The Growth and Giggles Blog

Ideas for helping parents and their preschoolers.

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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in ball skills
Strengthening the Large Muscles aka Gross Motor Early Intervention Strengthening large muscle groups (gross motor skills) helps with balance, strength, eye-hand coordination, eye-foot coordination, and overall body coordination (proprioception). This can be done in many ways and starting from an early age. It is important to help your child learn to be aware of where there body is in space. As we go through some techniques to developing these skills, there is a general guideline to remember: Children develop from the head down and from the center of the body outward...the head develops before the feet and the shoulders before the hands. In all of these things it is important to remember to never tease a child by calling them a clutz. Even if they have these tendencies, early intervention can help with that. From early on, eye-hand coordination can be developed with the use of a mylar balloon hanging from above (on a mobile, etc.) so that the child can watch it....
20 Learning Games for When Mom or Dad is Exhausted Parents of preschoolers are tired people. Caring for little ones is exhausting work. We have the best intentions of providing enriching activities for our kids, but when exhaustion sets in, good intentions go out the window. To help you plan for those times when you need something your child can do while you are lying down or sitting, here’s a list of 20 activities. Finger paint in shaving cream spread on a cookie sheet. Play with play dough. Read. If you’re reading a well-known book, try changing some of the words or sentences and let your child have fun catching your “mistakes.” Play Chutes and Ladders or Candyland. Put on music and let your child dance. Try giving her a bean bag and challenge her to dance with the beanbag on her head, between her knees, or on her elbow. Play “red light, green light.” Play a following directions game. Give...

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Games to Play with Bean Bags Bean bags are fun learning materials for babies, preschoolers, and even older children. The easiest bean bag to make is to fill a child’s sock with popcorn, beans, or rice, and then tie a knot in the end of the sock. For babies, give them a bowl full of bean bags and let them pull them out and put them in. Say “out” and “in” as they move the bags. This is good for eye-hand coordination, hand strength, and learning the concepts of out and in. As children become able to stand, bean bags work great for throwing games. For ways to teach throwing skills, see this post. A first step is just to have your toddler stand over a bowl and drop the bean bag in. Next, you can teach the throwing motion. Have your toddler or preschooler hold the bean bag and swing their arm back and forth. Tell...
Teaching Your Child Ball Skills—Part 3: Throwing Now that you’ve been working on catching and hitting with your little one, you may want to move on to throwing skills. Obviously, your baby has probably been tossing toys around since he could sit up, but you’ll want to work with your preschooler on how to throw properly and how to make the ball go where he wants it to. The best place to start is with underhand throwing. Use something squishy that your child can easily grasp. A rolled-up pair of socks is perfect for this. Have him hold onto the “ball” and swing his hand backward, then forward, and back again. Then have him swing his hand back and hold it there, then forward and hold it there. This helps develop control. Explain that when he swings his hand forward, that’s when he lets it go. When he has practiced swinging his hand forward and letting go, then...
Teaching Your Child Ball Skills—Part 2: Hitting Hitting a ball is a great activity for developing eye-hand coordination, and it lays a foundation for many sports activities as your child grows. As a bonus to you, this section provides some great games your child can play while you are cooking dinner or otherwise occupied! Have you noticed how fascinated little ones are with balloons? Batting a balloon is a perfect early step to learning how to hit a ball. Start with a helium balloon anchored to the ground by a string. (Tie it to something heavy.) Show your child how to hit the balloon and then wait til it pops back up again before he hits it again. This helps him follow its progress with his eyes, work on depth perception, and develop a sense of timing in hitting a ball. Once your child is batting a helium balloon well, tie a regular balloon to the top of...
Teaching Your Child Ball Skills—Part 1: Catching Did you know that you can work with a newborn on ball skills? Ok, she’s not going to be playing catch with you right away, but playing ball involves a complex group of skills, some of which you can be helping your child develop from infancy. Here is a sequence of activities that you can work on with your child as she grows to help her develop coordination, strength, and motor skills that will benefit her all her life. Two notes: as with all activities, stop before your child gets bored or tired. Very short spurts of these activities are fine—in fact, great! Second, if your child is not a baby any more, it’s not too late! You can still play these games together and use many of the same activities to teach a preschooler or elementary schooler to catch. 1. Tracking with the eyes. You know the saying, “Keep your...