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Good Throw!

By 21 months, your child should be able to toss a small ball in your general direction. She'll have enough body awareness to realize that her arm can move separately from the rest of her, and she'll have the coordination to figure out when to let go of the ball. To help get that pitching arm in shape:

[BOLD {* Roll it.}] When you're sitting together on the floor, roll a ball or some wadded-up socks back and forth. She'll get the basic idea  -- and you can enjoy a low-key activity before the real throwing starts.

[BOLD {* Get close.}] For your first few games of catch, stand right in front of her. She won't be able to catch the ball very well, but she can mimic your throw.

[BOLD {* Set up target practice.}] Give her goals, such as throwing her napkin into the trash or her pjs into the laundry basket.

Be prepared for the downside to this skill: Pretty soon your cell phone or coffee mug may go flying. Explain when something's off-limits, but try to keep that stuff out of reach, too!

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