Skills: Children will develop eye-hand coordination as they play this tossing game.
- Foam balls or beanbags
- A plastic one-gallon jug with handle for each child
- Masking tape
- Pictures of elephants (optional)
In Advance: Ask families to donate clean one-gallon jugs such as those used for milk, juice, and bottled water. Cut off the bottom two inches of each one. Tape over any rough edges using masking tape.
- Before you begin this game, talk with children about how elephants use their trunks. Show pictures, if you have them.
- Invite children to use their bodies to show how elephants move.
- Go outdoors and teach them how to play "Elephant Toss." Offer each child a prepared gallon jug. Then, help them divide into pairs or groups of three, and offer a foam ball or beanbag to each group.
- Encourage children to pretend they are elephants at play by holding the jugs with both hands and keeping their elbows straight as their partners throw the beanbags. The "elephants" will try to catch the beanbags in the plastic jugs.
- If the beanbags fall, children can use the same motion to pretend to be elephants scooping the bags from the ground.
- Once the children understand the game, step back and let them play independently. As they improve their aim, suggest that they move further apart from their throwing partners. Pairs or small groups might also like to join together and play the toss game in a circle.
For younger children: Invite children to begin this activity by using buckets with wide openings as receivers of the beanbags they toss from close range. After a time, children might want to attempt to work with the jugs.
For older children: Draw an outline of an elephant on the pavement. Give children the opportunity to toss the beanbags onto various "elephant targets." For example, say: "Try to toss the beanbag onto the elephant's ear/foot/tail/trunk."
Observations: Which children toss the beanbags into the buckets with ease? Which children have some difficulty? Which children appear to need help with gross-motor/fine-motor skills?
Place buckets with pictures of different animals placed on the fronts of them in your outdoor play space. Imitate the sound of one of the animals pictured on the buckets. Have children try to toss a beanbag into that bucket. Continue the game, encouraging children to listen carefully to the animal sounds in order to know which bucket to toss their beanbag into.
Eukee the Jumpy Jumpy Elephant by Cliff J. Corman
Richard Scarry's Polite Elephant by Richard Scarry
The Right Number of Elephants by Jeff Sheppard