This is a really simple game I have used, that my classes have loved.
I use it as a reward for good work or behaviour, or during a wet playtime to keep spirits up!
Handy for Multiplication Tables, Mental Maths, Lesson Reviews, On the Spot Quizzes... whatever you like.
Here’s how to play:
1. Throw the ball toward the class. One (or more people) bounce it into the air.
2. While the ball is in the air, ask a short question, “What is 4 times 4?”, or “What is the capital of Brazil?” … any question you wish.
(It can be helpful to have a list in front of you so you don’t have to think them up)
3. The class must answer the question in chorus before the ball comes down.
4. Then the ball is batted into the air again by the next person … you ask another question … and so forth.
The goal is to see how many times the ball can be batted into the air before either the ball hits the ground or a fair number of the class aren’t answering or are giving a wrong answer.
To increase the tension:
- The class only gets three tries (their goal is to break their previous best class record)
- Increase the difficulty and interest in the game by posing harder questions
- Wait until the ball is drifting down before posing a question (and thus your students have a shorter time to answer)
- Have half the class volley the ball to the other half of the class, etc.
- Introduce the idea of levels and keep making the game harder and harder.
Beach Ball Baffler could last for months!
One final note:
If anyone complains about anything, your score keeping, a classmate’s failure to hit the ball, anything (and we know someone always does!) … it automatically reduces the number of hits earned.
So, for example, the class kept the ball in the air for 10 hits … but Rick complained about Carl’s miss-hit, Glen said that Maggie never answers a question and Carole complained that the ref, you, wasn’t throwing the 'ball' properly… those three complaints reduce the score to 7 …”
This one can be a lot of fun!
It can be used effectively in nearly any subject area, with any age group and can be a great way to reinforce learning, vocabulary or key points of a lesson.
For additional change ups you might substitute a large balloon if you are in a smaller or younger classroom
Make sure you have spares for either a balloon or a beach ball! (Lose 50 points if you pop it!)
It is so easy that children could run it themselves, or even as a small group task with a balloon.
So, there you are ‘Beachball Baffler’.