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Blog Ambassadors Mix It Up On the Tennis Court

Throughout the year we'll hear from eight bloggers as they share about their family's time in the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience® and how it inspires them to explore these sports back at home. 

This post was written by Children's Museum Blog Ambassador Jessica Nunemaker. Follow her posts on the blog or follow her at Little Indiana on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.  

You've played tennis at the Riley Children's Health Sports Legends Experience. But did you know you can bring it back home with you? Okay, so you can’t bring the court home, but you can brush up your game anywhere. Our oldest son loves tennis. When we can’t visit the museum and play all the things, or when we are home and not traveling for Little Indiana, we hit the park and focus on our tennis game. So far, my husband and I can hold our own pretty well. Instead of always playing a straight game, it’s nice to mix it up sometimes.

There are many reasons to play tennis. The Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience® makes a great introduction to the sport for any unfamiliar players.

There are two tennis games that are easy to play and heaps of fun. They improve your agility on and off the court. You won’t believe the workout—you can totally skip the gym that day. Best of all, you don’t need to be a tennis star. Even beginners will love these games. You can tweak the rules for new or advanced players to help level the field.

 This game of tennis did not occur at The Children’s Museum. These games are easy to pick up and play anywhere. 


Everyone lines up at one end of the tennis court. You have to hit within the boundaries of the doubles court on the other side of the net when serving. It must bounce once as usual. But...

  • ...If someone else catches the ball before it bounces, you are out.
  • ...If you serve beyond the boundary line, you are out.

But don’t worry, you might find your way back into the game. Run over to the other side of the net sans racquet. Then? Try to catch the tennis balls headed your way. If you can catch a ball before it bounces, you are in! If you catch a ball after the bounce, the server is safe.

The person who served the ball you caught? Yeah, she or he is now out.


  • If you would rather work on your forehand or backhand, switch it out. 
  • Some rules allow everyone who was out to rejoin the game if someone catches the ball.
  • Have a new player? Give them a chance. Let them have three chances.
  • Watch out for the extra tennis balls everywhere. Ousted players can roll them out of the way. 

Around the World

Two equal lines of people stand on each side of the tennis net. Someone who can control their throw stands by the net post in the middle of the play space. He or she chucks the ball to one side. 

  • The player up next has to hit the ball to the other side within the boundary lines. The other person then hits the ball back. 
  • If he or she succeeds, you keep going. If not, the player loses one life. You get three lives. 
  • Once you lose your third life. You have to set your racket down and watch from the sidelines. 

When the group is down to the last two people, they will not switch sides. Instead, they have to spin around in a quick, full circle before hitting the return shot. 

They will hit back and forth, spinning around each time, until it bounces twice or goes out. 


  • New players could receive more lives. Advanced players could receive less (or some variation).
  • Players could also move to the next empty court and practice. But--this one is particularly fun to watch!
  • There are many variations to this game. Get creative and develop your own.

Tennis: The Only Game with Love


Make your first brush with tennis a memorable one. Try it at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis!

And you thought your only option was to play a back-and-forth game. While you won’t find my husband and I picking up our racquets and playing singles tennis for date night, we do enjoy playing as a family. We think you will, too.

But hurry! The outdoor sports experiences are seasonal (March to the first weekend of November) and, trust me, you don’t want to miss it.

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Categories: Blog Ambassadors, Exhibits, Family Learning
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