A ball, though seems like an ordinary toy, has countless benefits, and in my opinion, is unmatched by any other toy. Tania has enjoyed playing with balls ever since she was 4 months old. When she started sitting, I had filled up a pool of colourful balls for her and she loved it. Here are 7 reasons as to why I believe every baby must be given several different types of balls to play with.
1. Observation and Experimentation
Babies are fascinated while endlessly examining and turning a ball with both hands. They get busy investigating the ball and that’s of great significance for them as they learn different properties from different types of balls. For example, a ping pong ball can be held with one hand while two hands are needed for a large inflatable ball. A large inflatable may be light, but a small tennis ball may be heavy. One of Tania’s favorites when she was about 6-7 months was the Chicco Soft Ball.
Babies learn from the different slamming sounds of different types of balls and from throwing balls on different surfaces, like the effect it has on water or on sand.
2. Encourages Movement
Once babies learn to sit and crawl, the moving ball encourages them to move along. This helps in their overall physical development
3. Emotional Development
The ball running away from them leads to different emotions in a baby. Sometimes it excites them, or surprises them and even causes them to get angry.
4. Motor Skills
Babies learn to clasp and hold round objects by 4-5 months of age and later learn to let them go, and then they learn to roll and throw them with their hands, feet or head. This is a very important opportunity for the development of motor coordination and general motor skills of the baby’s body.
As they grow, they have fun rolling a ball down a slide and trying to roll it up the slide, running with the ball while carrying it with both hands in front of them, and trying to keep their balance on one leg while trying to push the ball with the other leg
5. Concentration and Watchfulness
Ball play results in the development of concentration of attention. It helps them become more watchful and helps in building their thinking.
6. Means of Communication
A ball becomes a means of communication for babies. They learn to throw the ball to another person and invite others to join in the game. Ball games have a great potential for social development, communication and interaction. My husband and daughter had their best time playing ball with each other once she was around nine months.
7. Concept of ‘left’ and ‘right’
Ball games help babies in developing the concept of ‘left’ and ‘right’ which in turn are extremely important for the development of the baby’s thought and language.
8. Tactile Perception
Exposure to balls made of different materials helps develop tactile perception and gives babies knowledge of the properties and diversity of the world.
Different types of balls your baby can play with:
What kind of balls does your baby like playing with? Share your experiences with other moms!!