13 Throwing Games for Kids
Throwing is a fundamental part of many different activities and sports. That’s why children need to learn how to throw as soon as possible, so they can participate in these activities with their friends. Once a child has learned to throw accurately, they can begin to play many types of sports and activities including dodgeball, bocce ball and cricket. It massively increases the number of fun activities that are available to them.
However, like most mechanical skills, it does take a lot of practice to become a skilled thrower. Most children will also require some instruction from a teacher or parent before they can throw, catch, and bounce balls accurately.
One of the easiest ways to help children become proficient throwers is by having them play throwing games. They will have a lot of fun with their friends while practicing their technique and seeing how other children throw. Throwing games will also help them improve their hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, and capacity for teamwork.
To help you integrate throwing games into playtime, this guide will share 13 throwing games for kids. We’ll also offer a few tips for teaching children how to throw.
Table of Contents
- Why teach children throwing games?
- How to throw overhand
- Overhand throwing games
- How to throw underhand
- Underhand throwing games
- Football throwing games
- Throwing and catching games
Why teach children throwing games?
Here are just a few of the advantages that children obtain by playing throwing games regularly.
Throwing games improve hand-eye coordination
Developing good hand-eye coordination is an essential part of a child’s development. It allows a child to direct and control their limbs, making it possible to interact with objects in the physical world more easily.
Improves gross and fine motor skills
Fine motor skills is the coordination of small muscles, like those in the fingers and hands, with the eyes. Developing fine motor skills gives children the dexterity necessary to perform complex tasks like picking up and arranging small objects.
Gross motor skills involve whole body movement and the engagement of larger muscles like those in the core. Developing gross motor skills is essential for performing every day tasks like standing, walking, running, and jumping.
The development of both fine motor skills and gross motor skills in children is improved by playing throwing games regularly.
Throwing games introduce children to sports and PE activities
Throwing games are organized physical training sessions where children have to follow certain rules to play. This gives the children in the group an idea of what PE activities and organized sports are like. They will learn to memorize rules and follow them as they play. They will also learn about other aspects of sports like fair play and being a good sport.
Improves timing and prediction
Many children struggle with timing when they are learning to throw and catch balls. Throwing games will help them quickly develop this skill. They will also learn the physical characteristics of different types of balls, developing an understanding how how they bounce and roll.
How to Throw Overhand
Over hand throwing is a fundamental part of many activities and sports. Children need to learn how to perform overhand throws before they can play fun sports like Baseball, Cricket, Dodgeball and even Soccer (for throw-ins and goalkeeping).
There are multiple way to throw overhand. Technically, bowling a cricket ball and throwing a baseball at the batter are both overarm throws, but the technique used is very different. However, when most people think of overarm throwing, they tend to imagine a basic throw like one of the throwing styles in the video below. Here are some tips for teaching a basic overhand throw to a child:
- Have the child stand straight while facing the target and holding the ball in their dominant hand
- If they are throwing with their right hand, have them turn sideways to the target so their left arm/foot are in front and right arm/foot are behind
- Have them place their feet about shoulder-width apart
- Have the child lift their left arm so it is pointing at the target they want to hit. While doing so, they should shift their weight slightly onto their back foot.
- The child then lifts their throwing hand so the ball is near their right ear
- Finally, in a single motion, they should shift their weight forward, drop the pointing arm, twist their torso, and bring their throw arm forward to release the ball.
Overhand Throwing Games
Here are a few popular overhand throwing games to help you get started:
#1 — Sock vs cardboard target
If you are teaching a very young child to throw overhand for the first time, consider using a rolled up sock and a cardboard target. A rolled up sock is easy to handle, is unlikely to break anything and won’t roll far after being thrown. Make a cardboard target for the child to attempt to knock over. You could also use a cardboard box placed on its side with a painted target in the bottom.
#2 — Cardboard Javelin
This is an excellent game for children who are trying to learn the mechanical process of throwing overarm. To play this game, you will need:
- An empty cardboard tube
- String or twine
- An outdoor area with two objects that the string can be tied to
Start by running the string through the cardboard tube. Next, tie the string to two objects (trees work well) so it is forms a straight horizontal line with the cardboard tube running along it. Children can then grasp the cardboard tube and see how far they can throw it along the line.
This is a useful game because it helps you teach children the mechanics of throwing overarm. You will be able to show them how to place their feet, how to turn their torso and how to use their arms. They will quickly see an increase in the distance of their cardboard javelin throws as their technique gets better — and they won’t have to worry about chasing after the ball they just threw.
#3 — Beginner’s dodge ball
This is a basic version of dodgeball that can be played by young children who are just learning to throw. To play this game, you will need a fence or wall which is at least 3 or 4 meters wide, and a soft foam ball (large or small).
Have one of the children stand just in front of the fence, facing away from it. The other child stands about 4 to five meters away from the fence and is given the ball. The child with the ball must throw it in an attempt to hit the child in front of the fence. The ball can only be aimed at the legs.
The player standing in front of the fence must attempt to dodge the throw. If they succeed, they win a point. If they fail, the other player wins a point and they swap positions. The player standing in front of the fence can also catch the ball to win a point. The first player to 15 points wins! Because this is beginner’s dodge ball, make sure you use a very soft ball so no one is at risk of being hurt.
#4 — Spot On
This is a fun game ideal for children who have mastered the fundamentals of overarm throwing and have a good level of accuracy. The concept of Spot On is that two teams must compete to see who has the most accurate throwing skills. To play it:
- Two teams are formed. They can be as small as two players per team.
- A thrower is nominated for each team. The rest of the teams’s players walk onto a the playing court, where they can stand on pre-arranged poly spots (plastic markers).
- The two throwers will stand on the baseline of the court and attempt to throw the ball to the people on their team.
- If a player catches the ball, they take their poly spot and leave the court. The team earns one point for each player’s poly spot.
- The winning team is the one that clears the court of their poly spots
It’s possible to have more poly spots than players on the court. Simply use a different color for each team. Once a player catches the ball, they move onto another spot of the same color. This will extend the time of each round and is a useful option if there aren’t many players.
#5 — Monster Ball
This is a chaotic game that is a lot of fun and gives children plenty of opportunities to practice throwing. It is generally played on a basketball or netball court. The children are divided into two teams. They are each given a basket of balls of different sizes and weights.
A very large “monster ball” is place in the center of the court. The goal of the game is to throw balls at the monster ball, forcing it to move towards the other team’s side of the court. If the ball goes out of bounds while on the other team’s side of the court, your team gets a point. The smaller balls can be retrieved by players at any time, but players cannot block shots at the monster ball and cannot touch the monster ball.
Underhand throwing is usually easier for children to master. Children will be more accurate when throwing underarm and will have more control the velocity of the ball when they throw. Learning how to throw underarm will allow the children to begin playing games like bocce ball, lawn bowls, ten pin bowling and kid’s softball. Performing an underarm throw is simple!
- Have the child grasp the ball in their dominant hand
- Look at the target with both feet pointed towards it
- Swing the arm holding the ball backwards like an elephant’s trunk, then as it goes forward, release the ball. The child can also step a foot forward as they throw (the foot opposite the throwing hand).
- Remind the child to keep their eye on the target.
Underhand Throwing Games
Here are a few popular underhand throwing games for kids:
#6 Underhand beanbag throwing circuit
If you are working with children in a classroom, you can create a circuit of increasingly difficult underarm throwing challenges that they can perform. The children can gradually progress from station to station as they manage to land each throw on target.
This approach gives the kids a sense of accomplishment and they will notice their own throwing skills improving. This circuit uses small beanbags because they are easier for the children to hit the target with and they won’t roll away after being thrown. The circuit can include:
- Underarm throwing station 1
Have the children attempt to throw their beanbag at a pylon with a ball on top. Their goal is to knock the ball off.
- Underarm throwing station 2
Have the kids try to throw their beanbag into a bucket
- Underarm throwing station 3
Have the children partner up and try to successfully throw and catch the beanbag three times in a row.
- Underarm throwing station 4
Have the children attempt to throw the beanbag at a target on a wall
#7 Bucket toss golf
This game combines underarm throwing with the rules of golf. To play, you will need:
- Beanbag balls, rolled up socks or soft foam balls
- Buckets or cardboard boxes
- Pieces of cardboard or string for golf tees
Start by setting up a miniature golf course, with string for the tee and a bucket or cardboard box for the hole. Ideally, you should have at least 5 holes in your miniature golf course.
Have the participants start at the first tee and attempt to throw their beanbag ball into the bucket with as few throws as possible. The children should throw one at a time until everyone has completed the hole. If it is a larger class, they can start at separate holes and rotate around.
You can keep track of the scores on a piece of paper. The child to complete the course in the least number of throws is the winner. You can also vary the length of the holes to make the course more challenging if the children are accurate throwers.
Football Throwing Games
Once the children have learned to throw smaller balls, they can move onto move challenging games involving oddly shaped footballs. Playing with footballs is more exciting because it’s handling characteristics are much more varied and you never really know which way it will bounce when it lands on the ground.
#8 — Catching relay
This is a great exercise that teachers participants how to throw and catch footballs. It is often played on a basketball court, but marked court will be fine. To play Catching Relay:
- Divide the court into three or four segments and give each segment a point value. For example, if you divided the court into 4 segments, you could make the three segments further down the court worth 3, 5, and 7 points respectively.
- Divide the players into two teams who will stand on the sides of the first segment in a line. Each team has a nominated thrower, who stands at the baseline of the court.
- One player from each team will enter the court and stand in one of the segments. The thrower will attempt to throw them the ball. If they catch it successfully, their team gets the number of points that correspond to the segment.
- Once a ball is caught, the thrower will move onto the court and stand in one of the segments. The person who caught the ball will return to their team’s line on the side of the court. The next person in the team’s line will become the new thrower.
Throwing and Catching Games
As they children are learning to throw a ball, they should also be learning to catch one. It usually helps to start the kids on underarm throwing and catching games at first, because they will have more control over the throws and the velocity of the ball will be slower — making it easier to catch. Here are a few throwing and catching for kids that you can try:
#9 Baseball throwing and catching exercises
If you are working with children who are more accomplished at throwing and catching, you can use a baseball and baseball gloves. The children can be split into pairs and simply throw baseball to one another. You can also create a circle or square with 5-10 participants and have them throw the ball in a clockwise direction to one another. Baseballs should only be used with children who already have good throwing and catching skills.
#10 Chinese ball
This traditional Chinese game is fun and fast moving game ideal for children aged 6 and over. To begin, participants stand in a circle and one of the players is given a basketball or netball. The players must then throw the ball across the circle in the hope of surprising someone and making them miss a catch.
If a player makes a catch, the two players next to them must raise the arm that is nearest to that player. They have to hold it in the air until the player with the ball has thrown it to someone else. If a player fails to catch the ball or a neighboring player fails to raise their arm, they drop out. When the group only has 5 players left, they are declared the winners.
#11 — Underhand catch (Beginners)
This is the simplest throwing and catching exercise you can perform with a child. It is ideal for children who are 3 years and older. To play this game, you will require a soft foam ball, sock ball, or small beanbag.
Playing is simple. Start by teaching the child the catch stance. This is hands together with palms up at waist height. Stand a meter or two from the child and gently lob the ball so it lands in their hands. Tell them to concentrate on watching the ball as it sails through the air. If they are struggling, move a little closer so the ball easily lands in their hands.
Once they have caught the ball, have them throw it back to you, using an underhand throw. You will be surprised by how quickly they catch on.
#12 — Catch 5
This easy-to-learn game is ideal for children in grades 3 to 8. It is usually played on a basketball or netball court. To play Catch 5:
- Start with players spread randomly across the court
- A player from one team is g even the ball. You can rock paper scissors or flip a coin to determine which side starts with the ball
- The goal of the game is simple — to complete 5 passes to people on your team without dropping the ball and without the opposition team intercepting the ball.
- If a team manages to complete 5 passes, they put the ball on the ground and are awarded a point.
Other rules include:
- Players cannot pass the ball back and forth between two people, it must go to other players on the team
- If the opposition team intercepts the ball or knocks it down during a pass, they get possession
- If the ball goes out of bounds, the opposition gets the possession
#13 — Detective Dodgeball
This is a fun variant of dodgeball that many children enjoy more than standard dodgeball. It is suitable for children in grades 1 to 8. To play Detective Dodgeball:
- Divide the children into two teams and have them form up on either side of a basketball court
- The game begins like a standard dodgeball game. If a person gets hit they have to go to the side of the court. However, if the person who threw the ball that hit them is taken out of the game — they get to come back onto the court.
- The game continues until a winner is decided
The thing that makes Detective Dodgeball more fun is the fact that players have to memorize who has gotten other people out. So, if a player has managed to get three people out, they will become a highly valuable target. Hitting them will let your three players come back onto the court. It adds a little bit of strategy to dodgeball.
Thanks for reading 13 Throwing Games for Kids (Great for PE Class). Do you have any throwing games for kids that you love? Share them in the comments below. Make sure you check out our kicking games for kids as well.