Toddlers gain confidence about what they can do physically when given opportunities for increased exploration and discovery. Guide your child as she climbs the stairs or the couch, let her dance to upbeat music, and provide a safe environment for her to run around in.
1. Head, Belly, and Toes
Stand opposite your child. Begin by slowly calling out the names of the 3 body parts—head, belly, and toes—in order and ask your child to touch the body part as she hears the name. Once your child masters the location of the body parts, mix up the order of calling them out. You can do this slowly or as quickly as you can. Signal to your child if you’re doing the activity fast or slow so she won’t be too confused. • Cognitive gains: identifying body parts, understanding the difference between fast and slow
2. Row, Row, Row Your Boat Sit facing your child with your legs spread out on the floor and your child’s legs stretched forward between yours. Holding your child’s hands, lean forward and encourage her to lean back as far as she can. Pull her back gently to exchange positions as you repeat. Sing the song as you do this. • Physical and cognitive gains: strength and flexibility, understanding cause and effect
3. Follow the leader Ask your child to follow you around the house as you jump, gallop, tiptoe, or do other gross motor skills. Stop once in a while to do a stationary skill, like stretching, bending, or twisting. • Physical and cognitive gains: gross motor skills, observational skills