As far as kids are concerned, balls are, well, a ball. After all, they roll when you push them, fly when you kick them, and often bounce when you drop them -- introducing tots to the concepts of cause and effect, gravity, and just plain ol' fun. Roll one to a sitting baby and she'll likely shriek with joy and may even try to roll it back. As she gets older, try these toddler-friendly ball games.
Once your tot has mastered rolling a ball, set out a large basket and let her take a shot at throwing the ball into it. (Ages 15 months and up)
Help foster your child's coordination with this simplified version of the classic Italian target game. To play, gather a trio of balls. Give one to your tot, keep one for yourself, and toss the third onto the ground in front of you. Then take turns trying to move the third ball by rolling your balls into it. To start, use larger balls, such as beach balls, then work your way down to smaller ones as your child gets the hang of the game. Eventually, you might add an end goal, such as knocking the ball against a tree or to a cheering grandparent. (Ages 18 months and up)
Give your child a small ball and two instructions: where to put it, and what to do while she's holding it there. You might tell her to put the ball under her chin and spin in a circle or to try walking with the ball between her knees. The goal is to follow your directions without dropping the ball. (Ages 2 years and up)