Excellent Developmental Toy

Kandyba, S. (2013, June). Excellent Developmental Toy.
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   Parents are always in a search of a perfect toy, product, or device to entertain their kids and help them develop properly. Lots of money gets spent on toys and all sorts of activity centers, and yet the search is never over. Some products are simple and effective deserving praise, while others only claim to be developmental, but, in reality, should never have made it to the market. A simple and very effective product promoting proper child development is a ball. Yes, simple old-fashioned balls of different sizes, materials, colors, or textures can give a child more benefits that it could ever be imagined.   

Playing a ball is usually taken for granted. However, it takes bilateral skills (on both sides of the body), strength, balance, hand-eye coordination, timing, sequencing, motor planning of moves, attention, and even endurance, to do simple-looking ball activities. It comes natural to some kids to play with a ball, while others need to spend additional time to learn skills; however everyone can benefit from daily ball play. As with all milestones, ball-playing skills need to develop in certain sequence. By the time a child turns 6, he/she should be able to do these things with a ball (with approximate age of starting a skill):
  • Roll in sitting (11-12 months)
  • Fling (13 months)
  • Kick (15-16 months)
  • Throw overhand (19-20 months)
  • Throw underhand (23-24 months)
  • Catch (25-26 months)
  • Hit target (39-40 months)
  • Dribble (5-6 years)

How do you help your child reach these milestones on time? Get a medium size ball and start playing with the child as soon as he/she has been able to sit independently for some time. You both could sit on the floor facing each other, and roll the ball to each other back and forth. Your child will be thrilled to watch the ball come and leave. He/she will reach forward and to sides to get it, which will help strengthen core muscles, develop coordination, vision, and protective reactions.

As the child grows and has been able to stand and walk independently for some time, teach him/her to fling a small ball. At this point, he/she may throw the ball in any direction. It could be fun to just fling and see what happens. As the skill gets learned more, the child should be able to throw the ball overhand and underhand hitting a target. You can make up any game requiring a target hit, for example, throw it in a laundry basket, or on a target attached to the wall.  

Kicking, catching, and dribbling are more advanced skills. During the kicking of a ball, muscles of the stationary leg need to be strong and well balanced to support the body upright, while the kicking leg needs to be coordinated with eyes and also be strong. You can imitate soccer to practice kicking, or you can kick the ball towards a few cones or empty plastic bottles spread out a few feet apart from each other. Basketball helps develop catching and dribbling skills. Besides basketball, you can use the same spread out cones or plastic bottles, and dribble your way through those obstacles.

No matter how to play with the ball, it will be beneficial for kids. A few balls of different sizes can entertain your child for hours while making him/her develop better. If you notice that your child is not reaching some milestones, seems to be clumsy, or if you have any doubts at all, seek professional advice. Pediatric physical therapists will help.


Chance To Advance, LLC is a private home pediatric physical therapy company servicing kids in Monmouth, Middlesex, and Ocean counties, NJ. We visit your child at home, on a playground, or in a daycare. Most major insurances are accepted. Please explore our site www.CTA-PT.com or email stella@cta-pt.com for more information.


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