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Playing with a ball is one of the most quintessential gross motor activities for kids. It is also one of the only toys that can entertain all ages, from babies up to adults!  Did you know that children begin to demonstrate early ball skills as early as 12 months?

This graphic below shows the progression of ball skills for young kids:

Basic Ball Skills for Young Kids

What You Will Need:

  • About 12-15 tennis balls
  • One slightly larger ball for kicking and rolling.

What To Do:

  • Stack up your tennis balls to make a pyramid (a square of several balls on the bottom, and then layer the balls upward to the top point).
  • If you have a younger child, try sitting him about 3 feet from that pyramid of balls and have him roll a slightly larger ball toward it to knock it down! You can sit on the back side of the pyramid and verbally encourage him by saying "roll the ball to me."
  • When your child has mastered rolling the ball toward the target, have him back up and "bowl" the ball toward the pyramid.
  • For older toddlers and preschoolers, have them try kicking the ball to knock down the pyramid.
  • When he hits his target, those tennis balls are going to explode out of that pyramid and roll all over the place! Encourage him to "clean-up" by racing to a ball, squatting to pick it up, and putting (or tossing) it into a laundry basket.

How to Change It Up:

  • Try using another type of target. Use old toilet paper rolls, even just a grouping of different balls.
  • Use something that your child can retrieve once he knocks it down and throw back to you to incorporate that skill into the activity!

Explore More Activities Like This!

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This content is provided in collaboration with The Inspired Treehouse and has been reviewed by the editorial board.

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