Why Your Child Should Be Playing With Balls

Toddler Developmental Skills Can Be Built With Simple Toys

Little girl portraits
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All children can benefit from rolling, throwing, catching, kicking, and dribbling balls. These activities improve motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and timing. Ball skills are an important part of the developmental progression for toddlers. The skills your child learns by playing with balls will eventually come in handy once your child graduates to collaborative and competitive play.

What Your Child Learns by Playing with Balls

Balls are easy and affordable must-have toys.

You can introduce them to your child very early on because they immediately strengthen motor skills and familiarize little ones with their environment.

Early on, little ones gravitate toward things that roll. Your infant will be fascinated by a ball's continuous movement. Balls allow children to feel in control of something other than their own movements. 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 and the different effects of bouncing, rolling, tossing, kicking, and dropping it. 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, how to follow rules, and how to negotiate.

Choosing the Right Ball

You have a wide variety of choices for balls, with variations in size and firmness.

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 with both.

The best balls for toddlers overall may be Wiffle Balls because they are lightweight and have holes that make them easy for toddlers to handle.

They are also less likely to cause an injury or damage.

For indoor use, you may want to pick Wiffle Balls or small, soft balls that are less likely to break anything. Keep large, heavy balls outdoors or use them inside only when you're able to supervise.

Rules for Balls

Set ground rules about throwing balls, indoors or out, and enforce them. You should also set rules about not throwing balls at other people except when they are prepared to catch them. Educate your child that balls should not be used as a weapon and that balls thrown in the house can cause damage.

Any games that you play with a ball will also have rules that are appropriate for the age of the child. A toddler may be too young to understand rules other than what is needed for safety, so you should keep their games simple.

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.

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