We have been working on throwing and catching in 1st and 2nd grade.  This creative story and game made practicing the skills fun.


Make a big rectangle using cones or poly spots.  This is the ship.

Throw 8-10 hula hoops around the ship — about 4 paces away.

Place a bin of soft yarn or foam balls on the “ship”.

I had all the students sit in the cone box for a story.  I told them they were on a ship, but in a minute a big storm was going to hit and most of them would be knocked off.  They would need to swim quickly and climb on an iceberg (hula hoop) because the water around them was full of hungry sharks.  I demonstrated that those sailors still on the ship would need to save their friends by throwing them a life preserver (yarn ball).  If the ball is caught you can reel your friend in with the imaginary rope tied to the life preserver.  If the ball is not caught, it must remain in the water.  I note that the water also has some friendly and brave dolphins who will retrieve the lost life preservers and bring them back to the ship.

I then send all the students to stand in a hoop (several can stand in the same one).  I then designate 3-4 children to stay on the ship and be rescue sailors and 3-4 to be dolphins.  The sailors then begin tossing balls to their friends in the hoops.  Once these students are pulled on board they can help with the rescuing.  The dolphins run around and retrieve lost balls so the ship doesn’t run out.  You can add a timer, if wanted, and see if all our friends can be rescued in one minute before their ice berg melts.

The children love the imagination of the game as well as getting lots of throwing and catching practice.  A round just takes about a minute, then I scattered them in hoops again and start over.  They loved it!