Down, Down, Down – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Down, Down, Down

This two-person activity is a variation on the game of catch—with penalties for dropping the ball. If the ball is dropped during this game of catch, children have to drop down, making themselves less agile, and harder to catch the next ball! This activity helps children learn how to face increasing obstacles and problem solve.

Materials Required

  • One tennis ball per two-person group


1. Stand 10 steps apart from a partner. Face a partner and start tossing the tennis ball back and forth, trying not to drop it.

2. When a player drops the ball, they must go down to the ground on one knee and then continue catching and throwing from that position.

3. If a player drops the ball again, they must kneel down on both knees.

4. Each time a player drops the ball, they lose ability to use part of their body. This means adding one elbow, then two elbows, and finally their chin.

5. If play proceeds without anyone dropping the ball, take a step back each time you make a clean catch to make it more of a challenge.

Additional Tips

Try these activity variations:

  • On a hot day, use a water balloon instead of a tennis ball!
  • Use a much larger ball! The activity increases in difficulty due to limited movement.

Links to Creativity

Sometimes, the best way to practice creativity doesn’t involve creating anything in particular. This activity is a great opportunity to counter increasing obstacles and constraints with creativity, or what could be called problem solving. Each additional hindrance that is added when a player drops the ball increases the difficulty of the activity and demands great skill.

Supporting research includes:
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997). Finding flow: The psychology of engagement with everyday life. New York: Basic Books.

Stokes, P. D. (2005). Creativity from constraints: The psychology of breakthrough. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Stokes, P. D. (2007). Using constraints to generate and sustain novelty. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts1(2), 107-113.


This activity was contributed by KaBOOM! For more information and resources, see


Down, Down, Down

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