Gross motor skills are just as important to foster in the development of our little ones as fine motor skills. In this day and age when many kiddos are experiencing extended amounts of screen time, it’s important to motivate those babies to get up and work those muscles! Luckily, at the toddler age it’s not that hard to do. (If only I had their kind of energy.) Here are some fun ways my two-year-old and I have been movin’ and shakin’.
Balloons!!! Pooky is in LOVE with balloons right now! I’ve discovered that if she’s in a slump, I just have to bring out the balloon and she turns into an energetic giggly toddler. To tie this in to our other Valentine’s activities, I had Pooky help me add some heart stickers to a pink balloon and showed her how to throw it up and try to catch it. We played with the balloon while listening to kids songs about love such as Skidamarink and I Love You. After several play sessions, I could tell her hand-eye coordination was already starting to improve.
Another game we’ve been playing is bean bag toss. To tie it to Valentine’s Day, I cut a heart out of a cardboard box and covered it with tissue paper and cellophane. I’m no crafty mama, neither am I a perfectionist. I just wanted a quick creation for our bean bag toss. This activity initially proved a bit difficult for Pooky, but after lots of practice, she began showing an improvement in her tossing skills.
Continuing with our holiday theme, I came up with a game that I think of as “Musical Hearts for One.” I cut some large hearts out of construction paper and lay them in a circle. Then I turned on the music and demonstrated stepping carefully from heart to heart. It sounds super simple, but I had placed the hearts just far enough apart that Pooky would have to take deliberate, large steps to walk from one to the next. She liked walking along with me, but soon it turned into a game of chase mommy, so we ran in circles trying to stay on the hearts. When those games were getting old, I took it to the next level by showing her how we could hop from one heart to the next. (I moved the hearts closer together for this, since this is a very new skill for her.) She had a BLAST with the hopping. Note: I chose to do these activities on carpet to minimize slippage. We didn’t have any problems with the paper slipping on the carpet, but use caution if you try these activities.
For more ideas for toddler Valentine gross motor activities check out the links below.
Kristina from Toddler Approved shows us how toddlers can play Heart Hopscotch.
Lauren from Inspired Treehouse shares some Jumping Hearts activities.
Allison from No Time for Flash Cards adds an extra challenge to her Musical Hearts game.
Katie from A Little Pinch of Perfect shares a Heart Hide and Seek game with educational extensions.
I hope you and your little ones have a fun Valentine’s Day!