When you have a toddler, you likely want to help them grow properly to ensure they reach each milestone at the right time. Developing sensory and motor skills is key to helping them perform different types of tasks and have more independence. If you want to help your child develop these skills, there are a few tips and activities to try.
What are Sensory and Motor Skills?
Motor and sensory skills involve children using their large muscles of their arms, legs, and trunk to strengthen their coordination. They also use the smaller muscles in their hands. Developing these types of skills makes it easier to organize the information the brain receives and send it to the different senses.
These matter because they’re the building blocks of your child’s ability to learn and develop. It also has a significant impact on their mood and development.
There are a few different activities that allow you to help your little one become more well-rounded in their abilities. Not only will the different tasks aid in their development, but they will allow them to also have fun each day.
Painting may be messy but works well for helping your child strengthen their hand-eye coordination, along with their manual dexterity. As they learn how to hold a paintbrush, it can be easier for them to hold their spoon or fork as they eat each day. Consider using a paint-by-numbers kit or scratch-and-sniff painting.
Gardening in the front or backyard not only gets your little one outside and teaches them to use their hands more but it also helps develop muscle control and coordination. They’ll have to learn how to hold a shovel and work on their smaller muscle control. As they attempt to dig up a plant or carry a small plant to a hole in the ground, it will help grow their hand-eye coordination.
Play in the Water
During the warmer months of the year, you can head outside and give your child a bowl or cup of water. Provide them with toys to use to suction the water and place it into another cup. Add different colors of water by using food dye to make it a fun activity and allow them to learn their colors.
Making homemade playdough will allow your child to have fun with an activity that requires using their hands and encourages their sensory skills. The thick texture of the dough helps build the muscles in their hands, which can allow them to have more confidence using scissors or a pencil as they get older. Consider giving them different items they can use to poke into the dough, which will boost their coordination over time. Show them how to mash, roll, flatten, and puncture the dough to aid their fine motor development and also strengthen their fine-motor coordination.
Some of the different items they can use to place in the dough include dried pasta noodles, birthday candles, pebbles, shells, buttons, rice, and googly eyes. They can even find different objects in nature to place in their dough.
Take a Dance Break
Dancing is a great activity that most children enjoy at any age. They’ll strengthen their large muscles and can learn how to have better balance as they move their arms and sway their hips side to side. Put on some fast-paced music that gets them excited to move. It will also help your child work on their motor sequencing skills.
Jump on the Trampoline
Purchase a small trampoline to teach your child how to jump up and down, which will allow them to get exercise and is an important part of their sensory diet. Find a mini trampoline with a jump bar to provide them with more stability as they become more confident jumping to avoid accidents or tumbles. By consistently jumping on the trampoline, toddlers become more coordinated and will have more confidence with approaching new types of physical activities they want to try.
Helping your toddler strengthen their motor and sensory skills can help them become more confident with performing different types of tasks and allow them to prepare for preschool. They’ll become more capable of cutting paper with scissors, climbing on playsets, and talking, improving their health and interaction with other people as they get older.
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