Throwing and catching a ball helps improves fine motor skills, gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination and bilateral coordination (being able to use both sides of their body together to perform a task).
How to teach or work on throwing a ball:
- Use a ball that they can hold, but is not too hard.
- Set up a target to throw the ball at (for great art project draw a target or use one of my patterns: bear or target).
- Have the child hold the ball in their dominate hand, and bring the opposite foot forward.
- Tell them to bring the ball behind their ear, and bend their elbow pointing backwards.
- Turn them so that their side opposite to the throwing hand faces the target. This means that if child is throwing with his right hand, the target should be to his left. A common mistake is to stand with your chest facing the target. Do not allow them to stand with their chest facing the target.
- Use the non-throwing hand to point at the target and throw.
- Tell child to move their arm with ball in it to target and release the ball. Inform them this is the act of “throwing.”
- The ball may not go anywhere near the target, so be prepared to repeat and refine.
- Be positive, use lots of praise, and practice a lot.
You can also search the internet for videos on teaching children to throw a ball. This is great way to show a child a proper throwing motion that they can model!
How to teach or work on catching a ball:
- Use a balloon! (Balloons don’t hurt, and will help a child overcome any fears.)
- Throw a balloon straight to them and ask them to catch it.
- Once the child masters catching a the balloon coming straight to them start throwing the balloon at different angles.
- Then move on to a soft foam ball, and then to a tennis ball.
- Throw different kinds/sizes of balls back and forth.
- Tell the child: “put your hands out and together, I’m going to throw this ball and I want you to watch it with your eyes and try to catch it in your hands.”
- The more people you have to throw and catch the merrier!
- Be positive, generous with praise of any effort and practice a lot.
You can also search the internet for videos on teaching children to catch a ball. This is great way to show a child a proper throwing motion that they can model!