We have all heard the saying, “Keep your eye on the ball.” In order to catch effectively, children need to practice using their eyes to track a ball while it is in motion. Here are some fun activities and games to get your child having fun and catching like a champ.

Stage 1

Tracking the Ball

Sit across from you child on the floor with your legs spread wide open. Roll a ball back and forth to each other. Start close together and then move father away as appropriate. Try using different sized balls.

Stage 2

Slow Moving Object to Begin Catching

Set up a cone or numerous cones in your home or yard. I find big orange cones work the best. Place a ball on top of each cone. Give your child a ping-pong paddle, racquet or bat to strike the ball(s) off of the top of the cones. If your child is taller than the cone, I suggest buying a baseball tee to place the ball on.

Stage 3

Soft and Easy to Catch Items + Starting Close Together = Success

Use a ball with texture, a ball with holes (Oball) or a rolled-up pair of socks to toss back and forth with your child. Start by standing 2 feet apart and take steps backward as your child improves.

Tip: Tell your child to open his or her hands slightly larger than the size of the ball, to facilitate the act of catching the ball.

Stage 4

Practice, Practice, Practice…with these fun games and activities!

Now is the time to introduce your child to catching a ball with a glove with their nondominant hand (i.e., the left hand, if your hold is right-handed).

Tip: Have “smart” hands. Move your hands to where the ball is going.

This activity is one of my favorites. Take an empty plastic milk container and cut off the bottom. Turn it upside down and you can play Milk Container Catch.

Milk Container Catch

Softball Toss

A fun game you can buy is a Velcro Paddle Toss.

Tip: Make all these activities into games. Count how many in a row you can catch the ball. Say a letter of the alphabet for each successful catch and see how far you can get.