Juggling is one of the best gross motor activities for teaching hand eye coordination and there is no better time to practice than right now during our Circus theme! Here are a few tips and tricks for teaching your child the beginning steps of our game today; gross motor activities for kids juggling.
WHAT YOU NEED: a few scarves, small balls with similar size and weight
WHAT TO DO: Start with the scarves and have your child try tossing one scarf up and catching it. If this is too easy, he can try two by tossing one with each hand. The scarves have a little float to them and give your child more time to react. Once he can consistently do this, try playing catch with the scarves between two people by having your child throw them up and forward. Cue him to watch the scarves closely with his eyes. Can he throw a scarf up and turn around before catching it? Can he catch a scarf between his legs or behind his back?
HOW TO CHANGE IT UP: Try the same activities with balls. Balls with more weight (e.g. tennis balls) offer more proprioceptive input during the toss and catch phases and can help with learning the pattern of juggling. This sequence of videos from Learn How To Juggle takes you through the progression of using 1-3 balls for juggling.
Start by having your child toss the ball from one hand to the other concentrating on getting the ball high enough so that it is at about eye level. Encourage him to watch the ball as it travels from hand to hand. As this gets easier, have him try tossing it from hand to hand without watching the ball.
This is a bit trickier!! If your child is right-handed, have him start by trying to toss the ball from his left hand to his right hand. Just before he catches that first tossed ball, see if he can then toss the second ball from his right to his left. The goal: see if he can do this without moving their feet!! Remind him that practice makes perfect!!
And finally, if 2 balls just aren’t enough, give him 3 and let him have a go at it. It is the same pattern as above with 2 balls — toss from one hand to the other, tossing the next ball before you catch.
If you can capture the concentration, determination and utter chaos of mastering the skill of juggling in a picture or video, we would love to see it on our Facebook page, or post it on Instagram with #jugglejoy!
SKILL AREAS ADDRESSED: Bilateral coordination, gross motor skills,visual motor integration, balance, motor control