|Babies||Walkers to 2||2s to 3s||3s to 4s|
Overview and benefit
Learning to roll a ball involves whole arm co-ordination and agility and is something that babies learn to do at a wide range of ages. Once they learn to push and release the ball, they can start to watch and learn how the object then travels (direction, speed). As they get older they can start to anticipate and plan where they want the object to go and try to roll the object accordingly.
- Background music
One to two weeks
How it works
Babies will be using balls to develop the skills of rolling and catching.
What to do in the class
This activity is just to get babies used to rolling a ball back and forward to someone. Pair an adult and baby with another adult and baby and get them to sit opposite each other with legs outstretched and wide with feet touching to contain the ball. The baby should be supported in a sitting position between the adult’s legs. Carers should roll the ball between the babies, keeping it within confined within their legs. Practice rolling a ball to each other in order that the baby gets the idea of the game and starts to try to return the ball with the help of the adult. Even if the child is too young to do the rolling themselves, by watching their parent play the game, they will start to learn that some objects can be rolled. The parent could engage them more by using their child’s hand to push the ball to their partner.
To make it interesting each week different types and sizes of balls could be used. Beach balls, footballs, fleece balls, jingle balls, peek-a-boo balls, rainbow balls. For children who are doing well, move the child further away.
What to do in a nursery setting
Have the children sit in a circle with their feet touching to contain the ball. Roll the ball to each baby in the circle and with the aid of their carer they will roll it back to you.
Adaptations for younger babies
Ensure very young babies are supported in their sitting position between the adults legs. Or you could encourage some tummy time and lay babies on their tummies and have their parents roll balls in front of them, encouraging the babies to reach for them.
You can use the nursery variation in class to add interest to the activity in the second week. Get the adults to all roll lots of balls at the same time to add excitement and fun and give the babies the opportunity to track multiple moving objects.