Motor skills are skills that we need to move our bodies to walk, run, and climb. Toddlers and preschoolers, whether they're neurodivergent or neurotypical, are developing these skills so they can learn how to:
Dress and undress.
Use the potty.
Navigate the world around them without bumping into things.
Cope with walking on uneven surfaces, and up and down hills.
Sit comfortably at the table to eat.
These are 5 fun activities you can do at home to develop these skills:
1. Build a Box Fort
Collect a bunch of boxes in various sizes and either indoors or outdoors, build a fort or spaceship with your child.
The imagination exercises their minds, while moving around and lifting the boxes and placing them somewhere is an exercise in movement and dexterity.
2. Run, Jump, Roll
Stand on one end of a field, your backyard, or even your living room and have one or more children on the other. The children will either roll, jump, or run towards you depending on what command you give them (i.e."Roll," Jump," and "Run"). Whoever is first to you wins.
This is fun exercise to get your kiddos moving and can also engage their competitive sides. Hearing commands and implementing a movement also engages their listening skills and minds as well.
3. Running Tic Tac Toe
Using pool noodles, sticks, or poles, create a Tic Tac Toe grid. Collect either specific color socks or use disc markers. Then stand about 30 or so yards away (move closer or further away to adjust difficulty) and either race against your kiddo or allow multiple kiddos to participate. Participants have to race from the starting point to the grid and place a marker down then race back for another marker. Meanwhile the other participant is using their marker to block them from getting 3 in a row. This can also be a relay with 4+ participants, as long as teams are even.
Depending on distance, this can be a pretty strenuous activity with a lot of running, but it's fantastic for developing motor skills and problem solving skills. WIth multiple participants, it's also a great social skills activity.
4. Keep Up with a Balloon
This one is easy, all you need is a balloon! Just blow up a balloon and let your kiddo run around a living room or backyard and try and keep the balloon up in the air by any means necessary.
5. Simon Says or "Red Light, Green Light"
Similar to "Run, Jump, Roll,"participants listen for verbal cues to move forward with the added twist of "Simon Didn't Say" and "Yellow Light!"throwing a wrench in participants' progression.
This is another physical activity that requires children to actively listen for specific commands and move accordingly. Make the distance between you and your kiddo further for more of a challenge.