I found these ping pong balls crammed into the back of a cupboard. I have a vague recollection of finding them when I was unpacking my classroom, but I had forgotten all about them until now! They have mainly phase 3 sounds on, which explains why I stashed them.
The children were immediately drawn to them, and within about thirty seconds they were being hurled around the classroom. I decided to channel the enthusiasm into something more purposeful. The children had to choose a sound and say it before they were allowed to throw it. There was a lot of self assessment going on, as children decided to choose another ball if they weren’t sure of the phoneme.
They also surprised me by independently deciding to keep score. The tally marks show the balls that made it into the box, and there were cross marks for ones that missed. So that’s phonics, maths, gross motor skills, hand eye coordination, turn taking, negotiating and lots of laughs all in the one game!
Best of all, after a few minutes supervision my attention was drawn elsewhere (somehow mysteriously all of the boxes had fallen off of my small shelf!) but they kept playing and encouraging each other to read the sound.
A very successful impromptu activity!