The magic toy you’ve been neglecting

Dear Tunester,

Did you know that balls are one of the best toys for your baby? Here’s why… 

You know I’m all about connection right? Helping you find joyful and peaceful moments during your day to bond with your baby.

Well today let’s talk about a much neglected toy in your home that can actually be a connection-maker/brain-enhancer/ body-developer.

Know what it is? BALLS. 

Here’s what playing with balls can do for your baby:

  1. Develop their physical skills.
  2. Develop awareness of their surroundings.
  3. Develop their social skills.
  4. Develop language skills.

Wow! In the words of my friend Mindy from one of our favorite podcasts “Wow in the World,” that’s Bonker Balls!

There are so many ways to play with balls that your baby will surely learn when they are school age. But playing with balls can start as early as now and will have much of the same benefits.

 

Ball Activity to do With Your Baby:

Roll a ball between you and your baby, or around your baby while singing the song below.

Pre-Sitting Babies:

Roll the ball around your baby, bringing it close to them and then close to you.

Sitting and Standing Babies:

Sit with your legs open creating an enclosed rolling area and roll the ball back and forth to each other.

 

Have a few balls around in case your baby wants to explore the texture and shape of the ball through their mouth.

 

Benefits of playing ball with this song:

 

Gross and fine motor skills:

Let’s start with the simple act of rolling. When you give your baby balls of different sizes they learn how to manipulate large and small objects. They use their fingers to push and pick up a small ball, which develops their fine motor skills, and they use their full arms and sometimes whole body to pick up and roll larger balls. That develops their gross motor skills.

 

Develops hand-eye coordination

This one seems like a no brainer – moving an object entails hand eye coordination. But there is another aspect to this. When you play together with a ball with your baby, you are both focusing on the movement of the object. And this is crucial. Studies show when your baby develops the ability to look and manipulate an object, they elicit YOUR joint attention to that object. And that, dear Tunie, elicits joint play=CONNECTION.

 

Spacial awareness

Simply rolling and throwing a ball develops spacial awareness because it teaches them concepts of direction, distance and location. 

 

Object Permanence

It was once thought that object permanence develops at 8 months but now we know that it actually starts to develop around 4-7 months. Basically it is your baby’s ability to know that something exists even when it disappears. Playing games to help your baby understand this is great for their development. And a ball, that comes and goes, is a perfect toy for the job.

 

Language Skills

If you are using the song below while you roll the ball back and forth then you are teaching your baby your name and their name. The ball is acting like a pointer, explaining to your baby that that when the ball is near them you say their name, and when it is near you you sing your name. By using the space you are illustrating the idea of labels to your baby.

 

Social Skills

This game is so simple and yet teaches your baby so much. It is the beginning of teaching them the concept of sharing. By having a joint toy that is being passed back and forth you are teaching your baby that it is ok to release it because it wil come back to them,.

 

Connection and Bonding

Simply by taking at moment to have a joint focus with your baby while doing something playful and open ended, you are engaging in some high quality bonding time 🙂

 

Looking for more musical activities to do with your baby to get through the winter? Try these.

 

Ok Tunie, go forth and play ball! And let me know how it goes.

 

Do you have a friend who needs some more fun in their day with their baby? Send them this post and tell them to sign up for more.

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