Amy’s Free Ideas

Seasons > Christmas > Activities for the home: Fun Ways to Celebrate Christmas > 20 Games to play with Ping-pong Ball Advent Wreath

“Games”  for Toddlers (ages 2 -3) Children this age don’t understand rules or winning, so just play with them

Blow Race

Push the ball with your nose, or blow the ball to see who can get the ball across the finish line first. A hall makes a good place to play this to keep the balls from going too far away from the goal. It’s more about a fun activity that everyone is doing together than about winning. Still, they can begin to learn the rudiments of a game by watching others say, “Yay!” when they win.

Spoon Race

Carry the balls on a spoon without dropping them. Winner crosses the finish line first with the ball still on the spoon. You may be tempted to send them back to the start if they drop the ball, but that makes it too hard for this age.

Ball Hide and Seek

Hide the 4 balls and see who can find the most balls. For young toddlers, you will need to “hide” them in plain sight. For older ones who have had practice looking for things, they can be hidden a bit harder. If you have a mix of ages, let the older kid hide the balls for the younger kids, and let each child look for all the balls rather than competing, because the older ones always find them first.

Which hand is it in?

Put a ball in your hand and ask your child to guess which hand it is in. It’s a simple game, but toddlers really like it, and will play it over and over again. This is also a great waiting room game to play with whatever object you have in your pocket or purse!

Throwing the Balls

Just throwing a ball and seeing where it goes is fun for this age. If you throw the ball in a hall, the walls keep the balls from getting lost, and it surprises the kids when the ball bounces in unanticipated directions. Variation:  Put the ball into a paper towel tube, and flick the ball out of the tube.

Roll the ball down the stairs

Roll the balls down stairs, or throw them up the stairs and watch them roll back down. If you don’t have stairs, make tracks for the balls to roll on, by cutting wrapping paper tubes in half to form chutes for the balls to roll down. Note: If you are playing on stairs, have an adult at the top to keep children from falling down the stairs. Another adult or older siblings can catch the balls at the bottom, and throw them back up, or carry them up.

Drop Ball

Place a mug  or empty tin can or similar sized container on the floor behind a chair. Each person takes turns kneeling in the chair and dropping the ball over the back of the chair into the cup. Winner gets the most balls in the mug. Spectators can help run after the balls that miss the mug and go rolling across the floor

Doggy, Doggy, who has the ball?

The person who is “it,” sits in a chair with one ball under the chair.  The others sit behind the chair and try to grab the ball without being seen by the person in the chair. The person in the chair tries to guess who grabbed the ball.

“Who’s got the button?” Alternate :

Players sit in a circle, and while “it” leaves the room, one person gets a ball. When “it” returns to the room, she tries to guess who has the ball. Traditionally the button was hidden in one hand, and both hands were held up for inspection. The ball is pretty big, and at this age, can’t be hidden in a hand. So hidden in a pocket or under a knee is just as good.

Pass the Ball Race

Each player has a paper cup to hold the ball in and are in teams of 2. The object of this game is to pass the ball to the teammate; they pass the ball back and forth till they reach the finish line. The person with the ball in his cup can’t move; he can only pass the ball. The person who doesn’t have the ball can move ahead of the other person to get the ball passed to their cup. Once they get the ball, they can’t move, they can only pass the ball.

Pop the ball

See who can “pop” the ball the highest by squeezing it in their hand till it pops out the top. Hint: make sure no fingers are holding the top half of the ball. This will take a little practice to get the hang of it. For younger players, just let them throw it up in the air when it is their turn.

Popcorn ball

An adult sits on the floor and throws the balls into the air in quick succession, like a popcorn popper with the lid off.  The kids try to catch the balls while they are still in the air. No need for a winner--this is just a fun thing to do. As soon as the ball is caught, pass it back to the adult to throw again.

Flip it

Everyone pairs up. Give each pair a pillow case or towel to hold between them--each player holds 2 corners. The ball is put in the middle of the pillow or towel. Teammates cooperate to flick the towel to flip the ball in the air and then to catch it again. Winners are the ones who keep the ball going the longest without dropping it.

Games for Pre-school and early elementary (ages 4-7)


Set up the dining room table like a ping-pong table. Use cans or boxes out of the pantry to set up the “net” in the middle of the table. If you don’t have ping-pong paddles, you can buy some at a dollar store, or improvise--use a paper plate or cut one out of cardboard. If you make it out of cardboard, just cut a circle, not the handle--it won’t be strong enough to use. A thumb hole can  make the “paddle” easier to use.

Spoon Golf

Set up a “golf course” around the house. Use empty tin cans or plastic cups on their sides for the holes to knock the balls into. Your kids may think that setting up the course is as much fun as playing the game. Use spoons as “golf” clubs. If the kids are really getting into it, let them choose different “golf clubs” (different sizes of spoons--like serving spoons or ladles, to see if they can hit the ball better.)

Croquette alternative: Set up a course to hit the balls through wickets (cans with both ends cut out.)

Ping-pong Dodge Ball

This can be as mild or wild as you want to make it. If you want it mild, stay on your knees and only keep one ball going. If you want a mad house, keep all 4 balls going at once.

The object of the game is for one team to form a circle on the outside and to throw the ball at the team in the middle. Obviously, the smallest number to do this is 3 people--2 to throw the ball, and one person in the middle. If a ball hits you, you are out. If you catch the ball, the person who threw the ball goes into the middle.

Ping-pong Basketball

Since the ping-pong ball can’t really be dribbled, it can’t be a real basketball game, but you can set up a basket and give everyone a chance to throw all 4 balls into the basket, like a dunking contest.

Basket options:

  1. 1.Someone holds their hands or arms out as a basket

  2. 2.Use a trashcan, empty box or mixing bowl to throw the balls into. Put it on a table or shelf to get it high like a basket.

  3. 3.Make a basket out of a paper cup or can with the bottom cut out.  and fasten it to the refrigerator with magnets.

Ping-pong Baseball or Cricket

This is pretty ridiculous since the ball is so tiny--no one is likely to hit it, but it can be a lot of fun trying. Use a paper towel tube for the bat, or roll up a newspaper and tape it into a roll. Decide where the bases will be--a hand towel or rag will work on carpet, but that would be too slippery on a hardwood floor. On a smooth floor, use tape to mark where the bases are, or use something that is rubbery, like a throw rug or rubber hot pad.

Boomerang Ball

Have a contest to see who can press down on a ball that is resting on a table or floor, to make it spin away, then come back again without touching the ball.

Games for older elementary (ages 8-12)

Ping-pong Soccer (football)

This is a pretty tiny ball, so play could get pretty crazy. Set up 2 chairs to be the goals. Parents may need to be referees to keep things from getting out of hand. Decide ahead of time if you will play timed halves, or if you want to play till the first team reaches a pre-determined number of goals. Also decide if you want to mark sidelines, or let the ball stay in play no matter where it goes.

Kit ‘n’ Cup-bootle

This is an ever evolving game. Each round lets the winner decide the rules for the next round. The object is to get the ball into a cup (preferably a nonbreakable one!) To start off, it can just be to drop the ball in the cup. The next round a rule could be made that you have to bounce it off a wall into the cup. The next round, the rule might be to throw it between your legs to get it into the cup, etc. etc.

Country Fair-style  Games

Set up a variety of containers to throw the balls into, or objects to try to knock over. Assign points for each challenge. Each person gets four tries for each challenge. Winner gets the most points.

Silly Job assignment

This is more of a challenge than a game. Each night when you sit down to the meal, someone grabs a ball from the advent wreath, hopefully without anyone noticing. Whoever is the last person to grab a ball has to do a chore: wash the dishes, clear the table, close in prayer, etc. Obviously you need to have one ball per person in the family, or you could have one ball less than the number of people in the family; the last person can’t get a ball because they are all gone, so the person without a ball is the one who has to do the pre-arranged job/activity. If this catches on, and it is a lot of fun, you can have a different responsibility every night, and sometimes mix in fun things like getting a treat.

Monkey in the Middle

Two people throw the ball back and forth, and the people in the middle try to intercept it. If someone in the middle catches it, they trade places with the person who threw the ball.