A toddler aged between to 30 months, usually asserts her new found motor abilities by indulging in forbidden activities. She throws huge tantrums when pulled away by a harried mom. To avoid such power tussles, you can offer pleasurable and engaging activities to your toddler which also give dividends.
Experts opine that these activities provide ‘sensory motor stimulation’ for improving gross and fine motor skills, and help them learn new concepts and behaviors that allow better adjustment in their environment.
The five senses maybe addressed one at a time through guided steps. After each step, have a little talk with your toddler about the experience. Repeat the experiences for as long as your child enjoys.
- If you want to familiarize your toddler with the sour taste, let her first examine and smell a lemon.
- With her help, squeeze a little lemon juice and let her taste it, and know it is a sour taste.
- Make lemonade in front of her and let her drink some.
- During the week, make simple recipes with lemon as one of the ingredients.
- Simultaneously, make rhymes, jingles, tiny stories with lemon as the central character. Your child will enjoy this assortment.
- When your child is ready, start with the sweet and salty tastes. Defer the bitter and hot tastes to the future for obvious reasons.
Sweet and salty
- Use the above-given steps making adjustments with reference to context.
- Use familiar smelling things. Show and name the source of each smell.
- Borrow as many steps as suitable here keeping the reference to the context in mind.
- Start with two opposing concepts such as wet and dry or hard and soft. Use colourful household material for the same.
- Don’t forget to use homemade gel and dough made with vivid food colours as toddlers like to mess around with malleable and gooey stuff.
- Offer your toddler a range of activities that will help improve her focus.
- Assemble 2 or 3 piece puzzles and discriminate between 2 to 3 colours by sorting coloured cards and copying linear patterns with them.
- Use any other activity liked by your toddler to sharpen her eyesight.
Gross motor is the control of large muscles which enable walking, jumping, and climbing. Fine motor is the ability to control small muscles that enable the toddler to eat by self, scribble and play with small objects.
- You may want to enhance your toddler’s newly acquired motor movements by clustering movements such as reaching, running, jumping, skipping, hopping, crawling and stepping up and down. Set up a mini obstacle course with chairs, boxes, ropes sticks and any material at hand.
- You can also sing action songs and let your toddler do the actions suggested in the songs.
- Make a cardboard postbox which has primary geometrical shapes carved on them. Let your child post corresponding shapes from their respective openings.
The sensory activities outlined above lend themselves to promoting small muscle skills.
- Try to put together other activities which your child may like.
All the sensory-motor activities mentioned will stabilise your toddler’s gross and fine muscle skills, and, help them develop new concepts and behaviours for better adjustment with her environment. So be innovative moms! Let your imagination run riot and prepare your own sensory-motor activities for your toddler. In this quest, be guided by your child’s likes, dislikes, and abilities to perform.