Does anyone have any awesome activities for improving toddler motor skills?

[deleted account] ( 21 moms have responded )

I know my son is already very advanced-- can kick a ball with both feet, loves to dance, has a great arm, colors with both hands, etc. But I want to improve his motor skills. Any ideas?

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Rebekah - posted on 06/15/2011

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Sorting Games

Writing Letters (begin with lines first)

Ties on Scarves and fly like a butterfly

Draw a curvy line with chalk on the driveway and have your son walk the line

Water Painting
Get a bucket of water and a paint brush. Have your son paint the side of the house with water, encourage up/down or side-to-side strokes.

Target Practice
Need: squirt gun and paper cups
Have your son use a water gun to see how many paper cups they knock over from a distance.

Hammering
Need: Nails, Hammer and Wood Piece
Help your son hammer nails into a wood piece. If he can't get it started, start it for him, then have him hammer it.

Hopping on One Foot

Egg Race (Don't Spill - Balance)
Need: spoon; egg (plastic/real)
Set up an obstacle course to have your son take an egg and balance it on a spoon to run through the course.

Scissors (get the child safe ones)
Help your son learn to cut out shapes.

Tweezer Fun
Need: tweezers and small pieces (dried beans; macaroni; cereal) and empty bowl
Show your son how to pick up a piece and put it in the bowl. This helps strengthen the small muscles to develop them so they can later learn how to cut and hold pencils correctly.

Squeezing Fun
Need: eye dropper, 2 bowls, water
Show your child how to transfer from the water from water bowl to empty bowl using an eye dropper.

Stringing Fun
Need: string/yarn; cheerios/beads
String on the cheerios or beads to make a necklace or garland to hang up or bird feeding string for outside.

Clothes Pin Fun
Need: clothes pins; string; 2 chairs; small things to hang (wash cloths; leaves; whatever)
Make a clothes line between 2 chairs. Have your son hang up small articles of clothing or leaves or whatever on the line with a clothes pin. This really develops the small muscles.

Heart Holes
Give your child a paper heart and a hole punch. Show your son how to punch holes around the edge of the heart and then let him do it.

Hop Scotch
Make a hop scotch and have him learn to play. Large muscle skills.

Rolling
Body Rolling - have your son stretch all the way out and roll in the grass down a small hill
Body Ball - have your son try to do a somersault forwards

Jump off a step - have your son jump off a small step and land on two feet.

Kathleen - posted on 06/14/2011

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There are large lacing beads sets made for toddlers, and also lacing cards. Great for rainy day activities. I like the cutting idea, well except for the mess my child makes. lol. He loves to cut his paper, still working on controlling the scissors. Check out puzzles, son seems to like puzzles and got more than just pegged puzzles. My son loves the 9 and 12 piece wood puzzles.

Joslin - posted on 06/07/2011

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Playing "wheel barrel" (where you lift up his feet and push him along as he walks on his hands) helps to improve fine motor skills because it stretches the tendons in the hand used for fine motor skills.

Elfrieda - posted on 06/06/2011

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If you take him on a forest walk, he could practice walking along logs and climbing trees.

User - posted on 07/30/2011

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WOW! some awesome ideas here! FYI: the wheelbarrow is to provided stability to and strengthen the shoulders. Motor skills develop proximally to distally; that is close to the body first, then the extremities. Another great activity to address this is have them write, draw, color, paint on a vertical surface; incorporates gross motor skills. Penmanship itself, at a table on paper, should only be practiced about 5 minutes at a time; don't want to make them hate writing. And do activities that have a purpose like write cards or short letters to loved ones to get more practice. Remember that before age 5 kids' hands aren't really well developed and good grasp not established. You can't speed it up. Begin with basic Kindergarten fun tasks/crafts and have fun!

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Crystal - posted on 12/30/2011

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My own son is older but I take care of a baby and toddler. People have shared some GREAT ideas! :) Just things like playing catch or getting the woofle ball/bat out are great for hand/eye also. You mentioned that "He has problems with his body position in ALL spaces and especially around people". How do you mean? Does he get off balance and things like that? If so just maybe keep an eye on how he looks at things (rubbing eyes a lot, etc) or if he gets off balance (falls a lot or seems kind of 'dizzy') could be things to bring up with your pediatrician. Just to make sure nothing is going on with his eyes or ears. Have fun 'working' there are lots of great ideas here :)

User - posted on 10/27/2011

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Well, my twins were under the age of two when the physical therapists would use the exercise ball to help them with balance but, you can use it at any age, really. I'm sure you could find some activities using an exercise ball for your child's age.

Rhonda - posted on 10/27/2011

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omg i forgot all about those games. I will start playing with my son 2day! He has problems with his body position in ALL spaces and especially around people. Wish me luck!

Dana - posted on 09/16/2011

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I've been a gymnastics coach for over 20 yrs. and I would suggest trying that. It helps with coordination, spacial orientation, muscle balance, etc. Most gym clubs have preschool or even baby classes.

Amanda - posted on 06/20/2011

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Rebekah those are fantastic ideas. We do a few of them already but I am always looking for new ideas to try out with my kids (3yrs 3 months and 21 months)

[deleted account]

Cooper is 2 years 3 months. I am mainly trying to improve hand/eye coordination. I love doing activities with him and was looking for new ones to try out = ]
Thank you, Rebekah, for the ideas and the time it took to post that! Much appreciated and I see a bunch I want to try out, and a lot we already do!

Heidi - posted on 06/14/2011

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you didn't mention how old he was or where it is that you live. try the city (in which you live) website for their parks and recreation activities for summer....many have toddler day camps. I'm sending my three year old on tuesdays and thursdays.....from ten in the morning until two in the afternoon; for only $16/week......they usually have different activities all throughout the year for all age groups.....even seniors.

Rebecca - posted on 06/13/2011

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When I was teaching toddlers a book I was working out of taught them how to cut in a neat way. I gave them a peice of paper and had them cut it in little pieces and had them glue it onto a large shape. A castle, heart, star, sail boat with flag was popular. Like a mosaic. I couldnt belive it the next day they could almost cut straight lines, after that one time and they loved it. Not sure if thats what you are looking for but hope it helps

Heidi - posted on 06/13/2011

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these things will come with time. however, to increase his small motor skills, make cookies with him and pour some of the chocolate chips into a cup and let him pull them out and put them in the dough one by one.......since he is still a toddler I wouldn't recommend beads.

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