It isn’t fun being stuck indoors during the winter, especially when you have active little ones who want to be on the on the move! Sometimes it helps to think outside the box and find ways to make being inside a little more of an adventure. One way to do that is to create your own indoor obstacle course. An activity like this will help to build your child’s gross motor skills and promote their ability to problem solve. Of course, you can also foster language and listening skills while exploring the obstacle course! See below for some ideas!
Ways to get moving!
Crawling: Babies who are learning to crawl love to explore. Set out things for your baby to discover around the house like fun toys, music shakers, etc.
Walking: Most toddlers are just learning how to walk and run and need the experience. Go for lots of walks including walking on various surfaces; grass, gravel, sand, and anything uneven will challenge their balance and help them learn better skills.
Reaching: Hang a toy from your babies car seat, or from a play mat on the floor. Encourage your baby to reach for the hanging toys. For older toddlers you can hang a toy or balloon and encourage your child to jump up and touch it!
Ball Play: Helping your baby sit and roll a ball is a fun way to work on core strength. Older toddlers can practice throwing & catching, and kicking
Coloring: Have your child color on a large piece of paper on the floor on their hands and knees. This helps to strengthen the hips and shoulders as well as encourage the child to weight shift to color. Or, tape a piece of paper up on a wall and have them color big – reaching as high as they can go!
Dancing: Here are a few fun dancing songs for kids!
Under: Set up a row of chairs and maybe even add a blanket to create a fort in your obstacle course. Encourage your child to crawl under the chairs and ask, “Where is __?” If your child doesn’t answer after a pause, simply exclaim, “____ is UNDER the chairs!” You can have a favorite toy take a turn going under the obstacle course and maybe enjoy a special snack under the fort you created.
On Top/Inside: Place pillows on the floor and maybe add an empty cardboard box or plastic bin. Encourage your child to walk or hop on top of the pillows (or blankets) and then climb inside the box! Be sure to describe what he/she is doing and emphasize those prepositions on top and inside.
For those of you with older toddlers who might like more of a challenge, try giving them some silly one or two-step directions to follow. You might ask them things like “First climb under the chairs and then stick out your tongue!” or “Climb inside the box and pretend you are sleeping.” Let them take a turn and give you a silly direction or two as well!
Struggling with winter hats and your child’s cochlear implants/hearing aids? Here are some tips about hats!