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.