It’s Fermata Friday Blog Linky party and I’m sharing some ideas for simple games you can play with balls.

Who doesn’t love Baseball?  I’m prejudiced of course. I played on the first GIRLS hard ball team in NEW JERSEY when I was 13. I was the pitcher and loved it. I’ve found that my sports background has really helped me as a teacher. Most kids today are involved in some kind of sports and so I can relate to their experiences and share some stories and they can relate to me. It’s good for the relationships I like to build in my classroom. I also find that I can relate learning to playing sports too. Who doesn’t want to win? Who loves to play games? Most students–not all though. In this article I’m going to share some ideas about playing games in your classroom and give you some Freebie Ideas.

Want to hit a home run with your students? I think playing games is a great way to SLAM a home run with them!
Games can be simple. You don’t necessarily need to print-cut and laminate things to have a successful experience with games in your classroom, though. In fact, when I first started teaching, I didn’t do the print/cut/laminate thing because I was traveling to five schools. I wasn’t going to carry around a lot of stuff and didn’t have time to make five sets of everything-and so I made up games that I could play without too much preparation.

I purchased this ball and called him Mr. Smiley Face-not too original, but the kids laugh when I introduce him. I say something like, “Mr. Smiley face is here to help you learn some things today. He has a big smile on his face because he loves to help kids learn.” And then I talk bout respecting him and treating him nicely. I bounce him around and ask him if he likes it and of course, Mr. Smiley face nods and says that he loves for kids to play with him. This get’s the class ready for action.

Over the years, Mr. Smiley face has helped me keep the kids attention and teach them things in an exciting way. Don’t have a Mr. Smiley face? What do you have?
 Write Music Symbols, Notes, or any information you want students to have learned, on the board. If you have flash cards or posters-great use them instead. You’re creating a “Menu” of “Choices” that students can easily see and choose from. Have your students sit in a circle. Put on some music-I prefer to use classical for these activities-and ask students to pass the ball. Yes, it’s very similar to “hot potato”, except you are using Mr. Smiley face, and he doesn’t like to be punched, thrown or slapped. This explanation really get’s the giggles going. The students pass Mr. Smiley face around the circle until the music stops. Whomever has the ball, stands up. That person goes to the board and chooses from the “menu” and tells the definition or meaning of their choice.( you can also be the chooser and the student has to answer a question).
Keeping it simple, I just draw a smiley face for each correct answer and congratulate the class on the number of smiley faces they earned during the game.
You can play this game several different ways.

Here’s one variation:
(You’ll need 2 balls for this one) Divide your class into two groups. Every time the music stops each team get’s to choose from the menu and earn a point. Team with the most points wins.


Here’s another:
Place a stack of flash cards in the middle of the circle. When the music stops, a student chooses from the pile. Right answers earn points. The circle can be divided as girls vs boys or count students off and it’s odds vs. evens.
You can use this variation as a Center Activity.


And finally, here’s another one:
Place a blank staff on the board or on a piece of paper in the middle of the circle. When the music stops the student in the middle has to place a note on the staff of your choosing. You can use flash cards too, or have them place the note on the staff and then tell the class what note it is–Or…you could have notes already on the staff and a student points to one of them and gives the correct name.

See? So many choices

Don’t have a ball?  Try using bean bags instead! HERE’S A FREE PATTERN
                      Free Bean Bag Pattern and Tutorial: make a set of sturdy, leak-proof bean bags for games or sensory/pressure therapeutic activities (depending on the filling):
I like games, because they are FUN and you can teach and review, even assess MUSIC CONCEPTS.
If you don’t have a set of music flash cards, I highly recommend either finding some that are for FREE, or making or purchasing some. Having  flash cards will give you many more game and learning options.

Here my kids are using mallets instead of “baseball bats” playing one of the games I created for my store. I hadn’t cut out the cards and was experimenting with the format. This worked okay–but it’s better to cut them out and laminate. That way you can use them for more games and activities–ones you may already have in your bag of tricks.

Most importantly, I believe that students really do retain skills better when they are completely engaged in the learning experience.

HERE’S  a fun Game that I created that has Musical Terms, Symbols, Notes, Values and 8 Games.

Cute Graphics by:

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