Balls are useful play apparatus throughout early years development. Here’s how to get the most from a ball at key stages:
Six months: Great for holding, squeezing, shaking and building grip and arm strength. Balls with bells inside help with visual tracking at a time when vision is not fully developed.
12 months: Rolling and receiving a ball on the floor. This develops hand-eye co-ordination and timing as children learn to reach out and grab a passing ball.
18 months: With a large and light enough ball, such as a beach ball or one made of foam, children can start to practice simple throwing games in the garden
24 months: The same ball becomes something they can catch now, too, as their grip and co-ordination improves
24 months: As legs become stronger and more co-ordinated, children can begin to apply the same principles to kicking and dribbling with a ball