Activities & Games

Drop It, Catch It
Kindergarten-5th Grade

Allotted Time

10-20 minutes

Target Behavior

Stay calm when faced with a challenge

Words to Live By

Life's full of surprises that make me feel different ways. If I can control myself, I'll have much better days.
Understand that life is full of surprises and different feelings

Children who understand that life is full of surprises and different feelings can:

IDENTIFY factors that cause stress

DESCRIBE how various situations make them feel

RECOGNIZE mood changes and factors that contribute to them

REFLECT on the possible consequences before expressing an emotion


Students control themselves and practice staying focused in a ball game.


  • Ball

How to Play

  1. Have students stand in a circle.
  2. Pick one student to be in the center of the circle. The student in the middle holds a ball and tosses it underhand to other group members.
  3. The trick is the student instructs others to either drop it or catch it, but the student receiving must do the opposite.
  4. When the middle person says, “drop it” the student must actually catch the ball, and when the middle person says, “catch it” the student must not catch it and let it bounce off them back to the person in the middle.
  5. If the person the ball was tossed to doesn’t do the opposite of what the middle person says, then they must go down to their knees for one round. After one round the person can stand up.
  6. After the middle person gets a student to mess up, pick a new student to stand in the middle and be the ball tosser.
  7. This can continue for as many rounds as time permits, preferably allowing each student a chance to be the middle tosser.

Activity Prompts for Reflection

  • How difficult was it for you to control yourself and do the opposite of what the ball tosser said?
  • When was it difficult for you to control yourself during this activity?
  • What emotion did you feel when you messed up?
  • What was difficult to control when you were the ball tosser?

Other Ways to Play

  • The leader should be the middle tosser for the first few rounds until students get the hang of the rules.
  • The middle person can also say the student’s name that they are throwing it to.  This will reduce confusion about who the ball is meant for.
  • Add in a third command of “in air” and if this command is used,  the student must do the opposite and let the ball bounce once before catching it.

Additional Notes


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