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, perhaps as early as 8 months, but might take much longer. 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.

Training videos

Rolling Catch And Directional Rolling-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.

Equipment required

  • Balls
  • Background music


Around two weeks

How it works

Children will be using balls to develop the skills of rolling and catching.

What to do in the class

This activity is just to get children used to rolling a ball back and forward to someone. Sit with the child in front of the parent, with feet touching and legs wide. Roll the ball between child and parent, keeping with the legs. Practice rolling a ball to each other in order that the child gets the idea of the game and starts to return the ball. They may initially just try to hand the ball over, or get up to return it, but just keep persevering and give lots of praise when they get it right. Those who struggle could be encourage to push the ball to their parent. For babies who are not old enough to sit on their own, can sit on their parents lap and roll the ball to another parent/child. 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. Start to stand up (keeping quite close) and get the child to roll the ball to the parent and back.

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 child in the circle and they will roll it back to you.

Adaptations for older/younger children

Encourage social cooperation by having the children work in pairs.

Another extension for older children would be to form larger social circles of 3 or four children with their parents and have them roll the ball to each other, moving further apart to make it harder.


You could use foam frisbies and roll them along on their sides as an alternative