Having a ball! The benefits of ball skills
Balls are fun! They come in different shapes and sizes, colours and textures. The benefits of ball skills go beyond the idea of a gross motor action. Ball skills help develop eye-hand coordination, visual tracking, body awareness, motor planning and recip
A BABY OFTEN starts throwing a ball at around 12-18 months when they have more controlled release in their hands. Catching only comes around three to four years old.
Even though these skills only develop in the toddler years, babies love to watch a ball roll in front of them, and once sitting, enjoy rolling a ball back and forth with mom or dad.
MILESTONES FOR CATCHING
• One-year-olds should be able to catch a soccer-sized rolled ball while sitting down by enclosing the ball with arms and hands, without falling or losing their balance.
• By the age of two, a child is able to stand and hold his arms in front of
his body, with palms up in a receiving position in anticipation. He will bring the ball to his chest to secure it.
• By three years old, he should be able to catch a ball thrown from about 1.5m away with his hands only, with arms outstretched, without the need to bring his hands to his chest.
• At four-and-a-half, a child is able to catch a tennis ball from 1.5m away using his hands only at least two out of three times.
MILESTONES FOR THROWING
• At 12 months, a baby can roll a ball forward on the floor and can usually throw but without any goal direction.
• By 18 months, a child should be able to stand and throw a ball without falling.
• By two years, a child will be able to throw a tennis ball forward at least 1m using an overhand and underhand technique. By two-and-a-half, that distance doubles.
• By three-and-a-half years old, a child will be able to throw a tennis ball forward in the air with good technique.
• By four-and-a-half years old, a child can throw a tennis ball underhandedly at least 3m.
KICKING A BALL
• By 2 years old a child will have the balance and coordination to stand, lift his foot, and make contact with a ball.
• A 3-year-old can kick a ball forward by bringing his foot backwards with knee bent.