There are practically no limits to the games and fun that can be had with a homemade "Scoop N' Catch." Easily constructed from recycled plastic, the Scoop N' Catch is a great choice for an inexpensive, fun afternoon—and it imparts practice with gross motor skills, like throwing and catching. Your child can use it as an individual skill builder, or have fun playing with a friend. As an extra bonus, this clever activity will also reinforce her counting ability!
Wiffle ball or beanbag (tennis balls work, but may be too bouncy for some catches)
Small bucket or container
Stopwatch or wristwatch
Utility knife or scissors for cutting the container
Cotton rope as long as around child's waist (optional)
What You Do:
Thoroughly clean your bleach container until it doesn't have any remnants of bleach.
Lay the container on its side, and insert a utility knife or scissors about 2 inches from the bottom. Make your way around the container, cutting the outline of a circle and removing the bottom piece.
Now she's ready to play! With a ball or bean bag in one hand and the scoop and the other, instruct her to begin by tossing the ball in the air (not too high) and then trying to catch it. This is great for warming up!
Here are some challenges for your child:
Catch Up: Ask your child to see how many times she can catch the ball, attempting to reach a new high score each time.
Bounce N' Catch: Challenge your child to bounce the ball, and then try to catch it in the scoop.
Catch Me If You Can: Follow the above instructions to make a second scoop, and then you can play catch. A good way to start a game of catch is to stand facing the other person, and then throw the ball underhand back and forth. Each time the ball is caught by both people, they can each take one step further apart. Eventually, see if they can successfully throw and catch a number the ball a good amount of times, at a distance of about 10–15 feet apart.
On the Level: Have your child try to catch the ball at three different levels (high, medium, and low). The high level is above the shoulders, with arms stretched out. The medium level is just above the knees, but below the shoulders. The low level is below the knees. Challenge her to catch the ball in the high zone, low zone, and medium zone. Optional Math: Pick a number for two of the zones, and challenge her to try to perform the catches the specified number of times. Then, have her add up her successful catches, and try to perform that number of catches for the final zone. For example, 2 catches in the low zone + 2 catches in the medium zone = how many catches for the high zone?
Magic Catch: Cut two small holes about 3 inches apart on the sides of the container. Thread a length of cotton rope in one hole then out the other then tie it securely around the waist. With the scoop now attached at the waist level, challenge your child to catch the ball in the scoop with no hands. Try bouncing the ball and catching it with no hands!
Scoop Me Up: Spread a few balls, and maybe a beanbag or two, around a small area. Put a bucket or container about 10 feet away. When you give the word, start your stopwatch and have your child try to scoop up one ball or bag at a time, and put it in a bucket. See how long it takes to put the all of the objects into a bucket.