There is no greater joy for a very young child than playing with a ball. Hardly can it walk – and already does it roll it away, so as to run after it and pick it up again. A three year old is already able to catch a ball, thrown from a distance, and throw it back. The older the child ,the more one can stretch the distance and introduce a few challenges , such as throwing the ball backwards trough spread legs, or bouncing it and catching again, or throwing it high up and catching again…
What is important here is, that the child learns to open itself towards the flying ball , to embrace and catch it; not shying away from it with fear.
From the very beginning we should try and help the child to always catch and throw the ball with its hands,and not to kick it with the feet. It should be experienced as a playful beginning of the gesture of “giving and receiving”. (This implies, naturally that the adult gives the good example!) Playing in this way the child has to bend down a lot. Which is, from the health point of view a very welcome, though unconscious, physical training.
The gesture of kicking objects with one’s feet can unfortunately be extended to other things as well: such as toys to be cleared away. Or even playmates in certain situations…!