Interested in introducing your little kid to Tennis? You don’t need to be a pro to teach them the basics. More than likely, you’re better than a 4-year-old and can be their favorite coach pretty easily!
We’ve put together some fun tennis games for kids to do right at home. These can be indoor tennis games or outdoor tennis games, either way, it’s a great way to introduce them to this fun sport! Having the right equipment can make a huge difference! If your child is just getting started, it’s important to make sure you have the right size racket, the right soft red tennis balls or balloons. Balloons are a great way to build hand-eye coordination in young kids because they have a larger surface area and fall at a slower rate than tennis balls, making it easier for kids to have success.
1. “Don’t Crack The Egg” (Perfect for ages 3-4)
You’ll need: racket, balloon or soft quickstart tennis balls
This game is like a “first step” to teaching racket and ball control to little kids who are being introduced to Tennis for the first time.Easy: Hold the racket with strings facing upwards and see if you can tap a balloon on the racket 10 times.
Medium: Put the balloon on your racket and balance on one leg for 3-5 seconds. Switch legs!
Hard: Have child hold the racket with strings facing upwards, and then have the grown up toss a balloon on the strings and see if you can tap it! Take kids steps and Keep backing up!
Make it challenging by having them walk around while balancing the balloon on their racket.
2. “Tennis Hockey” (Perfect for ages 3-6)
You’ll need: Racket, balls, cones or cups to mark goals
This game is a great way to start learning how to rally. Before kids can handle balls out of the air, let them build their hand-eye coordination with balls on the ground!
Child will hold the racket towards the ground. Grown up rolls the ball on the ground towards the racket and child has to stop it and then move the ball towards grown up and tag the grown up.
Easy: Start with just having child stop the ball on the ground with racket
Medium: Roll ball and child hit it back with racket (like in hockey!). Put one cone by the child and one by the grown up about 20 kid steps apart. See if child can score by hitting the ball past the grown up in the “goal” (past the cone).
Hard: Play the same game as above but add a few small bounces instead of just rolling the ball.
3. “Stop Sign” (Perfect for ages 4-6)
You’ll need: Racket, Red Balls
This game is a great way to teach the basics of volleying.
Show child how to hold their racket like a stop sign in front of them.
Easy: Child holds up racket in front of their head and body like a stop sign. Throw ball right to the “stop sign” and have child make sure they “tap” it
Medium: Shield game - grown up throws one ball at a time at the child, and the child uses their racket as a “shield” to stop from getting hit
Hard: Add the “tennis net” (flag net or tie a string to two poles at home) and hold the stop sign above the net and throw the ball to the racket and have child strike the ball while holding the stop sign steady.
4. “Rally Grab” (Perfect for ages 3-6)
You’ll need: Racket, Red Balls
This game is a beginning to learning how to rally.
The grown up shows how to grip a racket by picking it up as if shaking hands with the racket. Then drop the ball and trap it between hand and racket.
Easy: The child just drops the ball and learn to tap the ball lightly so it goes low to high (Drop Hit) to the grown up.
Medium: Grown up throws the ball underhand bounce to the “forehand” side and have the child catch and trap the ball on their strings.
Hard: Now try to keep it going by lightly hitting the ball low to high to the other side, catching it and trapping and then drop hit the ball back to your partner. See if you can do it 10 times in a row! Add the tennis net once you get REALLY good!
We hope you’ve found some fun tennis games to play! Our starter boxes include all these game and a lot more in the curriculum. The most important part about introducing kids to Tennis is to make it fun! They need to love the game before they have the inner motivation to play on their own. Pressuring them to play is a recipe for disaster. With young kids, it’s not about if they are hitting the ball every time or whether they have coordination yet, it’s all about having some fun and improving some basic skills which will lead to them asking you to play the next time on their own!