Catching cups

3-5 years
Child Development
Pretend play; predicting
Plastic cups and tennis balls (or plastic balls approximately the same size)
Physical Activity

Developing movement skills (hand-eye coordination); developing social skills (taking turns and working together); active play

How to Play
  1. In a large space, roll one ball per child (one at a time) across the room.
  2. The children chase their ball and trap it under their cup.
  3. Once the ball is caught, the children can throw it again, or bring it back to the instructor to be thrown/rolled again.
Change it up / Alternatives / Additional Options
  • With younger children, start by sitting on the ground across from the children. Roll the ball gently toward each child for them to trap and roll back.  Sit on the ground with legs in a ā€œVā€ shape to help control the ball and ensure success.
  • Have the children play in partners ā€“ throwing and catching the ball in the cup with one another.
  • Have the children pretend that the ball is an animal (bird, mouse, bunny, etc.) and they must catch the animal, give it a pet and set it free.
  • This game can be played in small spaces by having the children catch not more than two at a time and by rolling the ball instead of throwing it.
  • Children with mobility limitations can play sitting on the ground across from their partner. 

Safety tip: Throw all the balls (one at a time) in the same general direction to help the children run in the same patters as each other. This will help to avoid collisions.  The bigger the space, the better.

Adapted by Healthy Beginnings 2-5