Motor skill development in toddlers can be a tricky area to navigate as their impulse control catches up to their physical coordination. Therefore, bumps and bruises seem to be an anticipated norm when it comes to gross motor development in toddlers. Research shows that limiting screen time may assist your toddler in developing across each area of development so if they are not sitting still, they’ll naturally be on the move. As with many areas of development, time and practice makes perfect!
There are many ways in which music can aid gross motor development in toddlers. Music making or dancing along to their favourite songs encourage the use of all those big muscle groups and help to develop their emerging coordination skills. Here are five ways you can further assist your toddler in developing gross motor skills using music:
Exposure to a range of instruments
Using their hands to bang a drum uses their Biceps and Triceps as well as all that fabulous hand-eye coordination. This make a great first step. Graduating to shaking bells while marching to a beat gets those little legs moving and encourages core strength as they hold their bodies upright and move around. The more fun your child has using these big muscle groups, the more often they will want to engage in these strengthening activities. As the joy in play is reinforced, these types of experiences will become second nature.
Dancing to music
Introduce your toddler to dancing with scarves or ribbons and watch the way their movements change. Ask them to move like a butterfly, hop like a kangaroo or swim like a fish and see just how broad their range of movement can be. There’s also nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned disco dance-off either! Jumping to the beat offers the opportunity to stretch those legs out and anticipate landing safely.
Sing songs with actions
Moving on from finger-play songs can be an exciting time in toddler development-for both child and adult. They may be ready for big, body movements as they enjoy songs like Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes or Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Sit with your child facing you as your sing these songs together to allow him or her to mimic your movements.
Take them on a horsey ride
Singing songs together about galloping through the fields or trotting down the lane while you bounce your toddler on your knee provides the chance for your child to identify what muscles they need to engage to keep their balance. Plus, these types of songs are really fun and your toddler is highly likely to absolutely love them. Added bonus: As your toddler grows, you’ll be strengthening your legs at the same time! So much more fun than squats, ha ha!
Singing about bubbles while your toddler attempts to catch them can offer such joy to a parent and child. All that jumping, waving and clapping is strengthening their hand-eye coordination and gross motor development. They will just think they are having fun though! For a song about bubbles you can sing with your kids, click here (insert link to bubble song)
Music and movement can go hand in hand very naturally and is a great way to get your toddler moving without any pressure to perform a certain task in a certain way. The pleasure in music and movement is all in the process for your toddler and can be really enjoyable for both child and adult alike. How many other ways can you think of to get your child moving using music?