Why does my child like to throw things? The trajectory schema explained

Does your baby repeatedly drop their food from their highchair or throw things out of their pram? Or does your pre-schooler love lining up all their toys up in neat little rows, or making and throwing paper aeroplanes? If the answer is yes, then they most likely have a trajectory schema.
Children with trajectory schemas explore through horizontal and vertical lines.

We know that their fascination with dropping and throwing things isn’t just them being ‘naughty’ but it can be annoying!
What can we do about a trajectory schema?

Sometimes, our children will explore their schemas in ways which we adults find difficult. It’s hard to share their joy when they’re making a mess and throwing things. But by providing activities that support their love of lines we might reduce the unwanted behaviour and help them figure out what they want to know.
Try some of these to give them the learning they want in a way that’s good for the rest of the family too:

  • Throwing at a target
  • Chasing games, like capture the flag
  • Rolling cars down a ramp
  • Add cars, balls or a wooden railway to their toy box

When children are exploring their trajectory schema through these toys and activities, they are studying the movement of objects or themselves through the air.
Your child hurling food from their highchair may be annoying and frustrating for you as an adult, but they are just testing a series of hypothesis:

Will it smash?
Will it splat?
How long will it take to reach the ground?

These early attempts at understanding and manipulating trajectory will soon develop into the more familiar skills of throwing, catching and kicking, before eventually becoming useful skills for driving, tennis and even sending rockets to the moon.

So, you never know, you could have the next Lewis Hamilton, Anna Kournikova or Neil Armstrong on your hands – then the mess will have been worth it!