At 12 1/2 months, Ellie's figured out how to kick a ball around. It was a joyful discovery.
Even without considering sports, it's amazing how much a child can learn from a ball. Motion, inertia, tracking, the geometry of bouncing angles. A simple ball invites experimentation and cooperative play. Balls are the most open-ended toy ever invented.
When Riley was little, one of his favorite activities was to search for forlorn tennis balls at Mattocks Park. He almost always succeeded--then we'd make up games to play with it before tossing it back in the grass for the next kid to find.
Duncan, on the other hand, has always been partial to the ball crawl, especially the one at the City Museum in St. Louis.
What would childhood be without a ball to kick around? No downloaded app can beat the simple playground ball for the pleasure of play.