Step aside, A-Rod! Between the ages of 3 and 5, most kids develop the ability to throw a ball overhand. It's a more complex skill than the scoop-toss that most toddlers use. To master it, your future Hall of Famer has to have developed everything from balance to shoulder-muscle strength, says Andrew Adesman, M.D., chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Schneider Children's Hospital in New Hyde Park, NY.
Of course, it's not uncommon for one or more of those abilities to lag. To help your tyke get in the game:
"A simple tug-of-war match is a great way to work arm and shoulder muscles," says Vickie Dakin, a pediatric physical therapist in Tampa, FL. "So is climbing a rope ladder in the playground."
Bring the game inside by encouraging your kid to toss "balls" of all shapes -- yarn balls, sponges, even pieces of laundry. Set up hoops, or have him try throwing over a rope or into a basket.
Repeat, repeat, repeat
"Once he gets it, repetition reinforces the skill," Dakin says. "The more fun you make it, the quicker he'll master it."