My husband hung up tennis balls in our garage last week so that we would know where to position our cars. Who knew this could provide such entertainment for my little guy? Shhh though... not sure how excited my husband will be about this little activity.
Materials: metal washer, staples, tennis ball, thread, and an assortment of bats and other objects to use to hit the tennis ball (see the tutorial for more specific tennis ball hanging tools).
1. Have unsuspecting husband hang the tennis balls in the garage. ;) See tutorial here. Make sure he hangs it far enough away from your car so that the ball can't hit your car (even with a big hit).
2. Send your little one into the garage (with supervision... especially if your garage has things like lawn equipment and tools your little one could mess with).
3. Have your little one try to hit the tennis ball. Encourage your child to use their creativity to come up with things to use to hit the ball. My son couldn't reach the ball with his hand, so we put some paint tarps in a pile to make him taller.
4. Keep experimenting and try out different objects to see which ones can move the ball higher, faster, different directions, etc. My son used blocks, a foam paint brush, a lacrosse stick, and a football to hit the tennis ball. We also tried throwing soft plastic balls of varying sizes at the tennis ball target to see if we could hit it.
Since my little guy came up with this activity on his own, he kept adapting it as we played. The only rule was "don't throw anything at mommy's car" :) (since dad's car was gone at work).
While you do this activity you can incorporate lots of conversation around the objects that you are using- big round ball, orange basketball, green tennis ball... and then build sentences and phrases around what you are doing. Encourage your child to try and explain what he is doing while he is playing. This activity was the highlight of our morning and a great way to get some energy out.