By: Laura Petix, MS OTR/L

I was introduced to “the real” Bocce ball when I was attending an outdoor wedding in San Diego. I was not very good at this game, but could not help but think at how “OT” this game was. Not only did it call on hand eye coordination for throwing, it definitely required some refined graded force.

If you need a quick introduction to graded force, you can read a little more about it and a long list of activities here. 

Why bocce ball works on graded force

The object of this game is to throw an object (in the real game, its usually a heavy weighted ball) as close to a target as possible, without surpassing it.

If you pass the target, you don’t get a point (I don’t think this is the case with “real” bocce ball- but you can find out the official rules if you’re interested here). I use this rule to encourage students to throw just right.


I’m creating this from #quarantineland so you know these are easy to find materials around any household (or clinic).

  1. Any household object that has some weight and can be thrown (if you have bean bags, these are best): I used rolled up socks and stuffed animals that were similar sized.
  2. At least 2 different looking targets that won’t be knocked over. I used a pickle jar and a can of corn. The more targets you have, the more challenge you can add.

How To

  1. Space out the 2 targets (but try to place them in a straight line)
  2. Give the player their throwing objects.
  3. Call out one of the targets (e.g pickle jar or corn) for the player to aim for. They are trying to throw their object as CLOSE to the target as possible, without surpassing it.
  4. Added challenge: Before each turn, throw the player the object and they have to catch it before they play.


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Laura Petix, MS OTR/L

I’m an enneagram 6, so my brain is constantly moving. My OT lenses never turn off and I can’t “un-see” the sensory and other developmental skills that go in to literally every activity. I love taking what I see and breaking it down into simple terms so parents can understand what goes into their child’s behavior and skills.

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