Enhancing coordination

Throwing balls of different sizes and weights requires balance, coordination, and the use of two hands.

When they are able to throw it, place a block tower in front of them and encourage them to hit the tower.

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Balls and motor skills

Balls can be used as early as when the child is beginning to sit. Propping their arms up higher on a pillows or a box may help them to sit on their own and encourages their back to be more upright.

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Improving hand/eye coodination

Toddlers love to sing and dance. Songs with hand motions are a great way for toddlers to learn fine motor skills. Children begin doing small hand motions at around 18 months old, but after about age 2 they are ready to do most of the hand motions to their favorite songs.

Some of their favorites: "Itsy-Bitsy Spider", "Patty Cake", "If You’re Happy and You Know it Clap Your Hands".

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Setting up coloring for kids

Hang the paper on the wall (or a wall easel or kid’s floor easel ). On the floor, by the paper, place pillows, cushions, or mats.

Have the children stand on the soft surface to color. This will help the children with their balance.

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When do motor skills emerge?

When do motor skills emerge?

  • Running: as early as 13 months — usually by 17 months.
  • Kicking: as early as 15 months — usually by 20 months.
  • Throwing: as early as 16 months — usually by 23 months.
  • Jumping: as early as 21 months — usually by 26 months.

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Encouraging motor skills

The easiest way to encourage your toddler to develop motor skills is to have them help with everyday activities like feeding and grooming themselves.

Toddlers are famously messy when eating, but this is the age when they should be using a spoon and fork to feed themselves, as messy as it may be. This will greatly help their fine motor skills and hand to eye coordination.

Your toddler will also enjoy dressing and undressing, combing their own hair, and brushing their own teeth.

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Practice eating with utensils

When teaching your little one to eat with a spoon, practice is the key.

Although your child is probably familiar with the idea of eating off a spoon, the concept of using the utensil on his own is completely new.

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When todders begin drawing and coloring

By 18 months, your child will probably try scribbling on paper (or whatever else is around) with a crayon. "By 3, your child will be scribbling circles with crayons," says Dr. Tricia Fine, a physician with the Columbus Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. "But they start working on these skills early and progress with age."

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Mastering hand-eye skills

All the smaller, more dexterous movements that involve concentration and hand-eye coordination are fine motor skills. Your child starts mastering these skills with the pincher grasp. Then he develops the ability to stack two blocks and put one object inside another around 14 months.

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Walking up and down stairs

The ability to walk up and down stairs one foot at a time is another gross motor skill.

Although your toddler may start climbing up the stairs on all fours as early as 1, the ability to go up and down one foot at a time won’t develop until around 20 months of age.

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When motor skills develop in kids

Along with climbing, your toddler will be developing her ability to run and jump. These skills are part of gross motor development, or large muscle functions that control the movements of their growing bodies.

"They have no fear," Dr. Horowitz says. "Especially if they have developed trust that you’ll catch them." As these skills develop, your toddler will grow more and more active and athletic.

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