Ways To Play With Grimms Balls – 15 Wonderful Ideas
Hello, wooden rainbow balls! What can we do with you? As you will see, so many things! We love the Grimms balls because we can use them in many different ways during playtime. They are one of our favourite Grimms toys. We have them in the rainbow color palette (as we have the rainbow in that same version). Let me share with you some ideas of how to play with them.
In this post:
- About Grimms Toys
- About Grimms Balls
- Grimms balls play ideas
- How to clean Grimms toys
- Where to buy Grimms balls?
- Why we love playing with Grimms balls
About Grimms Toys
First of all, let me share a bit about the company behind these toys.
Grimms Spiel und Holz Design is a sustainable wood German manufacturer located at the foot of the Swabian Alb. They produce beautiful natural, high-quality, safe toys from alder, linden, beech, and maple wood. Each toy is uniquely hand-made with its unique footprint from nature.
When designing their toys, they say they are guided by the principles of Waldorf education and other reform pedagogical approaches such as Montessori.
About Grimms balls
These wooden balls come in a set of 6 with the primary rainbow colors: yellow, orange, red, green, blue, and purple. I loved that they came in an egg carton. We stored them there for a long time.
They are hard wooden balls. When my son was little, he did not understand that they were not bouncy balls. Therefore, I had them stored away for some time (even though they recommend them for one-year-old and above children). Now he’s 3, and he has grasped that they are not for throwing. So, as a result, we have them around again, and we love them.
Grimm’s balls play ideas
As you have probably experienced in your own home, you can do many things with them. So I’ve decided to share how we play in the hopes some ideas might inspire you or spark other ideas of your own. Some are pretty obvious, and others are not. I always think we should not discard ideas; just because they may be evident to us, it might not mean they are apparent to someone else.
I hope you will enjoy them
1- Rolling them
Of course, this might be the first thing that comes to mind when you have wooden balls: just let them roll. You can roll them on the floor, you can move them on a flat surface with different inclination levels (take a cardboard box and play with different slopes), or if you happen to have a wobbel board, it’s fun to see them go back and forth.
2- Ball runs
Now, this is a step up from just letting them roll. Ball runs are a whole new level. It is fun to create straightforward and not so straightforward creations that will allow the balls to run from a starting point to a finish line. You can pair them with many other Grimms toys like the rainbow, the semicircles, and the houses. The creations can be flat, and you have to tug the balls along or see how they go if you have a bit of inclination. Here you have some of our creations.
Online I’ve seen many ball runs created with the large stepped pyramid and the cornerstones. Unfortunately, we don’t have any of those at home, so we have not had the pleasure to experiment with those, but hopefully, someday, we will. Check online for inspiration! These are two creations from brilliant creators that I find inspiring:
3- Pretend food: ice cream
We love to pretend they are food at home (for example, fruits or ice cream). Pretending it is ice cream was an idea from my 3-year-old this summer, and I found it brilliant. He was trying to balance the ball on the cones, but of course, he was not having luck as the ball kept rolling off. So I suggested adding a wooden ring and presto! He loved it and kept doing it over and over again. He opened an ice cream shop in 10 minutes, and he was serving Grimms ball ice-creams to the whole family.
The wooden rings were some I bought from a natural wooden set on amazon, but you could also combine them with Grapat’s wooden rings, and they would work perfectly together.
4- Animal floor designs
You can use them in our animal designs as eyes or spots. Here are some ideas of animal designs where we’ve used the balls as part of the creation. It is tricky to keep them in place if you are not creating on a rug. But if you are having trouble keeping them in place, you can always use a tiny wooden ring underneath, which will keep them from moving.
If you like creating animals with the rainbow, you can check more ideas in this post.
Play some games with them. Since they are wooden and we live in an apartment with hardwood floors and neighbor’s underneath, I do not encourage games with the balls at home. But I let them play with them when we have access to a garden with grass or on a thick carpet. This way, I know we are not bothering anyone or damaging the balls or the floor. Here are some ideas of games you can play:
- Races balancing them on spoons
- Races balancing them on cones and rings (like the ice cream)
- Bowling and making a flockmen tower fall
- Ball tossing on rainbow circle targets
- Crocket: make the balls go through the rainbow arches and use the building boards as the sticks.
Stacking them is really fun and quite challenging. We used two wooden rings between balls to give them enough space so the curves would not touch. I particularly like to stack them in the order of the rainbow, but of course, any combination would look stunning. We’ve managed to stack the six balls. Can you give it a go?
The next one is a complicated one. I still haven’t mastered it, but I know it can be done. Try stacking a Grimm’s ball on a Grapat mandala cone. I’ve been told that if you look closely, the Grimm’s balls are slightly flat on one side, and that is the part you need to balance it on. It will take a lot of tries, combining balls and cones, but eventually, some people manage to succeed. I’ll let you know when I do. But still, I did want to share this challenge with you in case you want to give it a go.
For more Grapat mandala ideas you can check out this post 😉 I love them so much!
7- Color matching activities
When my children were at that point in their twos when they were learning the colors, I included them in color matching games. They are the three primary colors, and the three secondary colors combine great with many resources. Match them with the rainbow, semicircles, or mini bilibos. And not only directly but also with color groups, like which are warm colors and which are cold colors. The possibilities are endless.
8- Sensory play
Add the balls in sensory bins and let them explore with them. I’ve added them in colored themed rice bins with other elements with the same color.
9- Small world play: space
During space week, I prepared a sensory play set up for my son with black beans, astronauts, and the balls were planets. He loved it. They are the perfect complement to pretend play about space.
The balls are great to try to find answers to physics questions like:
- What happens if I drop the ball into a tray of rice from different heights?
- What happens if I drop the ball into a tray of flour from different heights?
- If I throw the ball on the sand from different angles what would happen?
- What happens if the ball rolls down a plane but with different inclinations?
- What happens if the ball rolls down a plane with the same inclination but different surfaces?
11- Clip them with giant clips
Practice some fine motor skills moving them around with giant clips. Move them from point A to point B.
12- Placing things inside & outside
In and out is one of the early concepts children learn. You can do this with the treasure basket or with any other type of container.
Learning to insert the ball in a Montessori object permanence box is a fantastic activity for little ones. It helps them work on hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, concentration, and precision. This box is aimed at children who can sit up by themselves, around 8-12 months. It can keep them entertained for long periods of time.
We once found this wooden box with elastic bands at a store in our neighborhood, and we used it a lot when my son was 10-18 months. It came with a wooden egg, but we swapped it for a ball as well. This was his first puzzle ever: how to get the object from inside. I do not know how it is called and haven’t figured it out. If you find one, I recommend it. If not, you can make it yourself with a small cardboard box and some elastic band. They’ll be entertained and concentrated longer than you might think 😉.
If you are brave enough to try this hand-eye coordination activity be my guest. I have tried and I am incapable, but maybe you’ll be more skilled than me. This is for older children or adults… we are all children at heart, are we not?
14- Connetix maze
Since we don’t have a large Connetix base, I took a tray and covered it with big and small Connetix square pieces, and designed a maze on top. I placed it on a pillow to allow them to move it around and not have to hold it (as it is quite heavy for them). It was quite a challenge and we’ll be practicing and creating more for sure!
I saw this 3 level maze by @buildingwithrainbows and it was fabulous – you have to check this out!
15- Stacking with the Rainbow
Can you balance the balls on the rainbow arches? I feel this one is accessible. You can start with one and even do them all. It can also be a fun color matching activity as well.
This is another challenge, Rainbow tower with balls! You must build a tower with a medium rainbow, but lay one edge of the rainbow on a Grimm’s ball. Not easy! I can assure you that. I’ve managed to go up to yellow – but unfortunately I was not fast enough to take the picture. I’ll keep trying though 😄
How to clean Grimms toys
This advice has been directly taken from their website:
TIP: If you want to remove dirt from our products, wipe it off with a damp cloth and a little soapy water (if necessary). Please do not place it on the heater when drying; otherwise, cracks may appear in the wood, but allow it to dry at room temperature. Please do not clean our products with disinfectants, hot water, or the like under any circumstances!
Where to buy Grimms balls?
You most likely will find them in wooden toy shops or Waldorf and Montessori-style stores. However, you might have some in your city that you can explore and will probably be captivated by everything they have in there.
If you don’t have any stores like this nearby, you can find stores online. Of course, you have Amazon, but it might not have what you are looking for, depending on the country. I am sharing other web pages I have bought from while living in the UK and Spain (some are local, but others have international deliveries). For this reason, I’m listing all in case one can be most helpful to you. Additionally, although I haven’t been there, I will recommend Australian and US stores based on their IG and IG accounts of people living there (considering their comments and opinions).
- Babipur.co.uk – You’ll find a fantastic offer of Grimm’s products, and they deliver worldwide. If your country might have issues receiving delivieries from UK because of Brexit it might be best to find an alternative.
- Oskar’s Wooden Ark – They are from Australia, but they also provide international shipping to selected countries (New Zealand; United States; Canada, Singapore & South Korea) using Australia Post.
Store with delivery in the UK
- Babipur.co.uk – You’ll find a fantastic offer of Grimm’s products, and they deliver worldwide.
Stores with delivery in Spain and Portugal
- Jugar i jugar – Their toy portfolio is beautiful. A great option if you are local with fantastic customer service. If you purchase before 2pm, you get your delivery the next day.
- mumuchu.com – Also a very nice online store; however, unfortunately only local.
Store with delivery in the USA
- Bella Luna Toys – They have a wide selection of Grimms toys. I’ve never ordered with them (I haven’t been in the US since I’ve had children), but they seem very nice, have a lovely online store, and have excellent customer reviews.
Why we love playing with Grimms Balls
It’s not like we play with them every week but they are a fantastic resource to have around. As you can see, they are very versatile and more than just some balls. You can interact with them and include them in many ways in your play. I’d say they are one of those toys that you simply must have in your toy collection as they will give you so many options to play with.