Ball Play a Problem? Try Something Sparkly!

My son is one of those children that doesn’t like to play ball- throwing, tossing, catching or kicking – doesn’t matter, because right now* he could care less. (*Note: ¬†I say “right now” because there have been things in the past that he didn’t care about (ex. handwriting) but now he does (because he’s obsessed with names and wants to write them ūüôā ) so don’t dismiss things that your child is not into because they may just not be ready for it. ¬†If at first they aren’t into it, try and introduce it again later! )

What playing ball sports usually looks like in our family- I am attempting to teach him about tennis (surprisingly at his request, although the whole experience lasted about 3 minutes). If you look closely, he has placed the ball upon his shoe and is quite proud of himself!

There are those of you out there who probably cannot believe this, thinking about your own child who would go to “ball” school if they had one. ¬†However, while I once felt all alone, I have met many other parents who have children similar to Andrew. ¬†These children tend to find this an activity that is quite difficult for them, they do¬†not see the purpose in it, and aren’t into playing team games, especially when you add unpredictable kids, loud whistles, yelling and of course all of the rules to remember so the loud whistles and yelling don’t occur.

What I had never really thought about before was all that goes into something as basic as passing a ball-

  • one has to be able to see the ball
  • one has to be able to visually track the ball
  • one has to be able to plan and coordinate lots of muscles in order to throw or catch the ball


For a while I didn’t know if he could do it or not because he wouldn’t look at me or the ball when I would throw it to him. ¬†This resulted in many “mother of the year” moments, bopping him in the chest with a ball ¬†(Now, I wasn’t the only one to do that, the neuropsychologist evaluating him did the same thing!). ¬†While I have no aspirations for him to play professional sports, we do work on ball skills with him to build his visual perception and tracking and motor planning skills.

When the same old, same old doesn’t cut it, try something sparkly to catch their attention!

I found these two balls at Michael’s Arts and Crafts store and thought they would be the perfect addition to a winter themed Obstacle Course.¬†They were also sparkly enough to catch his attention!

My Obstacle Course station idea: "Snowball" tossing

One was filled with some sort of liquid and glitter.  When I saw this sparkly ball it reminded me of a wintery night with the falling snow lit up by the streetlights.

Snowy night ball

The other one was the same size but reminded me more of a large snowflake inside.

Snowflake ball

When he first saw the ball, he was fascinated in the same way that a snow globe fascinates him.

A regular ball becomes a very cold snowball when used in a winter themed Obstacle Course!

In order to build his pretend play skills, I told him that we were going to pretend that they were snowballs and they were VERY cold so we had to pass them back and forth before our hands got too cold.  We tried it, starting close together at first while passing it back and forth.  Eventually we took some steps back and he would actually look at the ball while I had it and would watch it while I tossed it back to him so he could see what was happening inside the ball.  He was engaged because he got to see something he found interesting and I was empowered because I got to see where he was with his ball skills!

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