As a mom of two boys I spend a lot of time playing ball. Big C likes anything ball related, he doesn’t discriminate. He also likes to kick any type of ball. It doesn’t matter if that isn’t the purpose of the ball, he will kick the ball. In watching him kick the ball the other day my physical therapist mind started going. I started to observe all the skills needed for kicking!
Learning To Kick
Kicking is a skill that starts to emerge around 18 months. At this point you may see kids just tap the ball a little ways in front of them. By the age of 3 you will start to see your kiddo be able to give the ball more of a ride when they are kicking! At around approximately 5 years old you will see your kiddo be able to run up to a rolling ball and kick it with force.
Skills Needed For Kicking
Balance – In order to kick a ball you must pick up your foot on the leg kicking. This means that you are using single leg balance. When you first see your little one trying to kick and they just tap the ball a big part of that is that they are limited on the amount of time that they can stand on one foot. As your kiddos balance improves so does their ability to kick.
Coordination – Your child needs the coordination to have their foot meet the ball. Initially they are just able to tap the ball. By around 3 years of age you will start to see your child kick the ball with their right foot while swinging their left arm or vice versa (the two sides of the brain are talking to each other!). As your child’s coordination improves they will be able to run up to a ball at rest and kick it. By around 5 years of age you will see your child be able to perform this kicking motion while moving their body towards a moving ball! Whew…that is a lot of coordination at play!
Power – As your child grows you will notice their ability to put more power behind the ball and the ball will go further and faster when they kick!
Other Kicking Ideas
Balloons – Chasing around a balloon and kicking it can be a fun game!
Block Towers – Especially foam or cardboard blocks are fun to stack and kick down!
Water Puddles – Big C loves to get out after the rain and kick the water up in the puddles!