more textured and interesting. You can also use clear buffer tape to wrap around the plastic bag to make it more durable.
Activities to do once the balls are made
- Point out the differences between the two balls, one is heavy and one is light. Close your eyes and see if you can feel which is heavy and which is light.
- Let the children stand a little distance from you and throw the different balls to them one at a time, let them feel the difference between the two balls when catching. Get the children to stand a little further each time, making each catch more challenging (eye hand co-ordination.)
- The children can hold each ball up high and then down low, teaching them opposites. Play the Clamber Club Action Song – Going Up – and move to the music as you lift the ball up and down.
- Use a bucket and let the children throw each ball into a bucket for target throwing, mention the different sound you will hear when you throw the heavy sand ball and then the paper ball.
- Hold a hula hoop a little distance away from them and let them throw each ball through the hula hoop (target throwing.)
- Use cones and let them dribble each ball through the cones, this is a great activity for eye foot co-ordination.
- Stand with your legs apart and let them kick the balls through your legs.
- Let them roll the different balls and run after the balls (tracking.)
- Children can throw the ball up in the air and catch a few times.
- Children can throw the ball to each other.
- Sit with their legs open and roll the ball to one another.
Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” Diane Ackerman
“Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.” Abraham Maslow