Wednesday, February 13, 2013

25 Things to Do with a Toddler on a Racquetball Court

25 Things to Do with Toddlers on a Racquetball Court

Recently my husband and I rejoined our local YMCA. I have a full gym at work (which might I add is pretty amazing) so I didn’t think we would need the membership anymore. However, this winter has proven that while I might work out over my lunch hour, my toddler needs somewhere to run that isn’t muddy or snow ridden. 

When my husband and I were dating, we used to play racquetball a couple times a week. He usually would beat me miserably, but it was a fun way to spend time together. Then I started law school, we got married and then pregnant and we stopped playing. We would wistfully say we should start playing again and then go on with our lives. Our YMCA has a racquetball court, and I look forward to having “dates” where we can put the kids in childcare and play. However, that doesn’t solve our hyperactive toddler problem.

The racquetball court at our Y isn’t used often. I know that isn’t the case at many fitness centers, but we’re lucky that it’s pretty easy to reserve a court. A racquetball court is the perfect place to contain a toddler. There’s a door without a handle. She can scream and be crazy and not bother a basketball game. We can have a little family time on the court prior to putting her into childcare. 

So, what do you do with a toddler on a racquetball court? We have started to invent different games (and use old ones) to keep her moving and entertained. I thought I would share in case you’d also like to run your child until they lay on the court to take a nap (yes, this has happened). We have our own racquets and balls, but usually you can rent them with the court, so make sure you get a ball at least. Our daughter likes to hit the ball with the racquet as well.

1. Toddler Racquetball: Hit the ball off the wall so it will get plenty of bounces and aim in the direction of your little one. My daughter loves to hit the ball even if she ends up swing at it like it’s a golf ball. 

2. Go Fast: Our daughter loves to “go fast” which means she loves to “race” (although she’s nice enough to slow down for you so you cross the finish line together). She likes to yell “Ready, set, go!” as well.

3. Ready set throw!:  Much like our “go fast” game. We each have a ball (or she at least does) and we yell “ready, set, throw” and race to pick up our balls. 

4. Balance Beam: Using the lines on the court, we walk on the line like it’s a balance beam. Extra points if you do leaps or spins.

5. Alligator: Using the lines on the court, one person stays in the “river” as the “alligator,” and you have to try to run past without getting caught by the “alligator.”

6. Hit High: Not exactly sure why this is so much fun, but my daughter loves when you hit the ball super high on the wall. She then chases after the ball so you can hit it high again.

7. Twirl: Throw the ball in the air and see how many times you can spin around before it hits the ground. Extra points if you catch the ball before it hits the ground.

8. Dance Party: I like to think the court is like a gymnastics floor and you are doing passes from each corner. We skip, leap, hop and gallop across the floor.

9. Tag: This is an oldie but a goodie. There’s also different forms of tag…freeze tag, reverse tag etc.
10. Long jump: Using the line on the court, see how far you can jump away from it.
11. Red Light, Green Light: Another play classic. My toddler is still learning the game…but it’s pretty cute to watch her try to figure it out.

12. Marco Polo: Since a toddler doesn’t quite understand the concept of the game, I like to just pretend to cover my eyes (while still being able to see) and chase after her. She thinks it’s funny that I can’t “find” her.

13. Catch: A racquetball ball is a nice “softer” ball to play catch with. It’s also nice to show her how to dribble it.

14. Balance Ball: I put the ball on the racquet and have her try to keep the ball on the racquet. If I’m doing it myself, I bounce the ball up and down trying to keep it from falling on the ground.

15. Ring around the Rosie: My daughter will play this game all day long if you let her (especially if daddy is doing it with her). 

16. Spinning: I don’t know why, but kids like to spin. I used to do it as a kid (I remember holding hands with friends and just spinning until we fell over). So, I let her spin and gingerly do it myself (people must be more acceptable to motion sickness the older they get). 

17. Boot Camp: It’s more of a copying game, but I will do things like jumping jacks, push-ups and things of the like with her.

18. Tickle Monster: Like spinning, kids like to tickle! We often play this at home, but we sneak up and tickle people. If my daughter is even a little bit tired, she giggles so hard you’re pretty sure she’s going to pass out.

19. Nemo: We are on a Nemo kick at our house. I will put my arms to my side like fins and we’ll swim around the court like it’s the ocean. Extra points if someone is the shark.
20. Keep Away: This is a game we play if two adults are present. 

21. Boccie: Using two balls (or a racquet), throw the ball and try to hit (or get as close as you can to) the other ball or racquet.

22. Stop that Ball: Roll the ball down the court and try to stop it before it touches the other wall.

23. Ball Head: Balance the ball on your head and try to make it across the court….pretty hard but fun. It’s also fun to hold the ball with your elbows.

24. Jump the River: Another jumping game involving the lines on the court. Try to jump over the “river” they create.

25. Waddle: Walk the lines with a leg on each side of the line. Don’t touch the line and keep your knees straight. Extra points for penguin noises.

Anything else you can think of?

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