Crack out the strawberries and cream, and dust off your posh hat, the Wimbledon tennis championships are upon us. Yes, it’s that time of year again where Great Britain turns tennis mad for two weeks.
From July 1st to 14th, the greatest tennis stars will grace the grass courts at Wimbledon to compete for the most prestigious tennis award in the world, and inspire lots of young people to pick up their first tennis racket and take to the courts. It’s an excellent sport that helps develop lots of key skills, particularly honing in on hand-eye coordination. It’s also a great way to get fit.
To celebrate the Great British institution that is Wimbledon, we’ve come up with a few ways your kids can get engaged in all the fun. You can download a free printable activity sheet to keep the kids busy when a match inevitably gets rained off, and Cliff Richard rolls out to keep morale up. Plus, we’ve delved into the toucanBox archives from a few summers ago where Mark, our lead designer, showed off his skills as a previous tennis coach and taught the team a few trick shots to help develop some great fine motor skills.
If there’s one thing that can get in the way of a nail-biting tennis match it’s - sigh - the Great British weather. To make it a little easier to keep the energy up, we’ve made an activity sheet you can download for free, to use on a tablet or print it out and doodle all over it. And, of course, it’s all about Wimbledon.
A few summers ago at toucanBox HQ, we decided to throw on our whites and take to the local park to show off our skills. Or embarrass ourselves in public (it all depends on your definition).
Mark Allen is our fantastic designer, but also has several other secret skills hidden up his sleeves. One of them is that he used to be a tennis coach in his younger days. So to celebrate the start of Wimbledon, he challenged us to a series of tennis trick shots.
And he’s challenging you, too. So grab a racket, a tennis ball and find an open space to see how many you can master. And remember, practice makes perfect.
First things first, get the ball bouncing at a regular pace on the strings of the racket. Got it? Now, each time, using your other hand, pass it under the ball as it bounces in the air. How many can you do? Steve did… well, not that many.
Between each regular bounce, instead of using your racket to keep the ball up, use a body part. Start with your knees or head, and then experiment. How about your shoulder, or nose? Fiona made it look so easy.
Now we’re getting a little tricky. Bounce the ball on the rim, shout “FISH!”. Bounce it on the strings. “AND!”. Then bounce it on the rim again. “CHI… oh it fell on the floor. Again.”
The ball is the world, and the racket is the moon. I think. Bounce the ball up and see if you can orbit it before you bounce it up again.
And here we go, the grand finale. Bounce the ball up in the air, put the racket through your legs, and keep the ball in the air. Fiona became a master of it in mere seconds. And now she’s playing internationally.
We’d love to see your creations, so why not share them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #toucanBox. Our favourite snaps could feature in the next issue of toucanBox Magazine!