Child care centers use various play equipment to encourage youngsters to socialize while building their gross and fine motor skills. A gaga ball pit, for example, is one staple at child care facilities that has origins that date back to 1970s-era summer camps. Here’s more about the history of the pit and why kids enjoy it.
What a Gaga Ball Pit Is & Where It Came From
A gaga ball pit is an octagonal enclosure, approximately 20 feet in diameter and 24 to 36 inches tall. The enclosed gate is used as the playing court for gaga ball—a form of dodgeball that originated in Israel.
In the 1970s, Israeli counselors introduced the game in the U.S. at summer camps. Although originally made of wood, the structures used in child care centers today are often inflatable to provide cushioning when balls and players make contact with the walls.
Why Gaga Ball Pits Are Popular at Child Care Centers
Similar to dodgeball, the objective of gaga ball is for players to throw foam balls at each other to strike other players out. Players must run and jump to avoid getting hit.
The game helps kids improve their hand-eye coordination, agility, and spatial awareness. The constant movement also strengthens arm, core, and leg muscles.
The inflatable pits can also be used as multipurpose play areas at child care centers. Kids can play with toys in the enclosure or it can be filled with smaller foam balls to create a ball pit.
To give your youngster the opportunity to participate in activities that aid early childhood development, reach out to A Rising Star Children's Center in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. With over 30 years of child care experience, the instructors offer infant, toddler, and preschool programs designed to enhance the social, emotional, and cognitive skills of kids in the Westchester County area. Visit the learning center online for program details, or call (914) 862-4283 to discuss enrollment.