Throw and Roll a Ball to Improve Gross Motor Skills

Throw and Chase a Ball for Gross Motor Development - Moms Have Questions Too

What is a fun activity for toddlers that will help improve gross motor skills?

Just for some background, Smiley Man’s first word was ball. He loves balls. In fact, I’m pretty sure the only reason he ever got around to crawling was because he would push a ball, then go crawl to it. Every once and awhile, my sweet husband and I take our boys to the dollar store to choose a toy just for fun. Smile Man has chosen a ball all but one of those times. So, yeah, I like to incorporate balls into Smiley Man’s gross motor development for obvious reasons.

Throw and Chase a Ball for Gross Motor Development - Moms Have Questions Too

Luckily for you, today’s gross motor game is really fun for all toddlers, not just mine. You can start by rolling a ball back and forth between you and your toddler. This game is SO simple to an adult, but I have yet to meet a toddler that doesn’t love it. Plus, simple game that requires no thought that ALSO keeps your toddler mega happy, is always a win win.

Roll a Ball for Gross Motor Development - Moms Have Questions Too

Next, try throwing a ball to your toddler and having him or her throw it back to you. Obviously you can try to teach your toddler how to catch the ball, but don’t worry too much about catching until your toddler is around 4 or 5. Smiley Man never catches the ball, but he tries every time and he always laughs with delight when the ball catches him off guard again.

Catch a Ball for Gross Motor Development - Moms Have Questions Too

The last activity is probably the best for gross motor skills. Have your child throw (or roll) the ball as far as he or she can. Next, have him run to the ball as fast as he can. Just a tip, if you run with your toddler and act super excited, your toddler will likely run much faster and be much happier. Once your toddler gets to the ball, he should simply pick up the ball and throw it again. Smiley Man will do this over and over and over. I usually start playing the game with him and run each time he throws the ball. After a while, I offer encouragement, but don’t run with him. After a few times of that, I just sit and watch or go and do something else. Smiley Man can still keep himself entertained for a good 30 minutes.

Chase a Ball for Gross Motor Development - Moms Have Questions Too

These three games are super fun for toddler boys and girls alike. They have obvious gross motor practice. The running alone is wonderful for getting your child moving. If you play the running game on an uneven surface (like a hill, over bark, on the beach, etc.) it offers even more gross motor skills development. So, get a ball and go out and have some gross motor fun with your toddler!

*Want to see more themed activities like this for toddlers or preschoolers? Check out our store page where our toddler and preschool series are compiled into Activity Packs for only $1.99! The Activity Packs are full of lesson plans, printables, and a curriculum guide.


  1. Throwing and chasing is one of my daughter’s favorite’s too! We’ve recently played with a big exercise ball and that adds a new challenge/twist to the game.

    1. I love your idea to use an exercise ball! Smiley Man loves playing with the ones at grandma and grandpa’s house, but we don’t have any at our house. Sounds like we need to make a trip to the store. :)

  2. These pics are so adorable!! I haven’t brought out a ball in a while — just me and my son– but he played with my friend in her yard the other day and I couldn’t believe how well he was kicking it — I have to make it a point to just play ball :)

    1. It seems like I always forget the simple things (playdough, painting, chalk, throwing a ball, etc.) unless I constantly remind myself to do them. I always think I have to do something unique, but it’s usually the simple things that my kids love the most. Thank you so much for your comment!

  3. Thanks for linking this post to Tuesday Tots. Just letting you know that I am featuring it in this week’s TT features on Learn with Play at home :)

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