Just picture it… you receive an equipment order and go to open the box. In it is a package of shiny, new Rainbow® Set of foam balls. Ah, the coveted coated-foam ball! No, it’s not a dodge ball. It’s a coated-foam ball that is used in boundless ways in a quality physical education program. A variety of quality foam balls are an important staple in any physical education teacher’s equipment room. You can use them for just about anything!
Attending professional development opportunities and participating in social media has allowed me the opportunity to grow my repertoire of foam-ball based usage and games to expand beyond the traditional “dodgeball-esque” games. There are so many wonderful activities and games using foam balls. Here are my top 10 favorite uses and some “go-to” games:
1. Foam ball as a medicine ball
I don’t have enough medicine balls for each student to have one so I turn to the foam ball where everyone can learn the exercises correctly before using the medicine ball for resistance. A new favorite has been the “plank tunnel” where teams of students line up in plank position and race against each other to the be first team to pass a foam ball through its “tunnel” and back to the start while maintaining the plank hold.
2. Foam ball partner activities
Students are highly social and our classroom is an important setting to allow for social interaction. I use foam balls for wacky relays (think “under-over-under-over” races), partner passing for throwing and catching development, and curl-ups with chest pass. I like to even extend the partner chest pass to one done while balancing on a BOSU® Trainer. This one gets a real smile out of students!
3. Target practice
Whether rolling or throwing, using foam balls to knock down pins or cones, hit targets on the walls, and throw through hula-hoops are essential to target games. The foam ball is a safe way to allow for high repetition practice for throwing development.
4. Racquet sports or striking development
Use high-bounce, small foam balls for indoor tennis, pickleball, table ball, or handball.
5. Beginner basketball skills
Try a high-bounce, larger foam ball for dribbling and shooting.
6. Indoor soccer and hockey
Foam balls for indoor soccer or floor hockey also work well.
7. Softball skill development
Place a small foam ball on a tall cone for indoor batting practice, or baseball/cricket-style games such as womba-ball and bonkerball (bonus: softer to catch).
8. Nutrition themes
Use Rainbow® colored foam balls for nutrition-themed integration games. Reinforce the food groups while also playing a coated foam ball game. Gopher has a ton of nutrition-themed games to check out!
Grab a hoop and a high-bounce foam ball and you’ve got yourself a makeshift Spikeball™ game. Before I had multiple sets of the original Spikeball™ game I supplemented my unit with skinny hula-hoops and a high-bounce foam ball. It is an excellent progression for younger students and Jo Dixon has a nice Spikeball™ blog to get you started.
10. Invasion games
Invasion style games such as SturTee™ and Coneball using a coated foam ball are an important part of my physical education program. Check out my previous blog on these two games. Using a foam ball is less intimidating for students while still maintaining the spirit of the game. These Ultimate Frisbee style games are a favorite with my students.
Continue the conversation: What are your favorite ways to use coated foam balls? #PEblog #physed @gophersport @JessicaShawley
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