Motor skills are something incredibly important for any toddler to learn and train and the possibilities virtually are endless. There are your usual textbooks as to what can be done, there are games that foster these skills, but you can help them with almost anything in the household in various ways, both in developing and maintaining or fine-tuning. And some of these things may even help you in your every day activities as well. We have compiled some very easy, but also very effective ways to aid your child, in no particular order.
Disclaimer: At all times you should monitor your child(ren) to avoid potential accidents and injuries!
- Let him help you put your belt through the loopholes, not only is it a great way to help with aiming and handling, but also gives him a sense of achievement by having helped Mom or Dad to actually get dressed, which is always a big confidence booster.
- In the bathtub you have a myriad of opportunities, you can have him transfer water between different containers, spoons, cups, bottles.
- Fill a bin/tub with beans and, just like with the water in the bathtub, have him transfer beans into different containers, with his fingers, a spoon, a sugar shovel, kitchen tongs, you can even add learning about volume by having him fill containers full and half. (Christmas sensory bin (small things), Sensory bath – kitchen fun in the tub!)
- Pick up spilled beans (if you work with beans in a bin/tub, this is bound to happen and picking those up with thumb and index finger is trickier than even an adult would think) (Sensory beans)
- Have him stick clothespins to a piece of cardboard, great for both strength in fingers and aim.
- Find an old padlock and have him practice put the key in and out.
- Put a 4×4 in your backyard (level, of course), put a plank up against it and you can help with aim and balance, you can even add hula hoops to walk through and/or put them on the ground and have him jump from hoop to hoop. (Inexpensive balance beam and outdoor fun)
- Let him unscrew juice or other plastic bottle lids.
- Any building blocks (Lego, MegaBloks, bristle blocks etc) are great to help both motor skills, aim and also creativity, so they’re a multipurpose “weapon”
- Depending on your confidence in the child, let them put their own straws into juice boxes, great for aiming, even though if they press too hard, you may have some decorative juice splatter on your table/chair/couch/toddler/etc.
- A lot of things around the kitchen are very helpful in this matter, mostly in the baking/cooking department. Depending on the age of the child they can pour, stir and even cut (obviously no sharp knives), once again also giving them another sense of achievement and it is great together-time as well. (Glittering Muffins kitchen)
- Watering flowers (preferably outside, due to potential, eh, accidents) or herbs, depending on the age this could also be a lesson in taking care of things on their own, fostering a flower or something like that.
- Cleaning toys with wipies/washcloths not only teaches the motor skills, but also cleanliness and responsibility for keeping their own stuff in order.
- If you have some leftover washers from assembling something, take a pipe cleaner and have the child thread them on it, great way to help with aim.
- While assembling things, he can tighten wing-nuts or nuts in general, which is not only good for motor skills, but also for strength in those little fingers. (Time with Papa – Building a BBQ, Time With Papa – Building A Little Swing, Time with Papa – assembling of storage)
- Have him pick-up pompoms with regular mittens, it is completely different picking something up if you can’t fully use your hands. (Pompoms pick up – Inexpensive fun game for toddlers)
- Cut a regular kitchen sponge into about half an inch thick sticks and have the child build a tower with them
- Putting coins into a bank is a very good way to build motor skills, both by picking them up and then putting them into the slot. If you want to go one step further, you can even have different banks for the different coins and have the toddler separate them into the right bank. (Sorting coins)
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