Infants and toddlers learn as they move around their environment. Some children need a little extra encouragement to develop key motor skills. Here are some ideas to help you encourage more movement in daily activities and routines.
Reach, grasp, and grab.
- Hold toys where an infant can see them and encourage her to reach for the toy.
- Say, “So big!” and encourage your child to raise her arms high.
- Dance and wave your arms with scarves, bells, or shakers.
- Encourage children to feed themselves with age-appropriate finger foods.
- Fill baskets and containers with toys and encourage your child to reach in and grasp.
Roll, scoot, crawl, and dance.
- Encourage rolling, crawling, scooting, cruising, walking, running, and dancing.
- Help them play in many positions: sitting, kneeling, standing, and laying on their backs and tummies.
- Play some music and have a dance party with your child.
- Encourage children to bend, reach, and squat by placing toys in low baskets and on higher surfaces.
- Help children climb a pile of sofa cushions, push a laundry basket, or climb in and out of a large box.
Kick, stand, cruise, and walk.
- Sing nursery rhymes that encourage children to be aware of their feet, such as “This Little Piggy.”
- Encourage your child to cruise along the length of a sofa or low table by putting toys on it.
- Show children how to walk in different ways: tiptoes, backward, stomping, jumping, hopping, etc.
- Help children explore ramps, stairs, and different surfaces by holding their hands and being prepared to catch children so they are safe.
- Help your child move her legs through water in the bath or pool.
Move indoors, outdoors—anywhere!
- Playgrounds, sidewalks, fields, and natural spaces all provide room for movement.
- Indoor shopping malls, community gymnasiums, or the library children’s department may have spaces for moving when the weather keeps you inside.
- Your home can be rearranged to provide safe floor spaces for infants and toddlers to creep, crawl, and roll. For example, pushing a coffee table out of the way can provide more open floor space.
- “Secret places,” such as under a table or behind the sofa, are places your child may enjoy crawling. Then he can surprise you with a game of “peekaboo.”
Work with your EI team to choose strategies that target the skills your child needs to work on.
- EI Newsletter: Volume 29, Issue 4 (Winter 2017)