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Playing Ball

“We Want a Pitcher, Not a Belly-Itcher!”

  • Begin playing in front of a mirror so that you and your child can see all of your actions. At first, you may even want your child to sit in front on you (in between your legs) and with hand over hand assistance, you roll the ball toward the mirror, and then it bounces back towards you and your child. Help your child “catch it”.
  • When you first start the game opposite each other, you can exchange something before a ball, such as a stuffed animal or a washcloth. This will get your child used to going “back and forth”.
  • If your child has difficulty giving up the ball, play together with him and another adult.  Show your child that once the other adult receives the ball, it is rolled right back. When he gets the ball, encourage verbally (and physically if necessary) to roll it back.
  • It will be easier to roll the ball if your child is slightly elevated from you. Place your child on a wedge, on a prone board, or on a floor that slopes upward (a ramp or driveway that slopes). This way, when the ball is pushed towards you the elevation will help it move along.
  • It is difficult for a young child to use hands to catch a ball, and this skill is not expected until much later on.  To help your child “catch” the ball, model sitting on the floor with your legs open, and use your legs and arms to “catch” the ball.
  • Once your child understands the action and “taking turns”, try using different types of balls (it might be easier to start with a larger ball for some children and a smaller ball for others).

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