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Beach Ball Games: Spice Up Your Physical Education Classes with These 25 Activities

When most people think of beach balls, they think of fun in the sun. But did you know that beach balls can also be a great addition to a physical education program? Beach balls are a great tool for teaching a variety of physical education skills and can be used to play several PE games. The versatility of beach balls opens up countless opportunities to engage students in active and fun activities in your learning space! They come in a variety of sizes and colors making them a "go to" piece of equipment for an elementary gym or classroom.


25 Beach Ball Games and Activities to Enhance Your Physical Education Class

Pics by Mrs. Kacy Nash @mrsnashPE


In this blog post I'll discuss the many benefits of utilizing beach balls in your PE classes, give some helpful tips on how best to use them, plus provide 25 fantastic ideas for incorporating them into your lesson plans.

 

Why should I use beach ball games and activites in PE?


Beach Balls are an invaluable asset to physical education classes! With their vibrant colors, fun shapes and lightweight construction, they provide students with a great opportunity for skill development and cooperation-building experiences. Beach balls are so lightweight that even the youngest of kids can easily participate in physical education activities such as volleying, tossing, throwing, catching, striking, foot dribbling and balancing! For those looking to move beyond simple balloon activities, they make an ideal choice. Students always look forward to engaging with one another through dynamic small-group games that involve beach balls, fostering a true sense of camaraderie.


Why should I use beach balls in PE?

Pics by Eric Heard @eheard and Laura McLauchlin @mclauchlinlaura


Beach balls are an inexpensive way to add variety and excitement to your physical education classes. With their many sizes and colors, they can help reinforce lessons by acting as visual reminders for numbers and colors. Some PE teachers have even written words with a permanent marker on beach balls to help reinforce the learning of classroom sight words. They can also help you differentiate instruction by providing challenges for students with different skill levels. Additionally, beach balls are easy to pack up and transport, making them ideal for use in outdoor PE classes or field trips. When you're done playing, deflate them for easy storage and save them for next time!



 

Does implementing beach ball activities in physical education help address standards?


Beach balls are not only an enjoyable piece of equipment for students to play with, but they also provide them with opportunities for engaging activities and games that align perfectly with SHAPE America's Standard 1 - which states: The physically literate individual demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.* Any beach ball activity or game you choose to implement in your PE lessons can easily meet any national, state, or district standards.


Does implementing beach ball activities in physical education help address standards?

Pic by Mrs. Hochman & Mr. Ramlow @CopelandD70PE

 

Tips for using beach balls in PE


1. Have a solid plan - unlock your students' maximum potential in learning skills or movements by choosing the right games, activities and challenges performed with the beach ball that suit what you intend for them to learn.

2. Utilize different sizes of beach balls - depending on age level and skill set, smaller or larger sized balls may be better suited for certain drills or games.

3. Give each student or small group their own beachball - this allows them an opportunity to practice and perfect skills that they can use in the game or activity.

4. Keep safety in mind at all times - make sure there is adequate space between students and stations and that everyone understands how to properly handle a beachball in their own space.

Pic by Mrs. Hochman & Mr. Ramlow @CopelandD70PE


5. Use fun and creative activities - the possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to using beach balls for physical education, so get creative with your lesson plans!

6. Use beach balls with your special needs students - they work especially well with this population because the balls are lightweight and easy to manipulate.


7. Start out slow and simple - teach basic movements like volleying, striking, passing, catching and throwing before progressing to more complex activities used in small group and large group game situations. Allow ample time when students are learning new skills.


8. Use group activities and play beach ball games for maximum engagement - playing different types of relay races or competitive tag can get everyone involved in the activity.

Pic by Laura McLauchlin @mclauchlinlaura


9. Allow students to get creative - in addition to your planned activities, let the students create their own games or challenges with the beach balls!


 

25 Fun Ideas for Incorporating Beach Balls in a PE Class

If you want to make your students' learning experiences more active and engaging, then these 25 beachball-related activities are exactly what you need! They can complete the following tasks individually, with a partner, or in small groups at any of the stations throughout your learning area.


1- Volleying Skills

  • Self-Volley- While standing, volley a beach ball up in the air using your hands. Stay in your own personal space while you play.

  • Sit and Volley- Sit down on the ground and volley a beach ball up in the air using your hands or head.

  • Soccer Volley- Volley a beach ball up in the air using your feet, head and chest. Maintain your personal boundaries as you engage in play.

  • Wall Volley- Volley a beach ball off the wall using sets, and bumps. Start each wall volley using an underhand serve.

  • Volley and Move- While moving around the room, volley a beach ball up in the air using your hands, feet and head.

Volleying Skills with Beach Balls


2- Tossing and Throwing Skills

  • Toss and Catch- Toss the beach ball up in the air using either hand. Catch it with 2 hands or 1 when it descends.

  • Wall Toss and Catch- Toss a beach ball underhand or throw it overhand off the gym wall. Catch it in the air or field it on the ground.

  • Hit the Target- From a polyspot, throw a beach ball overhand at a target. The target can be taped on the wall or placed on a cone.

  • Knock Down the Pins- From a polyspot, use a beach ball like a bowling ball and roll it at a set of bowling pins. Retrieve the ball, set up the pins, and repeat.

  • Though the Hoop- From a polyspot, throw the ball through an upright hula hoop. The hula hoops can be hanging from a goal or held by a partner.

Tossing and Throwing Skills with Beach Balls


3- Dribbling, Striking, Punting and Balancing

  • Foot Dribble- Using your feet, dribble a beachball, from a gym line, around a cone (or a course of cones) and then back.

  • Noodle Dribble- Using pool noodles or hockey sticks, dribble a beachball from a gym line, around a cone (or a course of cones) and then back.

  • Strike Off a Tee- Place a beach ball on top of a large cone or tee. Hit it off the cone towards a nearby wall. Retrieve the ball and repeat.

  • Punt Off a Wall- Punt a beach ball (from your hands) off the gym wall. Catch it in the air or field it on the ground.

  • Beach Ball Balance- Balance a beach ball on different parts of your body. Balance it from a standing, sitting or lying position.

Dribbling, Striking, Punting and Balancing with Beach Balls


4- Partner Activities

  • Partner Roll- Roll a beach ball back and forth with a partner. Field the ball off the ground when it rolls to you.

  • Partner Catch- Toss underhand or throw overhand a beach ball back and forth with a partner. Catch the ball in the air or from a bounce. Play hot potato with our partner!

  • Partner Volley- Volley a beach ball back and forth with a partner. See how many times you can keep it in the air.

  • Partner Wall Play- Volley a beach ball off the wall with a partner. See how many times you can keep it going without it hitting the ground.

  • Partner Challenge- Challenge a partner to copy the way you volley, toss, catch or balance a beach ball. Be creative!

Partner Activities with Beach Balls

The beachball activity visuals depicted above can be found at Cap'n Pete's Power PE site located here


5- Small Group Fun Games- (great for older kids)

  • Group Volley to a Basket- Volley a beach ball around the group and have in land in a basket. The ball must be volleyed by each person in the group before it can land in the basket.

Video by Jeremy Anderson @FreedomHawksPE


  • Keep it Up- In small groups of 3 or 4, use a large beach ball or volleyball and “keep it up” in the air. See how many times you can volley it up as a group.

  • 2 vs 2 Line Volleyball- Play games of 2 v 2 volleyball over a gym line or a jump rope. The ball must be hit up and not spiked down.

  • Group Wheel Volley- A middle leader, tosses a volleyball or beach ball to each person consecutively around a circle. Create a fun game where you compete against other groups to see who can complete the wheel 1st. Let each person get a chance to be the leader.


Small Group Fun Games with Beach Balls
  • 4 Square Beach Ball Volleyball- Play games of “volley 4 square” using a beach ball. Try to volley the ball into another player's square. Rotate from square 4 to square 1. The ball may bounce one time between hits.

Video by Jeremy Anderson @FreedomHawksPE

 

Final Thoughts

Including beach balls in your physical education lessons can make them more fun and challenging. Beachballs are the perfect tools for developing gross motor skills, enhancing individual hand-eye coordination and fostering collaborative social engagement among groups of peers. Because they are so versatile, you will have no trouble finding ways to incorporate them into your lessons. Bring a unique and exciting twist to your physical education class by creating innovative games and activities with beach balls! With the highlighted 25 beach ball activities and games, you'll be well prepared for your future teaching endeavors. Let's make learning and exercise enjoyable for your students. The key objective is to keep them engaged in a dynamic environment!


Are beach balls an integral part of your physical education curriculum? If so, which activities with them do you and your students enjoy the most? We'd love to hear all about it in the comments section below!

*SHAPE America. (2013). National Standards for K-12 Physical Education. Reston, VA: Author.

 

Need resources?


Do you need some PE Equipment-Based Challenge Cards that can easily help you teach activities like the ones discussed in the equipment-based article above? Would it help to have easy-to-implement visuals that include detailed instructions and state-of-the-art graphics? Cap'n Pete's Power PE has you covered!

28 FREE PE Equipment-Based Challenge Cards on capnpetespowerpe.com

Fill in the form below to download 28 FREE fun and active PE Equipment Challenge Cards with a variety of manipulative and movement-based skills to use in your physical education classes.


The set is a PDF digital download that includes four visuals (cards) from each the following equipment-based, skill, and movement challenge card sets: 1. Balloon Challenges, 2. Beanbag Challenges, 3. Pool Noodle Challenges, 4. Hula Hoop Challenges, 5. Playground Ball Challenges, 6. Jump Rope Challenges, and 7. Cup Stacking Challenges.



This freebie set will be sure to enhance your PE curriculum for years!

 

If you REALLY want to expand your physical education program's arsenal, check out Cap'n Pete's, 20 Set PE Equipment Challenge Card Super Bundle. Over 480, PE equipment-based teaching visuals from 20 unique sets!!


Cap'n Pete's, 20 Set PE Equipment Challenge Card Super Bundle. Over 480, PE equipment-based teaching visuals from 20 unique sets!!

You can download them from either of the following platforms: Cap'n Pete's Power PE Website or Teachers Pay Teachers- Cap'n Pete's TPT Store


This comprehensive visual collection will help you teach your students a plethora of movement and manipulative skills using 20 traditional pieces of physical education equipment that include: balloons, beanbags, stacking cups, pool noodles, juggling scarves, hula hoops, tumbling mats, long jump ropes, short jump ropes, scooter boards, cones & poly spots, dice, Lummi sticks. long-handled implements, short-handled implements, basketballs, beachballs, footballs, playground balls, and soccer balls.



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