What can I do to improve my child's motor development?
Motor development is a very important part of growing up. Motor activities help children learn how to use their bodies, gain confidence as they master skills, and prepare them for school. Here are a few suggestions to promote motor skills. Remember to always give children a safe place to play and lots of repetition to learn and master skills.
- Lay your baby on the floor on her tummy. Lay down on the floor with your baby. Sing and talk to her while she is on the floor. Supervise your baby when she is playing on her tummy. Supervised tummy time play should occur several times throughout the day for a few minutes at a time, or as long as your baby will allow.
- While playing, hold toys about 8 inches from your baby's face. Move the toys slowly from side to side. Watch your baby follow the toy with his eyes and reach for the toy.
- Hold your baby and go for a walk. Hold your baby and gently sway and dance.
- The best exercise for your baby is playing on the floor. Baby walkers and exersaucers do not provide exercise or promote walking and can be a safety hazard. However, if you do use this equipment, limit time in exersaucer or baby walker to 10-15 minutes a day.
- Pull-apart toys, such as pop beads help promote hand skills and arm coordination. Other toys that promote coordination and hand skills are stacking rings, stacking blocks, rolling a ball or playing with Tupperware.
- Climbing, crawling and exploring are all fun activities, and they promote overall strength and coordination. You can climb and crawl at the park, or throw pillows on the floor for fun crawling time.
- Playing with play dough helps to promote hand skills and texture tolerance.
- Playgrounds offer many fun opportunities for swinging, climbing, walking on different surfaces, running around friends and just moving around. These activities are important for promoting body awareness, strengthening and overall coordination.
- Arts and crafts at this age help to promote hand skills, sequencing, problem solving and foster a sense of creativity. Use whatever items you have around the house. Keep in mind that the process and creativity are the most important part of crafts, not what the end product looks like.
- Provide your child with the opportunity to use crayons even if she child cannot write or color a picture yet. Scribbling is the first step to writing and it helps the child learn how to hold writing utensils.
- Playing with play dough helps with fine motor skill development (e.g. holding a pencil or guiding a fork).
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