Roundness tends to naturally inspire joy and delight in us. In your live Tinkergarten session, kids will joyfully play with an all-time favorite round material—bubbles! The rest of this guide offers easy ways to help kids hunt for joy all week long!!

If you want to expand on bubble play, make your own bubble juice and even your own bubble wands!

To continue the joy at home, set the stage for play with another round, joy-making object...balls! Here’s how:

The Guide

Set Up

  1. Gather as many round objects as you can. Include balls of different sizes and textures, marbles, round fruit, bowls, hats, wheels—you name it!
  2. Gather a few containers of various sizes (hoop, bucket, laundry basket, bowl or box with a large hole cut out).

Explore joy: Read or watch the read-aloud of Round by Joyce Sidman and Taeeun Yoo. Then, wonder aloud, “Do you remember the joy you felt at Tinkergarten when you played with the round bubbles? There are so many things that are round. Can you think of something that is round?” Remember examples from the book. Wherever you are, look for round things. Enjoy hearing your child’s ideas.

Head outside to hunt for round, smooth or curvy things. Talk about the joy you feel when you encounter them! You can also gather round toys and balls into a container and present it. Hooray for round things!

Guide Play

Play ball! Place a container or two (e.g. bucket, bowl, laundry basket) on the ground. Then, take a ball yourself and toss it into the container. Welcome your child to try. Continue taking turns back and forth for a while.

Then, on one of your turns, change the action, or add another item into the mix. Maybe you hold the hoop or bucket up in the air and throw the ball through or into it. Maybe you say something silly as you toss.

When your kiddo seems ready to take the lead, give up one of your turns and ask them to invent a new challenge for you to try. Just have fun interacting with balls!

Extend Play

Dump the balls! One of the most joyful things for kids to do is to dump out the contents of a container— especially when that container holds round things that roll and bounce as they fall. Fill a container with balls, then count down and dump! Enjoy watching and chasing the balls after you do. Repeat and repeat.

Messy backyard. Sit opposite from one another with some space between you. Start out with two or more balls each. Then, start to roll or toss them back and forth, trying to keep the balls OUT of your side. It can get really silly! Add more balls for more challenge, too!

Marble art! Take the lid off of an empty bin or box. Tape a piece of paper to the bottom. Then, squirt some paint along the paper. Place a few marbles or other small balls in the box and tip the box this way and that, watching the ball track the paint in many different directions. Wash off the marble, put fresh paper and repeat with new pieces of paper.

Why is this activity great for kids?

Science has shown us that there are patterns to what make us feel joyful, including bright colors, stirring music, time in nature and things that are round. Playing with balls is a perfect entry point to inspire joy and experimentation. 

Although joy is something that we experience in the here and now, and may last mere moments, it impacts our bodies and our minds in lasting ways. Every time kids experience joy, the pathways in their brains that are dedicated to feeling this positive emotion grow stronger. The more our kids learn where to find joy, the more they can benefit. Read more.

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