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Coordination: Catching Scarves

Catching and throwing are important skills. When it comes to learning to catch, mesh scarves are wonderful, allowing for children’s slower reaction time.

Materials for making scarves:

  • Tulle is a mesh fabric used in wedding veils and decorations. Most discount stores, fabric, and craft stores carry it. It comes in several colors and is usually inexpensive. Try to use multiple colors for interest.
  • Buy 1/3 or ½ yard of tulle of each color that you desire. Or ask someone who is just about to have a wedding if you can have tulle they are planning to throw away after the wedding.
  • Scarves float best if they are 1 to 1 ½ feet square. Cut the tulle into squares or rectangles. No need to hem the edges. It does not unravel. For planning: the tulle on the bolt is 52″ wide. If you buy ½ yard, you can make 4 scarves of about 1 ½ feet by 13 inches. If you buy 1/3 of a yard, your 4 scarves will be about 1 foot by 13 inches.
  • Each child needs a scarf. And before you start complaining, yes, you get one, too.

What do you do?

  • Show them how to hold the scarf in the middle, throw it up, and catch it. Explain that they leave the scarf open, not balled up, so it will float down.
  • Try to build on skills they already have. If they have trouble throwing, they can hold it high and simply drop it. If they have trouble catching, most infants learn to clap their hands fairly early. That is the same motion, using the same muscles, as they use for catching. So tell them to “clap” and they may catch the scarf!
  • After they have conquered catching a dropped or thrown scarf, let them experiment with different heights of throws and funny ways to catch. For example, they can try to throw higher and catch the scarf on different body parts: elbow, knee, foot, back, nose, head, or perhaps the LeBron James behind-the-back-and-around-the waist-and-between-the-legs catch (only for the more advanced).

Bonus: While you are playing with scarves, you can also teach children more about following directions. Here is an example: “I’m going to give you 3 directions. Listen to all 3 and then do them. Throw the scarf really high, turn your body around, and catch the scarf before hits the floor? Let’s try!” Giving three directions is good if your child is four or five. Giving three directions should not be tried (unless you just thrive on frustration tantrums) with children younger than three years of age.