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Body Awareness Activities for Toddlers

by Tania Cowling | April 7th, 2014 | Development, Infants/Toddlers

play with momBody awareness is new and fascinating to toddlers as they discover their world beyond home and family. As parents, we can give our children a head start on learning about our world when we help them learn more about themselves, their body and how it occupies space. It’s not hard to find activities that help them learn this concept. Why not try a few of these fun playtime activities during your day? Remember to start with movements your child already knows, introducing new skills one at a time.

Get Moving Together

A child’s space is her space to be, to grow, to learn, and to explore. Help her to understand this concept through movement activities and dramatic play. Begin by providing a simple obstacle course inside your home. Plan it so your children are going around chairs, crawling through large cartons, roaming over piles of pillows and blankets, and through tunnels made of tables covered with sheets. Have fun together traveling this course and make sure to use vocabulary that includes, over, under, through, around and beside. Also, do a rolling activity where you help your child roll like a “bug in a rug.” Just make sure your rolling surface is free from any sharp or dangerous objects.

Check out your hands. Hand activities help youngsters realize how many things their hands can do. Begin simply by having your child look at her hands and wiggle them. Bend the wrist as many ways as possible and then see how many movements are possible with the hands and fingers. Talk about ten fingers and the many things they can do. This is the perfect time to do a little clapping and even try snapping fingers.

As a game, use crepe paper streamers or strips of fabric as extensions of the arms. Scarves could also be used. Let your child wave the streamers as they move around the room quickly and gracefully. Whenever possible, add music to movement activities varying the rhythm, volume, and feeling of each music type.

Create Your Own Rhyme and Movement

Create open-ended finger plays where you and your child can follow the cues and even create new ones for other body parts. Here are three rhymes to get you started.

Here is my face and this is my nose.
I can touch my hair, it grows and grows.
I have a mouth to eat and eat,
And way down there, I have two feet.
Look at my arms stretching way up high.
It’s time to go, so I’ll wave good-bye!

Wiggle your fingers,
Wiggle your nose.
Wave both hands,
Now touch your toes.
Count: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10
That was fun, let’s do it again!

I am stretching very tall,
And now I’m shrinking very small.
Now tall, now small,
Now I’m a tiny ball.

Always end movement activities with a cooling off, calming experience such as “Rub your legs and give them a big hug for working so hard.” Praise your child’s every effort and success no matter how small or simple it may be.

Rhymes: Authors Unknown

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