Early Ball Skills

Posted by

Alicia Amsberry, PT, DPT

Time to read

2 minutes

Early Ball Skills typically are not assessed until a child is 12 months of age. Prior to age 12 months, it’s encouraged to give your child various opportunities to play with balls of different sizes and textures. 

  • Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Visual Tracking
  • Cause and Effect
  • Grasping
  • Finger Muscle Strength
  • Spatial Awareness
  • Balance and Coordination 


Ball skills can begin to develop during floor time activities as an infant.

  • Tummy Time: playing with a ball allows for weight shifting and visual tracking, which can lead to rolling over
  • Sitting: rolling a ball back and forth works on balance and taking turns 
  • Crawling: rolling the ball forward can encourage crawling skills


  • O-Balls
    • The o-ball is a lightweight, hollow ball that is easy for infants to grasp and hold. Some o-balls have a rattle sound that provides a cause and effect.
    • *Tip: place a scarf or bandana in the inside of the o-ball for your child to pull out. This activity works on pincer grasp, which is a part of fine motor development.
  • Sensory Balls
    • Sensory balls come in various textures to allow for a baby to enhance tactile skills, sensory awareness, and engage visual senses.

By 12 months a child should be able to:

  • Roll a ball forward, at least 3ft 
  • Throw a ball in standing in any direction
  • Begin to kick a ball forward, without bringing foot off the ground 

If you notice your child not performing these skills, give our office a call. We would be happy to help your child gain these skills. 



Photos: Pixabay