Jump Off, Jump On!
At home, show your child how to jump on and off a small rug or tile square. Ask them to jump on the square. Then ask them to jump off the square. You might need to help by holding their hands. Let them jump on and off many times.
Place a piece of string or ribbon on the floor. Show your child how to jump over it. After a few jumps, add a second piece of string. Show them how to jump over the first piece of string, then the second piece. When they jump over one, then the next, you can say,
- You’re jumping forward!
You can add more pieces of string if there is room.
When you play outdoors, show your toddler how to jump over cracks and lines on the sidewalk. They can jump on and off a patch of grass.
Draw a circle in sand and ask your child to jump in and out of it. Draw circles and other shapes on pavement with chalk for your child to jump in.
Ask your toddler to show you more fun ways to jump.
Stack the Blocks!
If your child has blocks to play with, place them in one spot. Make a stacking spot a short distance away. Show your child how to carry a block and put it on top of another block.
Tell them when the stack of blocks is knocked down they will start over. Your toddler will stay busy carrying and stacking blocks. Ask them,
- How high can you build your blocks?
Together, count how many blocks are in a stack.
- How many blocks are on top of each other? One, two, three, four!
Use items around the house for stacking. Boxes and bins of all sizes are fun to stack. Use boxes that your toddler can safely carry, like empty tissue boxes. Stacking different size items can be a challenge. Help your child place bigger boxes on the bottom and smaller boxes on top.
Do you have a favorite dance? Show your child how you do it! Ask them to show you their favorite dance. Children love music and dancing. Play any kind of music and your child will begin to move. It can be fast or slow, folk, or classical, or hip hop or country. You don’t need any special skills, so why not dance together?
Dance is a wonderful way for your toddler to express themselves. Music and movement can boost your child’s mood and can be a stress buster for you.
Use Your Fingers!
Toddlers love finger play movements and songs. Some popular finger play games are:
- Where is Thumbkin?
- The Wheels on the Bus
- Itsy Bitsy Spider
Show your child how to make the finger movements that go with the words in the song. Use your hands to help them make the movements when they are first learning.
Did you have a favorite finger play game when you were a child? Share it with your child. Do it together.
Finger play improves your child’s finger and hand strength. This helps your child learn to hold crayons, use scissors, and tie shoes. Finger play is easy to do when you’re waiting in line or riding a bus.
Move Like Me
Ask your child,
- Can you move like me?
Begin with simple movements your child can copy. You can raise both arms up, clap your hands, touch your toes, run in place, or do a dance. You can pretend to be a bird flying or a monkey swinging.
Pretend to be riding a surfboard or climbing a tree. Take turns leading the movements.
Encourage your child to use their imagination to make up movements.
When the movements become easy, try, Mirror Me. Tell your child to pretend they are looking in the mirror. If you raise your right arm up, they’ll raise their left arm up. If you lean to the left, they’ll lean to the right. This can be tricky. Take turns being the mirror.