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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Climbing up and down stairs

Babies learn to climb up steps long before they’re able to descend.

You can try to teach your young one how to crawl down safely (feet first, on her tummy), but she’ll still require supervision.

Place a gate at the top of staircases, and another on the third or fourth step from the bottom (so your child can safely practice climbing on the bottom few steps).

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Getting on all fours for baby

Play crawling "tag."  can be great fun for babies who are learning to locomotive.

Crawl after your baby, saying, "I’m gonna’ get you!" Then crawl away, encouraging her to follow. Try hiding behind a piece of furniture and letting her "find" you.

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Exploring with writing implements

Allow older toddlers to begin exploring writing instruments (pens, markers and crayons).

Provide them with other toys and activities (e.g., pouring water) that develop the hand-eye coordination and fine motor skill necessary for writing.

From zerotothree.org.

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Developing hand eye coodination in toddlers

Allow older toddlers to begin exploring writing instruments (pens, markers and crayons).

Provide them with other toys and activities (e.g., pouring water) that develop the hand-eye coordination and fine motor skill necessary for writing.

From zerotothree.org.