The Baby Club – Episode 13
Playing with a Ball – Good Parenting Tips
In each episode of The Baby Club we have a ‘What’s in the bag?’ section, and in episode 13 we were playing with a ball. When we were playing with it, you may not have been aware of how much thought had gone into how and why we used it. You might also be interested to know how it inspired other parts of that specific episode. For that reason and to provide some tips for parents, I have written Nigel’s Baby Club Diaries. Hopefully they will help you see:-
- How important your interactions with very young children are.
- Why they can help with learning.
- Ideas for verbal interactions you can have with your baby.
- That you are not alone in your thoughts.
- That dads shouldn’t be embarrassed about getting involved too.
The information you will find here draws on Peeple’s Learning Together Programme. Peeple and the Foundation Years Trust charities were consultants on The Baby Club. As with anything regarding your baby, if you have any queries you should speak to your health visitor. They will be able to provide help and support with questions you may have.
Things you can do with a ball?
During episode 13 we were playing with a ball. You may have seen us touching the ball, playing peek-a-boo with the ball, and rolling the ball on our tummies. All of these help develop different aspects of your baby’s basic skills, and I will discuss these in a moment. But first I would like to give you a couple more ideas and things to look out for when you are trying this at home. These ideas are good as your baby gets older and you want to develop more complex skills.
- Try sitting on the floor across from your baby and rolling a ball towards them. This is great for eye co-ordination, hand eye co-ordination, and developing muscle tone.
- Encourage your child to roll or throw the ball back. This is a fantastic opportunity to develop language. Simple phrases such as ‘Where’s the ball?’, ‘Pass it to daddy’, ‘Ready steady go’ are a good start and the more repetition, encouragement and smiles the more your baby will get involved and understand.
- Use the ball or more than one ball during songs. If you are using more than one you can use them to reinforce numbers.
What areas does this activity help with?
Nearly all activities are a good opportunity to develop language and understanding. This one is good for learning the words ‘Ball’, ‘Roll’, ‘Throw’. And maybe if you have a toddler or more than one ball colours can be introduced.
Coordination & Muscle Tone
Hand eye co-ordination is the big one here. Being able the get a hand to the ball is something adults don’t even think about. But when you are this young that can be quite a task. Regular activities like this will speed up co-ordination and also help to tone the muscles used.
If you are passing a ball between each other you develop the skill of taking things in turn. We use it during one of our most frequent activities, talking. Having a conversation is based around taking turns. If we all spoke over each other communication would become very difficult. We also use it when playing games and while learning. It’s an essential skill that will help with behaviour and aid good manners later.
Songs and Nursery Rhymes
Songs and nursery rhymes are a huge part of The Baby Club and a fun way for babies and young children to learn. You’ll be surprised how well babies remember information that is delivered in a song. When we were playing with a ball we sang a version of 5 little Monkeys. But there are many nursery rhymes that you could also use. ‘1,2,3,4,5 Once I Caught a Fish Alive’ and ‘5 Fat Sausages’ are good alternatives.
What other objects can I use?
Playing with a Stick
Playing with Paper
Playing with Gloves
Playing with Leaves
Playing with a Saucepan
Playing with Cardboard Tubes
Playing with Bath Toys
Playing with Ribbons
Playing with Socks
Want to learn more?
If you have found this helpful and want to find out more about supporting your child’s learning, please check out Peeple’s Facebook page. If you’re a practitioner, you can find out about the Peep Learning Together Programme and training on the Peeple website, or email Charlotte on firstname.lastname@example.org.