You're throwing a ball for a toddler to smack with a plastic bat. You toss it gently, slowly, to make it easier. He just can't hit it.
It's because you throw too slowly, a new study finds.
Kids' brains aren't wired for slow motion.
"When you throw something slowly to a child, you think you're doing them a favor by trying to be helpful," said Terri Lewis, professor of psychology at McMaster University. "Slow balls actually appear stationary to a child."
Add a little speed to the pitch, Lewis and her colleagues suggest, and the child is able to judge its speed more accurately.
"Our brain has very few neurons that deal specifically with slow motion and many neurons that deal with faster motion," Lewis said. "Even adults are worse at slow speeds than they are at faster speeds."
Kids' neurons are immature, making the task even more challenging for them.
The study will be detailed in the July issue of Vision Research.
Sign up for the Live Science daily newsletter now
Get the world’s most fascinating discoveries delivered straight to your inbox.