Getting children active and excited about sports at an early age is vital to prepare them for a healthy life. Regular physical activity helps a child maintain a healthy weight, good physical health and supports bone and muscle development. Children learn many important skills just by playing with a ball.
Hand-eye coordination requires the eyes to direct attention to a task that the hands need to execute. A simple game of throw and catch in the early years can help your children develop good handwriting. The eyes guide the hand to form letters and make sure their writing stays within the lines. Ball play supports eye-tracking skills that are vital for reading. Hand-eye coordination is also needed for everyday skills such as tying shoelaces, threading beads or stacking wooden blocks.
Timing is also learned through ball play. One has to wait for the ball to get close and react accordingly to catch it or bounce it. When catching, if the hands close too early, or if the reaction time is too long, the opportunity to catch the ball is missed. The same goes for bouncing. The timing should be accurate and consistent to keep the rhythm needed for bouncing a ball. Having the ability to react quickly is important for safety, such as catching something that is falling over or moving out of the way of something approaching.
Knowing how much strength is needed to throw, bounce or kick a ball is a learned skill. Through regular practice and repetition children learn how hard a ball must be thrown or kicked to reach the target or how much pressure is needed to bounce a ball continuously. By learning the correct intensity of force needed, children understand how to control their movements better. For example, what force is needed to throw a school bag onto a bed without breaking a bedside lamp or hitting a picture on the wall?
So Much More Than Ball Play
Through ball play children learn patience, turn-taking and sportsmanship. These are all important traits to learn at a young age. They learn to throw to a friend or partner only when their friend is ready to catch the ball. By interacting, communicating, cooperating and politely helping each other, children are learning social and emotional skills.
If you are a parent or teacher who plays ball games with your children, well done! Continue to do so, because these physical activities help your children become healthy, well-developed and clear-thinking adults.
The MoovKids Program
The MoovKids activity resource offers a wide variety of fun ball skills that can be done by an individual, in pairs or with a group of children. Most of the activities can be done indoors and out. The professional, instructional videos shows how to do each activity, how to handle the equipment and how to work with the children when implementing activities.
MoovKids offers a complete physical education program for families, as well as for individual daycares and larger early-years education groups.