Overarm Throw

Stages of Development

Throwing is a complex skill used in many sports and activities. Most children need to be taught to throw. Overarm and underarm are the most common type of throws. Children can start throwing as soon as they are sitting up. Picking up and throwing beanbags is a fun activity for babies and toddlers. The skill of throwing involves coordinating many parts of the body; the legs, trunk and arms.

Teaching tips

Most children need to be taught to throw, it isn’t a skill they pick up easily or quickly. Start with an invisible ball and practice making a big muscle arm and throwing as hard as you can. Then use beanbags or small balls that little hands can grasp easily. Use KIDDO’s teaching vocabulary for introducing the skill of overarm throwing:

  • Ready: Stand side on like a surfer
  • Make a big muscle arm (with your throwing arm)
  • Aim: Point where you are going to throw
  • Fire: Step and throw


Encourage children to use their opposite foot to throwing arm. This can be done through placing a piece of coloured tape or chalk mark on their shoe of their opposite foot. Providing a marker to step on to can help as well.


Exploring Overarm Throw

Provide opportunities both indoors and outdoors to throw as soon as babies can sit up. Try asking questions such as:

  • How can you throw further?
  • Can you teach me how to throw?
  • Try stepping and throwing – does the ball go further?
  • Lets make some targets to throw at
  • Throw it to me, lets see if I can catch it!

Set up a range of different targets to throw at around your indoor and outdoor areas. There might be parts of your environment children can try to throw over or at. Provide a range of different shaped and sized balls and beanbags to throw with.  Try some of the ideas below to encourage children to engage in throwing activities.

  • Set up a spider web of masking tape in a door way and try throwing scrunched up bits of paper (spiders) at it. How many spiders will stick to the spider web?
  • Build a target out of blocks or buckets and see if you can throw beanbags to know it down
  • Try throwing balls against a wall and see if you can catch them
  • What obstacles in your outdoor environment can you throw over? A log, a wall or a climbing frame?

Try playing some of KIDDO’s fun and age appropriate activities to encourage children to develop and explore the skill of throwing:

  1. Ready, Aim, Fire – set up some fun targets on a wall and see if you can hit them with your throws
  2. Catch the Magical Creatures – set up toys in hoops and try to catch the magical creatures by landing beanbags in the hoops
  3. Clean up the Rubbish – scatter balls over one side of an obstacle and clean up by throwing all the balls (rubbish) to the other side
  4. Hoop Elimination – throw at hoop targets, every time you land a beanbag in a hoop you can remove it

Throwing is a complex skill that involves coordinating many parts of the body. Children will not normally master throwing until the ages of 6-8 years.

  • Children will initially throw with a chopping action with their arm, facing front on
  • As they start to develop the skill they may incorporate a step and trunk rotation.
  • They often firstly step with the same foot as their throwing arm.


More overarm throw activities

Overarm Throw
children moving
Head and neck control, Balancing, Running, Jumping, Catching, Overarm Throw, Kicking (soccer), Walking, Standing, Climbing, Grasping
baby crawling towards ball
Catching, Overarm Throw, Crawling