Icebreakers: Ball Toss Race

Sep 10, 2014

Group size: 5-50

Length of Activity: 5-10 minutes

Goal: To combine physical and verbal skills to enhance awareness, and learn everyone’s name

Equipment Needed: 2-4 balls (appropriate size for throwing & catching)

Before you Start:

  • Have your group get into a circle 
    • If you have more than 30 people, make 2 circles
  • Go around the circle and have everyone introduce themselves and say their name

How to Play:

  • The leader begins by throwing, rolling or bouncing a ball (depending on the age and skill level) to another player while saying that person’s name loudly. Explain that it is very important to remember who you have passed the ball to.
  • Keep passing the ball around the circle so that everyone has received the ball one time. You can have players sit down or cross their arms once they have received the ball, so make sure nobody gets it twice.
  • When the last person gets the ball have them pass it back to the leader.
  • Now without the ball and in the same order, have each player say out loud who they will pass the ball to so that the pattern of the ball's movement is established.
  • Once everyone remembers who to pass to, try again with the ball and see how fast they can go.
  • After trying a couple times, ask the group:
    • Who has an idea for how to get the ball to everyone more quickly?
    • What do you think about adding a second ball?
    • Shall we time ourselves and then try to beat our time?


  • To make the game more challenging, add more balls and balls of different sizes.
  • If you have more than 30 players, split into two teams
    • Have teams race each other to see who can get done first
    • Enforce penalties for balls that are dropped or throwing it to the wrong person
  • For younger players, try the simpler Catch and Throw Style (PK-2)
    • Have the players form a circle around the leader.
    • The leader can then pass the ball to each player in the circle.
    • When the player catches the ball everyone in the class yells out their name.
    • Go around in a circle until everyone has a turn, then randomly pass the ball and see how fast they can go.