Why Your Child Should Be Playing With Balls

Tips for Playing with Balls

Little girl portraits
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Playing games or sports with balls is often wrongly viewed as a boys-only activity, but ball skills are actually an important part of the developmental progression. All children can benefit from throwing, catching, kicking and dribbling balls because it improves motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and timing. The skills your child learns by playing with balls will eventually come in handy once your child graduates to collaborative and competitive play.

Balls are easy and affordable must-have toys for toddlers.

What Your Child Learns by Playing with Balls

Little ones gravitate toward things that roll early on. Balls allow children to feel in control of something other than their own movements. They're a kind of toy you can introduce to your child very early on because they immediately strengthen motor skills and familiarize little ones with their environment.

One of the biggest advantages of playing with balls is that they are a kind of toy that grows with your child. Your infant will be completely enamored by a ball's continuous movement that's unlike anything they've ever seen. Rolling a ball back and forth is a way to build a social bond between two people, and it's also a very introductory lesson of cause and effect. Toddlers will discover a ball's abilities. It can be bounced, rolled, kicked and dropped. Once a child is 2 years old, a ramp or other contraption is like their very own science lab where they can learn about physics.

A ball will remain an entertaining toy as your child transitions from independent play and parallel play to collaborative play, which is vital in developing social skills, learning how to share, follow rules and negotiate.

Choosing the Right Ball:

Choose different types of balls, both large and small.

Large balls will take two hands to throw, which is an entirely different skill than throwing a small tennis ball with one hand. Give your toddler the opportunity to practice both. The best balls for toddlers overall are Wiffle Balls: they're lightweight and have holes that make them easy for toddlers to handle.

Ball Storage:

A large box or basket kept on the floor serves as storage and as a place to throw the balls for a fun game. Wicker baskets, laundry baskets and plastic containers all work well. Make sure the container isn't deep enough that your toddler could fall in when going to retrieve balls.

Rules for Balls:

There's a reason why your mom told you not to play ball in the house. If you want to keep balls indoors and accessible, don't risk any damage. Pick small, soft balls that can't break anything. Keep large, heavy balls outdoors or use them inside only when you're able to supervise. Set ground rules about throwing in your home and enforce them.

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