Wednesday 16 January 2013


You can enjoy a football long before you can kick it!
Brilliant Balls!
From mini marbles to mummy's massive maternity ball, boys love spheres. You can roll them, throw them, kick them, bounce them, spin them, get them in the net or through a hoop, hit them with a bat, racket or club and if you're really clever- catch them!
Playing with balls is all about co-ordination, hand-eye or foot-eye. Kicking a still football is challenge enough for a toddler, kicking a moving ball requires even more skill- getting the timing right is really tricky.
I'm afraid our two are unlikely to be destined for sporting success as neither of their parents are particularly sporty- although Martin does a lot of running and I now occasionally play netball with the village club. However I do think ball skills are really important- both as a way in to exercise and as a social thing. Having a kick-around with your mates is a good bonding time for boys.

Serious concentration required for "marble thru' the tunnel."
For little ones, the best thing about balls is that they invite you to make up games and challenges. This week, Zac invented a game which involved using a broom to sweep a marble around the kitchen floor so fast that it ricocheted off the kickboards at high velocity. Danny came in and put himself across a doorway "in goal" and they played for about half an hour, setting rules and then honing them, negotiating whose turn it was with the broom etc. I enjoyed this marble game better than one of the old ones, which involved tipping a whole tub of marbles onto the floor and shunting them around with their hands and which made a real din, however not as much as their "can you roll a marble through a track tunnel?" game, which was peaceful and required a bit more skill!
I'm not a ball!!

He shoots, he scores!
We have various targets for aiming balls into- a bargain football goal bought in the Woolworths closing down sale, and an ancient basket ball hoop. The boys do use them, but they're equally happy making a target of their own. For example they used to prop the end of the slide up, put a bucket on the grass and have a competition to see who could roll a ball down the slide, over the jump and into the bucket. You can also make targets like skittles. A few empty plastic drinks/ milk bottles with a bit of sand or gravel in the bottom work well, and you can try rolling or throwing different sized balls to knock them down. I haven't tried it with the boys, but as kids we used to sink a tin can into the lawn and try and putt a ball into it, like our own mini-golf. Last summer Martin invented a game where he used the boys as skittles and threw my enormous birthing ball at them so they fell over- the kids thought it was hilarious!
Anyone for croquet?

Hitting a ball is a different skill again, but still requires great hand-eye co-ordination. For little ones, trying to hit a ball to each other is nigh-on impossible. The chances that their shot will go in the right direction, and that the other will be able to anticipate and hit it back are pretty much non-existent. Bowling a ball to them so they can hit it with a "boom bat" or large headed tennis racket is easier, or just letting them whack a ball to see how far they can send it, so they begin to get their eye in, is lots of fun.
Boot it!
Perfecting his spin bowling!
If you have a range of balls you can do investigations. Collect up all the balls you can find, put them in size order, work out what they're made from, check if they're all spherical (you may have a rugby ball!) Which one bounces highest? Which one can you throw/ kick furthest? Which is easiest to score a basket with? Do they roll better on grass or on the path? WHY?
Basically, if you play a few ball games with your little one, they will quickly begin to set their own challenges and learn all sorts of new skills, both physical and social if they've got someone to play with, which will come in handy when they're picking teams at school!

I can do "kick tricks!"
Small boys, jumpers for goal-posts!

For more things to try with balls, check out my posts on drainpipes and paint.


  1. I think my toddler would love trying to get marbles through the tunnel - I might give that a try over the weekend while we're stuck inside!

    1. Thank you! You are the first ever person to comment on my blog- it's nice to know there's somebody out there!! Hope you have fun with the marbles.x

  2. this is fab honey! we need to do more ball activities! :-)

    Thanks for linking up with #ActiveFamily

  3. Lovely pictures especially the one with your little one in the net lol
    My boy loves balls too down to even watching snooker on TV x

    1. Thank you! So far I'm the only one who loves watching snooker in our house- but that time may come!! x

  4. It's great to get out for a kick around. #CountryKids

  5. What a lot of lovely photos of your boys having fun, as you say an important way to help them with their gross motor skills. Thanks for linking up and sharing their fun with Country Kids.