Ball play can be hard to get a little one to focus on. Even if they love balls, they may only want to do it on their own time and in their own way. This might even include just putting it in their mouth. They may enjoy playing for a few times and then be finished with the activity. All of this is ok. It’s just your starting point! We are going to give you some ideas for various scenarios.
Your little one doesn’t have the attention span to do more than one or two reps
- Start from here! Figure out what their typical attention span is and then try to add one more each time. So if they will catch the ball 2 times and then are finished, tell them ahead of time you are going to do 3! You could also make it into a game by rolling a dice. Whatever number lands up is how many reps they do. Add in another dice and make write your own activities on each side (kick, throw, catch, bounce, etc). Also check out wheelofnames for a spinner you can use.
Your little one gets frustrated easily and doesn’t want to even try
- Make it a part of an obstacle course or circuit. One of the tasks to get through is to kick or throw or catch. Have them do it once and don’t worry how well they do it, just enjoy them doing it. As they have more fun with it you can add more repetitions and work on doing it as a stand alone skill.
- Make it fun and a game like bowling or knocking things over with the ball (both of these can be done with kicking or throwing). Maybe even batting a balloon around! You could also do a beanbag or ring toss or throw suction cup balls agains the wall. Use water balloons! So many ways to get creative!
Your little one is still young and may just want to put the ball in their mouth
- This is ok. Use something that is highly engaging and makes noise or lights up. Work on turn taking like we talk about in Early Ball Skills! Show lots of encouragement and cheering even if they just pick it up or hand it back to you!
Here is a video with some of the tips we are talking about:
Check out our Activity Round-Up for more blogs on ball skills!