There are many activities you can do while at home to help enhance your toddler’s motor skills, which will help pave the way towards them being more independent. Every milestone is a triumph and as your child begins to advance their skills, you’ll see them improve in more ways than one – cognitively, socially and emotionally.
During this time, toddlers, ages 1-3, will start to develop both fine and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills are defined as the movements we make with the small muscles in our hands. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, by helping your toddler master fine motor skills, this will allow him or her to discover a whole new world of opportunity, while enhancing their learning ability and creative expression. Gross motor skills are just as important as they require the larger muscles of the body to perform functions that require full-body movement.
ACTIVITIES FOR FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Developing fine motor skills is essential for your child to be able to eventually do homework, play guitar, paint and create with their hands. According to the Children’s Therapy and Resource Centre, at this time in your toddler’s life, you should be able to see them point to pictures, zip and un-zip their clothes, remove their own socks, scribble with crayons, feed themselves with a spoon and imitate drawing a line. You can help advance their motor skills with cheap and fun activities that you can easily find around the house.
- Boost your child’s creativity through finger-painting or drawing with crayons
- Create necklaces by stringing beads
- Play with Play-Doh or create home-made slime
- Play with puzzles
- Build with blocks
- Help with cooking – pouring their drink into a cup, stirring and setting the table
- Play catch with a small ball
ACTIVITIES FOR GROSS MOTOR SKILLS
Without gross motor skills, we would have the inability to perform everyday activities such as getting dressed, driving, walking and even sitting upright. According to the World Health Organization, children from the age of one should have at least 3 hours of daily physical activity, which include gross motor skills, to improve health.
- Have a dance party with your toddler
- Jump on the trampoline, or if you don’t have one, play “the floor is lava” and have them jump place-to-place on the floor.
- Play hopscotch
- Teach them how to ride a tricycle using the pedals
- Go on a walk through your neighborhood
- Kick a ball back-and-forth
- Play Tag or Simon Says
Another fun, DIY-project that will leave your toddler entertained is to create a sensory bin using household items. A sensory bin is a way for a toddler to stimulate their five senses, which will strengthen their fine and gross motor skills, enhance learning, social interaction and will even soothe an anxious toddler. First, you want to start with an empty container. Next, you want to start with a base, like dry pasta, sand, mud, cooked pasta or popcorn kernels. Next, you add a bunch of miscellaneous household items of different shapes, textures and colors. For example, you can add some blocks, buttons or cotton balls. Lastly, you want to add in tools that you child can measure with, such as, funnels, scoops or strainers. Playing with the sensory bin, will help teach your toddler how to count, observe and measure, and the touch of the different textures will provide a calming effect, which is also beneficial due to the chaotic time we’re currently living in. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to witness your toddler slowly learning how to maneuver and explore on their own.
*Always supervise children around sensory bin and any small pieces.
by Taylor Mclamb