Bear and crab walking
“Core muscle strength, upper body stability, visual-spatial skills, and gross coordination are foundations necessary for children to master fine motor skill development,” says Pacchetti-D’Amaro. In order to develop these skills, toddlers can perform a wide variety of exercises to master fine motor skills and to engage their brain for learning. One exercise that can easily be done at home involves homemade bowling pins created from empty soda bottles. Parents can paint the bottles bright colors and fill them with rice to add weight. Set them up in a random bath in a large space and have your child bear walk on all fours or crab walk from pin to pin. Once they reach a pin, they can kick it or hit it to knock it over.
Hole punching fun
Using a hole punch to create a picture or design will improve both hand strength and visual skills, according to Pancchetti-D-Amaro. Here’s to do: With a marker, draw the shape or design of your child’s choosing on a piece of paper. Instruct them to use the hole punch to create the border of your drawing. An older child can use yarn or a pipe cleaner to lace in and out of the punched holes. This activity is perfect for a rainy day as well as these other indoor activities for toddlers.
“Beading builds the small muscles in one’s hands by having to stabilize the yarn or string and then place each bead on the string,” says Liz Matheis, PhD, of Psychological and Educational Counseling in Parsippany, New Jersey. Stock up on large, wooden beads and colorful yarn and twine for this fun activity that requires both concentration and steady hands. “The great thing with beading is you can help your child make a necklace or bracelet as a gift for someone else” says Dr. Matheis. “It’s very motivating for a little one to see that her jewelry is appreciated.” Here are other kid crafts that make perfect presents.