We often have parents ask when their little one should start throwing a ball. The answer is, we generally we don’t start tracking ball milestones until they are around 12 months old. Before that age it’s all about giving your little one an opportunity to play and engage with balls. You can use ones of various sizes and textures as well as ones that make noise or are visually stimulating.
O-balls are great options for early on, especially when they are lying on their back. They can easily grip it, they generally have a small rattle sound they make when shaken, and they can hang easily from an activity center! Our Infant/Toddler list on Amazon has some of our favorite balls if you want to check them out.
For tummy time, ball play is a great way to encourage weight shifting and/or visual tracking to try to get them to reach. (This will help them eventually roll over!) You may even be able to get them to ‘push’ the ball back to you. It may not be intentional but if you make a big deal out of it they will want to continue to engage! And, as they get more mobile balls are great things for them to chase after to encourage crawling!
Once your little one can sit on the floor independently, or with a little support, you can begin working on turn taking. Not only will this encourage ball play, but it can also work on their balance skills to get them even more independent with sitting. Check out this video for ideas!
And, don’t forget about the bath time. Most balls will float so it’s a great way to have fun in the water!
What are your favorite ways to engage in ball play with your infant?