# Throwing & Catching Games for Kids

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Children of all ages love games that involve catching and throwing balls — not only ideal play activities to help develop eye-hand coordination but simple ways to get kids moving. With childhood obesity and diabetes on the rise, it's time to get the young ones to turn off the TV and turn them on to outdoor fun.

## S-P-U-D

• Gather the participants, and assign each one a number by counting them in sequence. One child receives a playground-sized rubber ball, while the remaining children form a circle around him.

The child with the ball must then throw it as high as he can straight up while yelling out a number assigned to one of the children. The child with that number must then catch the ball while the other children run away from the ball.

Once the child catches the ball, she then yells “Spud!” — the signal for all the running children to freeze in place. She then has one chance to hit another child with the ball. If she succeeds, that child receives the "S" from the word "spud"; if she catches the ball, the thrower gets the "S." The game then continues with the targeted child becoming the next person to throw the ball into the air. Children who have completed the word "spud" must sit out for the remainder of the game.

## Kickball

• Using a playground-sized rubber ball, organize the group of children into two teams. Mark out an approximate baseball diamond with home, first, second and third bases. Position the children according to a standard baseball game with pitcher, catcher, infield and outfield players.

The pitcher then rolls the ball to the "batter," who then kicks it into the field. The fielding team will catch the ball and try to touch the runner with the ball to get him out. Follow the basic rules of baseball.

## Four-Square

• On a driveway or concrete playground area, mark out a 8-by-8-foot square with chalk. Divide this large square into four even squares by drawing a horizontal line across the middle and an intersecting vertical line down the middle. Position one child in each square. Play begins with one child bouncing the ball to the child in any other square of choice. The receiving child will deflect the ball to another square. If a child stops the movement of the game by holding the ball or missing the ball, or hits the ball out of the chalked lines, he is out of the game and the next player waiting on the sidelines will take his place.

## Velcro Catch

• Instead of using a baseball and mitt, use a Velcro shield and tennis ball. Purchase this combination of shield and ball at stores that sell toys. The catching shield is larger than a mitt and grabs the ball easily due to the Velcro, making this game ideal for beginners.

Start with two players face to face and approximately 5 feet apart. As the participants catch each toss back and forth, have them take two steps back, expanding the distance between the two players.

## Chinese Ball

• Either a playground-sized rubber ball or a medium-size beach ball will work for this game. Gather all the participants forming a circle with all players facing inward. Toss the ball to a random player, who then tosses it quickly to another player. The children to the right or left of the one who caught the ball must raise her hand nearest the child with the ball. Once that child tosses the ball to another player, arms go down. If a player raises the wrong hand, he is disqualified and leaves the circle. When only five children remain, the game begins again with all the players.

## References

• Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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