The toddler years are such an important developmental period for all areas, including the muscles. Gross motor skills are those skills that allow a person to successfully complete big movements— rolling over, jumping and throwing, for example. Fine motor skills are the skills that allow a person to successfully complete tasks using the muscles in their hands.
During the toddler years, the muscles that are used to complete both gross and fine motor movements are developing at a rapid rate. For that reason, it is vital to offer children activities that encourage the development of their muscles.
There are several fun ways and simple ways that you can aide in the successful development of your child’s muscles, and thus can improve gross motor skills.
This age-old schoolyard game is an excellent way to encourage development of the large muscles in the legs and arms. It’s also tons of fun and easy to do at home.
Grab some sidewalk chalk and draw up a hopscotch board on your driveway or walkway. Let your toddler toss a rock onto the board (great for developing the muscles in the arms,) and hop to wherever the rock landed (promoting development of the leg muscles.) This activity is also great for teaching number recognition, as you can review the numbers that are drawn within the board as your toddler plays.
Waster Paper Basket Ball
Another simple activity, waste paper basketball encourages the development of arm muscles.
Empty out a trash can and set it on the floor. Wad scrap or waste paper into balls. Let your toddler try tossing the “ball” into the “basket.” You’ll get tons of laughs while encouraging gross motor development, as well as hand-eye coordination.
Kids love creating, and this activity allows them to be creative while developing their fine motor skills.
Set out beads in different sizes, shapes and colors, along with some yarn. Encourage your toddler to thread the beads onto the yarn, creating a necklace. You can review colors, sizes and shapes, too!
Encouraging motor skill development in your child is easy, fun and a wonderful way to spend quality time together.