What do you see in the picture above? A plastic bottle and a ball?
You know what my kids see in the picture above? A bat and a ball. An opportunity to PLAY!
That's what KokoD has been occupying himself (and me) with the last few days. He would ask me to throw the ball and he would bat it with the bottle.
I believe children have an affinity for balls. That's why my house has several types and sizes of balls - football, basketball, rubber ball, golf ball, small ball, big ball, exercise ball etc.... Balls are great for children's physical development.
You could start playing ball with your kids as early as 8 months old. Well, that's what I did with Baby D. I would sit opposite him and roll the ball, bounce the ball, throw the ball etc.... And the whole time naming the actions so he would pick up on the vocabulary (by the way, I learned this at Kindermusik). Eventually, he learned to throw the ball too. Watch the short video below. Sorry it's so dark. Obviously my video making skills have need of improvement :)
After learning to throw the ball, he learned to throw other things too. Hehehe. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea after all. But anyway, that little ball could occupy him for quite a while. He would throw it and then chase after it. Then put it in his mouth. Then drop it and chase after it again.
Other kinds of ball play as the kids grow:
1. Football or soccer. Kids just love kicking a ball around.
2. Just simple throw and catch. Might be mundane to you after a while but the kids love it coz' they are learning a new skill.
3. Teach them to bounce the ball, as they do in basketball.
4. Play "monkey". If there are no other siblings, you'll need 2 parents for this.
5. Throw the ball into a basket or box (target throwing).
6. Bowling. Recycle all those plastic bottles. Line them up and have your kid roll the ball to knock them over.
7. If you don't have time to play with them, teach them to throw the ball against a wall and then catch it. Or just toss it into the air and then catch.
8. Besides using the plastic bottle as a bat, my kids also use the bottle like a golf club or hockey stick to whack the ball.
Mamas Bag of Tricks:
Fill your house with all sorts of balls. Not only is it fun to play but helps build physical skills and coordination. Don't just limit yourself to building up their intelligence. Build up their ball sense too.