Ball skills are important for coordination of both sides of your body as well as eye/hand coordination and eye/foot coordination. You can also work to improve balance if you always practice ball skills while standing.

Tips for playing with balls with preschoolers:

To improve catching:

  • Start with bubbles- can your child try to catch a bubble with both hands (not just pop them but bring hands together to “catch”)
  • Balloons are easy to catch because they stay in the air longer (do not play with balloons if your child has a latex allergy or attempts bite or places mouth on balloon)
  • Balls with bumps on them are the next easiest to catch
  • Try balls of various sizes and textures
  • GENTLY toss ball (even from very close range) to improve confidence in catching and decrease fear of being hit by the ball
  • CELEBRATE success- “You caught the ball!”

To improve throwing:

  • Overhead toss: Bring ball over head (improves balance) and throw it to a partner
  • Underhand toss: Swing both arms to toss a ball into a box, a bin, or a bucket
  • Chest pass: Push ball out towards the partner
  • Work first with large balls but progress to using one hand tosses with tennis ball or smaller balls
  • Tossing beans bags can decrease frustration because they stay where they land!

To improve kicking:

  • Use a ball with bumps on it that will STAY still while the child attempts to kick it
  • Have a target (close at first) which falls over (2 liter bottles with a bit of water in them, bowling pins, etc) to celebrate success and work on aim

Brought to you by Bornhava’s Physical Therapy Dept.

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