Sometimes inspiration comes out of nowhere. Sometimes it comes from the clearance aisle at Walmart. I was dashing in to pick up a prescription, some cream cheese won tons and the largest bandages I could find (don't ask!). That is when I saw them. Honestly, I didn't even know what they were, but the clearance tag was calling my name.
These are cardboard clay holder stands. It turns out that these sturdy little stands hold the clay birds used for shooting practice. They are normally 6-8 bucks. Check them out here. I looked at them and knew exactly what I wanted to do! I would create a tossing game and use it in a workstation.
Next, I needed something that I could toss into it that met this criteria:1. Would fit through the holes with a moderate amount of success even for a bad thrower like me.
2. Would cause minimal to no damage to the stand, my classroom or another person. (You never know.)
3. Would be cheap and pretty. (My two favorite ways to decorate my classroom.)
I tried tennis balls and golf balls. (Right size. Too hard.) I tried some little bouncy balls. (Too bouncy.) I tried a rolled up pair of socks. (That might have been just for fun.) I also tried a few miscellaneous balls I found in the kids' rooms. Nothing was just right. This necessitated a trip to Target, The Dollar Tree, Party City and Hobby Lobby. Okay...don't tell my husband but I went to a couple of extra places just because.
What I found were these colorful Wiffle balls at Hobby Lobby. The tag says "Play Balls" and they are made of a light, durable plastic. Perfect.
Next, I painted the clay holder stand a lovely shade of purple. I added the white around the cut-outs because I wanted a little more contrast to help students aim.
I had a game in mind. Actually, I've had a game sheet made up for a game that I've used that is similar to this. I tweaked it just a little and you can download that at the end of this post. For this game, I needed to mark each circle with a note or rest value. Wanting to use this with the most grade levels possible, I stuck with quarter note, half note, dotted half note, whole note, barred eighths and a quarter rest.
Next, I added little color coding dot stickers with the note and rest values. I chose these little stickers for a couple of reasons. They are inexpensive and easy to remove or replace. Since I could imagine this game working for multiple grade levels and multiple subjects, I wanted to make sure that whatever I used was versatile. I think that with my next one I may upgrade and buy some chalkboard labels to use.
To play, students use one score sheet per team. They take turns tossing the balls into the circles that will earn them the most points. They write down the note that they hit and its value on the score sheet. At the end of the game, they tally their scores. The winner is the player that has the most number of points.
When placing this in a center and giving instructions, I think that it may be necessary to let students toss until they make it or give them at least 3 tries before moving on to the next student.
From our experimentation, about three feet away was a good distance. This provided a good amount of success, but wasn't too easy. You may find with older groups that you can get away with putting your tossing line a little farther back.
This idea could be used for a variety of subjects and activities. By simply using numbers, this activity could be used for an addition or subtraction workstation. Add the consonants b, c, f, h, p and s and have students toss and write the "-at" word family words. The possibilities are endless.