Ball play – Baby

ball play babyEngaging in ball play with your baby provides lots of opportunities to develop their skills while having fun.

Did you know?

Early ball play helps develop hand-eye coordination.

Try using a large ball and sit opposite your baby.  Roll the ball to your baby then help them to push it back.

Add language

The back and forth turn taking of ball rolling is similar to the turn taking in conversations. It can help to add a word or two while you are playing e.g. “roll the ball” “your turn” “roll to Daddy” The repetition helps your baby learn these early words. Pausing before you roll the ball gives your baby a chance to “ask” for the ball. This may be by them looking and pointing, bouncing their body and reaching out, or vocalizing.

Other development

Ball play helps develop sitting balance as your baby reaches forward or leans to the side to get the ball. Judging distance and tracking (eye movements) are developed as they watch the ball move.


Balloons can be a fun variation for babies, moving more slowly. Be careful your baby does not put balloon pieces in their mouth as they are a choking risk.

Large exercise balls can be fun to use with baby, giving your baby a different experience of their body in space. Hold your baby firmly in sitting and gently bounce or move slowly from side to side. This can also be a fun way to do tummy time which is important for developing muscle strength and control.

Across the ages

All the activities listed on our “Play Ideas” page can be applied across different age groups. See how ball play can be fun for toddlerschildren and playgroups.


Activities listed under “baby” are suitable for children under 12 months. This age is largely about babies exploring their own bodies and the world around them from the safety of a close relationship with their caregiver.