Gross Motor Activities for Toddlers
Since children between the ages of one and two are naturally curious about everything, it is also easier to grab their attention and keep them engaged and moving. It is the perfect time for their gross motor abilities to improve by leaps and bounds before preschool.
If you need a little inspiration on how to encourage your child’s gross motor development, consider the following suggested activities to help make the process fun for everyone involved.
Top Gross Motor Activities for Toddlers
Do a Balance Challenge
Use a toddler-friendly or foam step to help your toddler practice balancing. This activity can improve coordination, leg strength, weight distribution, and familiarity with texture and touch. Low steps are the perfect way to begin practicing for stairs children might encounter as they get older. Your toddler will also love to use a step to reach for a favorite toy on the table or counter.
Play with Big Paper and Paint
For many toddlers, nothing is better than the hands-on use of colors. Roll out a giant sheet of paper (the bigger, the better). Then set up giant trays of primary colors and allow your child to create handprints and footprints. This activity encourages stretching and reaching as well as leg, arm, and core strength. Concerned about the mess? You can still roll out the paper but use a product like Crayola Color Wonder Markers instead. These broad markers allow your child to engage in hours of mess-free coloring.
Saddle Up to a Slide
A backyard toddler slide is a wonderful treat for little ones. This gentle playground equipment helps children build gross motor skills through climbing and stretching. And if your child needs encouragement, toddler slides are usually big enough for a favorite teddy or doll to slide along with your little one.
Partake in Toddler Yoga
Who says yoga is only for adults? Fun and easy poses like the Tree or Downward Dog is a great way for your child to develop leg and core strength. For guidance, start by reading your child a picture book like Little Yoga: A Toddler’s First Book of Yoga by Rebecca Whitford. Not only can such books encourage your child’s imagination and vocabulary, but such stories can also show them that anyone can join in the active fun. Looking for more of an outdoor activity? You can also sign your child up for a toddler tennis course.
Bring Out the Building Blocks
As timeless favorites, giant building blocks can help your child practice with reaching, lifting, and stacking. Arranging blocks in creative ways can heighten your child’s imagination and motor-visual integration. Plus, standing up and running to knock down a block tower will also help a toddler build core and leg strength without even realizing it.
Take on a Toddler Obstacle Course
A simple obstacle course is a great way for your toddler to develop motor control and expend any extra energy. Try using an obstacle course made of giant soft foam or similar child-friendly materials.
Capture the Fun of Clean-Up
While cleaning up may feel like a chore to adults, toddlers love this opportunity to start feeling like a “big boy or girl.” After completing all your favorite gross motor development activities, do not miss the chance to find another application with clean-up time. Easy clean-up activities like picking up and putting away toys can help with motor control, balance, and muscle strengthening. If your toddler needs help developing a routine, try singing a song like “Clean Up Everybody” by Barney or “Happy Mess” by Harry the Bunny.
For more information on gross motor development or to inquire about intervention services for toddlers, contact The Warren Center.