Toddler Building with blocks

Why Your Toddler Throws Things And How To Reign It In

Get ready for an exciting journey as we dive into the fascinating behavior of toddler throwing and discover how to guide those flying objects. As experts in child development and Montessori, we're here to share some playful and fun strategies with you. Let's embark on this adventure together!


Why do our little ones love to throw things? Well, it's a thrilling exploration of cause and effect, a chance to experiment with gravity, and a way to refine their motor skills. Through throwing, they unleash their boundless curiosity and gleeful giggles!



Why your toddler throws stems from several factors:


  1. Sensory Exploration: Toddlers are sensory beings, eager to engage with their environment. When they throw objects, they experience the tactile sensation of releasing something from their hands, hearing the sound it makes, and observing its trajectory through the air. This multi-sensory experience captivates their attention and satisfies their innate curiosity. And creates a new activity with the toy or object - a great clue that they have either mastered its purpose or find it too challenging right now.


  2. Cause and Effect: Toddlers are fascinated by cause and effect relationships. When they throw objects, they witness a direct impact on their surroundings. They observe how a thrown ball bounces or how a dropped toy lands with a thud. This cause-and-effect discovery is a fundamental part of their cognitive development as they learn about the consequences of their actions.


  3. Motor Skills Development: Throwing involves complex motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination, arm strength, and spatial awareness. By practicing throwing, toddlers enhance their fine and gross motor skills, refining their ability to aim and control the force exerted on objects. This activity meets a need for their physical development and is essential for their overall growth and prepares them for future activities like catching, kicking, and throwing with more precision.


  4. Expression of Emotions: Toddlers may also throw objects as a way to express their emotions. They might throw a toy out of frustration or even excitement. It's their way of exerting control over their environment or releasing pent-up energy. Understanding and acknowledging their emotions can help redirect their throwing tendencies towards healthier outlets.

Toddler throwing a ball outside
Play. Learn. Thrive.

Strategies for when your toddler throws:

Strategies for when your toddler throws:

While understanding the reasons behind toddler throwing is essential, it's equally important to guide them toward appropriate behavior and keep both your child and your belongings safe. Here are some strategies to help you navigate this exciting phase:

  1. Set Up a Safe Zone: Designate a specific play area where throwing is encouraged. Fill it with soft balls, bean bags, or stuffed animals. By creating this dedicated space, you provide an outlet for their throwing desires while safeguarding fragile objects in the house from unexpected takeoffs.
  2. Engage in Playful Alternatives: Introduce your toddler to other ways of exploring cause and effect. Build towers with blocks that can be knocked down or stack cups that can be toppled. These engaging activities redirect their throwing energy and keep them immersed in constructive play.
  3. Offer Engaging Diversions: Sometimes, toddlers throw objects out of boredom or a desire for attention. Keep them entertained with stimulating toys, books, or sensory activities. Engaging their curious minds and active hands will reduce their tendency to launch unsuspecting items into the air.
  4. Seek Montessori-inspired Activities: Incorporate Montessori principles into your toddler's playtime. Offer open trays or baskets with objects that can be explored and handled, like cloth or wooden blocks, allowing them to engage their senses and develop their fine motor skills without the need for throwing.
Toddler about to throw a stuffed animal
FirstCry Parenting

5. Communicate and Redirect: While toddlers may not have mastered complex language, they understand more than we often realize. Use simple, clear language to explain why throwing certain things is not safe or acceptable. Offer alternative actions like rolling a ball or clapping hands to redirect their throwing impulses.


6. Encourage Clean-Up Time: Teach your little one the joy of responsibility by involving them in picking up the objects they throw. Make it a challenge or sing a cleanup song as you both save the day, rescuing wayward items from their gravity-defying adventures.


7. Observe and Adjust the Environment: Keep a watchful eye on your toddler's surroundings. Are there too many tempting objects within their reach? Are breakables too close for comfort? Adjust the layout of their play area, ensuring fragile items are out of reach and precious family heirlooms are displayed safely elsewhere.


8. Patience and Consistency when your Toddler Throws: Remember, change takes time. Be patient and consistent in redirecting their throwing impulses. With gentle reminders and positive reinforcement, your little explorer will gradually understand that some things are meant to stay grounded. Celebrate their progress along the way!

Toddler playing at a table
Pathways.org

More Ideas For When Your Toddler Throws

Introduce Target-Based Activities: Set up a small target area using baskets, buckets, or hula hoops. Encourage your toddler to aim and throw objects into the target. This helps refine their hand-eye coordination and adds an element of challenge to their throwing adventures.


Outdoor Play: Take advantage of outdoor spaces where your toddler can freely explore and throw objects without the worry of damaging household items. Provide safe outdoor toys like balls, frisbees, or flying discs that are designed for throwing and catching.


Sensory Play with Textures: Expand your toddler's sensory experiences by incorporating different textures into their play. Fill bins with rice, sand, or dried beans, and hide objects for them to discover and throw gently. This allows them to explore different sensations while practicing control.


Engage in Open-Ended Play: Provide materials like scarves, ribbons, or streamers that your toddler can throw and watch float through the air. Open-ended play encourages creativity and imagination while allowing them to indulge in their throwing instincts in a controlled manner.


Teach the Concept of Soft and Hard Objects: Differentiate between objects that are safe to throw, like soft toys, and those that are not, such as hard or breakable items. Through repetition and gentle reminders, toddlers will begin to understand the difference and make more informed choices.


Collaborative Play: Engage in interactive games with your toddler that involve throwing, such as tossing a ball back and forth or playing catch. This not only strengthens the parent-child bond but also provides an opportunity for them to learn turn-taking and cooperation.



Remember, every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Stay attuned to your toddler's needs, interests, and developmental stage as you navigate the throwing phase. Embrace the journey, celebrate their milestones, and enjoy the precious moments of growth and discovery together.


In the end, throwing is just a part of your toddler's exploration and development. With patience, consistency, and a playful approach, we can guide them towards safer and more purposeful ways of engaging with their surroundings. So, embark on this adventure with confidence, and let the fun-filled throwing adventures begin! ๐ŸŒŸ๐Ÿš€๐Ÿ‘ถ๐ŸŒˆ


Keep nurturing your little explorer, dear parents, and enjoy this remarkable stage of their journey. You're doing an amazing job!


Black mother and baby snuggling
BBCโ€‹โ€‹

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