- a ball
- a portable volleyball net that can be placed low to the ground, colored tape or chalk
- a coin
Objective: Children will gain an understanding of team spirit and cooperation as they develop gross-motor skills.
Prepare: Newcomb is a fun and easy sport, similar to volleyball but more appropriate for young children. It can be played on the playground or in an indoor gymnasium. Before teaching the game, ask children if anyone has ever played volleyball or newcomb. Encourage children to share their experiences.
1 Mark off a playing space about a third the size of a volleyball court. Then place a low net in, or draw a line across, the center. If possible; draw or mark off an outline of the court so children can see the boundaries of play.
2 Divide children into two teams. Ask each team to line up on opposite sides of the court. Explain the following rules: A child from one team throws the ball to the other team. Anyone on that team can catch the ball, but the ball has to be caught before it touches the ground. (You might also start off by saying that children can catch the ball on one bounce.) The person who catches the ball quickly throws it back to the other side. The action is repeated, and children on each team take turns throwing the ball until someone misses or the ball goes out of bounds. (In either of these situations, the toss then goes to the other team.)
3 Toss a coin to determine which side begins and let the child standing first in line start the game. Points are earned when the opposing team drops or misses the ball.
Tip: In newcomb, the game is over when one team gains 21 points. To deemphasize winning and losing, try playing very short games (5 points), keeping skill balance in mind as you form groups and encouraging children to help one another out during play.
Kindergartners may enjoy incorporating additional rules. So, after children have become comfortable playing the game, explain that the child who throws the first ball will continue to throw it until someone from her team misses or throws the ball out of bounds. At that point, the ball is turned over to the other team. The first player in line on that team starts throwing for his side, and the same rules apply. When the ball goes back to the other team, players rotate their spaces with the child who has already thrown the ball. They move to the end of the line, and everyone moves up one space. (These rules are one step closer to the advanced game of volleyball.)
Here are some fun and informative books about athletics.
Allie's Basketball Dream by Barbara E. Barber (Lee & Low)
Ball Park by Elisha Cooper (Greenwillow)
Soccer Game! by Grace Maccarone (Scholastic Inc.)