Ball Toss Race

  1. Cooperative Games
  2. Icebreaker
  • Any Size

  • Grades 1-2

  • Tennis Balls

  • Less Than 10 minutes

Development Goal

To combine physical and verbal skills to enhance awareness, learn everyone’s names.

Before You Start

  • Have the group get into a circle and have one or more balls (appropriate size for throwing and catching) ready.
  • Go around the circle allowing everyone to say their name so that the others can hear.

Set Up

Designate a space for the group and one or more balls that can easily be thrown/caughtbean bags, tennis balls, dodgeball or other.

How to Play

  • The leader begins by throwing, rolling or bouncing a ball (depending on the age and skill level) to another player while saying the other person’s name loudly. Explain that it is very important to remember who you have passed the ball to.
  • Keep passing the ball around the circle so that everyone has received the ball one time. You can have players sit down or cross their arms once they have received the ball, so make sure nobody gets it twice.
  • When the last person gets the ball have them pass it back to the leader.
  • Now without the ball and in the same order, have each player say outloud who they will pass the ball to so that the pattern of the ball’s movement is established.
  • Once everyone remembers who to pass to, try again with the ball and see how fast they can go.
  • After trying a couple times, ask the group:
    • Who has an idea for how to get the ball to everyone more quickly?
    • What do you think about adding a second ball?
    • Shall we time ourselves and then try to beat our time?
  • Allow the group to try again with their new ideas. Debrief the game by asking:
    • What do you think this game teaches? Is it fun?
    • Can you think of anything that would make this game better?


  • To make the game more challenging, add more balls and balls of different sizes.
  • For lower-skilled players try Catch and Throw Style (PK-2)
    • Have the players form a circle around the leader.
    • The leader can then pass the ball to each player in the circle.
    • When the player catches the ball everyone in the class yells out their name.
    • Go around in a circle until everyone has a turn, then randomly pass the ball and see how fast they can go.