Has your child just learned a new skill? A toddler’s natural curiosity is now exploding as they can discover much more than before.
Moving is not just important to your toddler’s physical development. It is also important for learning and exploring their world.
When toddlers move, they develop their:
- Large muscle strength: Practice, practice, practice! Moving helps toddlers develop large muscle control. Run. Jump. Throw. Hop. Step. Climb. Dance.
- Coordination: Toddlers are learning how to get their arms and legs to work together.
- Thinking skills: Toddlers use problem-solving skills as they use their body in different ways, such as climbing up, over, in or through things.
- Confidence: Self-confidence grows with each new physical accomplishment. Verbally encourage your child’s accomplishments, however small, so your child feels strong and capable.
Questions about your child’s development? Find a Sanford Health pediatrician.
Make moving fun
Toddlers love to jump, twirl, hop, roll and climb. Help them expend some energy with these easy fun activities:
- Dance like an animal: Sing “Old McDonald” and move like each animal. When moving like an animal your toddler is also using their imagination.
- Set up an obstacle course: Use tape to create walking paths, boxes to walk around or crawl through and pillows to climb on.
- Have a forest adventure: Arrange chairs in a play area as trees in a forest. Add some stuffed animals and other objects of your choice in the trees. Join your toddler in moving through the forest like different animals.
Moving time is learning time
When toddlers are busy moving, it’s prime time for learning! Try these ideas:
- A pond of colors: Set up squares of colored paper on the floor like lily pads in water. Have your toddler jump from one square to the other as you name the color your toddler lands on.
- Alphabet hide and seek: Take alphabet blocks and hide them in easy to find places for your toddler to bend, climb, crawl etc. in order to find the blocks. When your toddler discovers the block, call out, “You found the letter __!”
- Count to the beat: When dancing with your toddler, count aloud to the music beat to introduce your toddler to number sequencing.
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