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Best Balls for Kids

Have a ball! These games, activities, and balls for kids help build skills.


Updated June 09, 2014

Preschooler plays t-ball

Help kids master ball skills with right-sized equipment.

Catherine Holecko

Get kids on a roll by stocking your toy box with the best balls for kids. Appealing, age-appropriate toys and sports equipment motivate your child to play and move. Plus, right-sized balls for kids help them master skills (like throwing and catching), which in turn builds confidence.

Best Balls for Kids: Babies and Toddlers

Little ones can build both small and large motor skills by exploring balls of different sizes and textures. Help your baby roll them back and forth or drop them onto the floor to see if they bounce. Try:

  • Soft, plush balls
  • Textured rubber balls
  • Inflatable beach balls
  • Tennis balls
  • Ping-pong balls
  • A ball pit (or make your own—buy 6- to 8-inch soft plastic balls, add to play yard or wading pool)

Best Balls for Kids: Preschoolers

Between ages 3 and 5, kids are beginning to master kicking, throwing and catching. Large, lightweight balls are easier for them to manipulate and will be less frustrating. Many of these can be used indoors and out:

  • Inflatable beach balls
  • Rubber playground balls
  • Lightweight plastic baseball or softball (with "fat bat" and tee)
  • Foam balls
  • Mini basketball and hoop

Best Balls for Kids: Grade-Schoolers

By age 6, your child may be ready to try real sports balls (with appropriate safety gear, such as shin guards for soccer and a batting helmet for baseball). She may enjoy playing ball games (from foursquare to kickball to badminton) with other kids. Depending on your child's interests, keep on hand:

  • Playground balls
  • Baseballs/softballs and mitts
  • Soccer balls and a net (or improvise with traffic cones or cardboard boxes)
  • Basketballs and a hoop
  • Footballs
  • Tennis balls
  • Foam balls for indoor play (think Nerf)

Best Balls for Kids: Middle Schoolers

By this time, your child's preferences are probably clear, and you're tripping over his ball of choice. For fun family ball games (if you have the backyard space), consider:

  • Badminton
  • Croquet
  • Blongo ball, also called ladder golf (compare prices)
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