The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE, 1995) has developed benchmarks that suggest that by the time a child completes kindergarten he/she should be able to toss a ball and catch it before in bounces two times, and be able to throw a variety of objects, demonstrating both accuracy and force.
Participating in activities such as the "Balloon toss" will provide children with opportunities for throwing and catching skill practice. This activity encourages children to focus on looking at the balloon and then wrapping their hands around the balloon when it comes back down close to their body. In order for young children to catch the balloon they must learn to focus their eyes on the object as it travels through the air. It is difficult to catch an object if you are not looking at it.
You can use this time to observe children's throwing and catching skills and record their progression toward reaching benchmarks in this area.
It is fun to see the improvement in your child as he learns how to bounce the balloon up and keep it in the air longer, before it falls to the ground.
Blow up several balloons and toss them back and forth. You can fill them with water for more fun!
Suggestion: Ideally a 'Punch Ball Balloon' should be used to initiate this activity. 'Punch ball balloons' are made of a thick rubber or latex material making them very durable. The balloons move slowly through the air so children have a better opportunity to learn to throw and catch. Balloons should be inflated to a diameter of about 14-16 inches. The large rubber band that sometimes comes with these balloons should be discarded
Initially, encourage your child to throw the balloon only a few feet into the air. As he develops this skill, he will learn to toss the balloon higher
Variations: Try moving closer to each other and farther away from each other. Try using different body parts (hands, elbows, heads) for keeping the balloon up in the air
Note: Balloons should not be used with children under the age of three
Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.