Need some ideas for keeping your toddler or preschooler busy when you can't go out because of the winter weather? Here are some ideas to keep them active. It is important to do activities that help develop fine motor skills (use their hands), gross motor skills (crawling, running, walking), social skills (playing with others) and sensory skills (exploring how objects feel). Many teachers and child care providers are concerned about how these skills are not developing the way they did in the past. With electronics, many children spend too much time in front of a screen.
Here are some activities you can do with young children that can help develop these skills. Hopefully, this can be a start to more of these kinds of activities.
Gross Motor Skills
- Use what is available to make an obstacle course so your child can climb over and under mats, chairs, pillows, etc.
- Set up a relay race. Children race against each other to get to the end. Have the children try different movements like crawling, walking backwards, etc. Have them suggest movements.
- Move like different animals. Turtles, rabbits, snails. You get the idea!
Fine Motor Skills
- Make your own rattle or musical instrument. Put dry cereal snack in water bottle and use as a noise maker, eat cereal when done.
- Bottle play. Put different objects in a water bottle, then try to get them out. Try popsicle sticks, pom poms, ribbons.
- Young children love to paint, but often think it is edible! So make the "paint" with something they can eat. Try pudding, yogurt, whip cream, etc.
- What's inside? Hide little animals, toys, play cars, etc. in a bag, and have your child reach in and try to guess what it is before looking!
Got the idea? Have fun.
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