Things to do with your children
June 20, 2013 posted by littlewhitecottage

Spontaneous fun… (alternative uses for an exercise ball)

The boys insisted on a picnic tea yesterday so out came the picnic blanket and we sat down having our tea in the gloomy humid afternoon that was a typical summer’s day of 2013. Once they’d finished they ran round the garden for half an hour or so and then it all went quiet…

I looked up from painting a project that I’m working on to hear giggling and laughing and then Tobes appeared with the giant exercise ball. He said ‘look what I found!!!’ and then proceeded to jump on it…

ball 7

Of course he rolled off it and landed with a thud on the floor at which point I thought ‘Should I stop him?’ and then realised that this was just the sort of fun that I want them to have; experimental and led by them. I did want to take a few photos though as a sort of justification and for evidence should they really hurt themselves and a visit to A&E was needed as the one thing I know is if you have children and especially boys, they can do the craziest things sometimes that really don’t make sense. One example of this is when I noticed that the boys were quiet (again) upstairs and when I called them Ollie came down and I asked him what the others were doing and he said ‘Stuffing toilet roll into their bums and wagging their tails pretending to be dogs…’ oh yes, boys can do spectacularly stupid things under the guise of ‘fun…’

Hen soon joined in with the exercise ball play and they both had a great time rolling the ball between them. I think Henry was trying to bowl Tobes over as he had a very determined look in his eye.

ball 6

Tobes had a go at picking it up

ball 5

and then throwing it.

ball 4

Which is no mean feat when you’re 3 and a bit little. It’s light enough that he can, just about, but heavy enough for it to be a challenge.

He then tried to balance on it -he’s much better than I’ve ever been with it!

ball 8

Hen and Tobes then tried to kick it but as it was quite large it hurt their toes so they wanted to find another way. They sat down and pushed it with their legs.

balls 3

This was great for Henry as his calf muscles aren’t so developed as his height would have you believe they should be and he’s only just recently become comfortable with running.

When Ollie came home the ball was then used in a light sabre battle with it being rolled and hit as it alternated between a defence and attacking weapon. Eventually Ollie used it as a large football with the other 2 boys chasing him which was okay for about 5 minutes but when the fun of chasing your brother round the garden with the toy you were actually playing with the fun suddenly wore off.

ball 1

We’ll definitely get this ball out again though as the younger 2 boys really played well together. There was collaborated play, conflict resolution, (well, with my children children even being in the same room can create this!) experiments with: balancing, rolling, jumping, kicking, pushing, throwing, catching. This was great for hand eye coordination, gross motor skills and learning about the properties of a very large sphere (or ‘Sa-fear’ as I’ve often heard it called when teaching little children). The vocabulary and language development was great too ‘It’s squashy/big/HUGE!!!!/bouncy/heavy/thick etc ect. I loved listening to them talk to each other about what they were going to do, what they thought about what they’d tried and whether they could improve on each others ideas.

All in all a fab ‘toy.’ Yes it might break but then so could any of their toys if I really let them have a go! The lawn is very soft and springy so it did it’s job in breaking many a fall yesterday afternoon but there was the problem with Oliver bowling that much older that he could kick it and could kick it quite far. This immediately upset the other boys as they couldn’t keep up with him. To help with this I’m thinking that I’ll look out for one at a car boot sale so we can have 2 out at the same time. Just imagine what they could get up too with 2 balls being rolled, kicked, pushed, thrown around the garden! Then again, I am just imagining all that they can get up to, but at least they can’t stuff the exercise up their bums and pretend to be dogs…

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