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Outdoor Activities for Toddlers

originally published on Wolf+Friends

Gross motor skills are those activities that use large muscle groups: from walking to running to jumping and skipping, and much more! All children are developing the control, strength, and endurance needed to coordinate these movements. Gross motor play is key to developing core strength, endurance, eye-hand coordination, and automaticity of movements. All of these important skills will promote learning and participation in other developmental areas because they are foundational skills of overall development!

This is a play stage that emphasizes basic interactions with people and toys. Because your child’s skills are so new, they often can’t multi-task too well and keep their balance! It’s important to remember this to ensure their success in new activities. These activities are hands-on fun with your toddler so expect to get active with them!

  • Sit ‘straddle-style’ with your child and roll a ball back and forth. Your child will be working on timing, tracking, and motor control by figuring out how to stop it from hitting her tummy! The smaller the ball, the more challenging the game. Choose a ball with some sensory fun like flashing lights, noise, or sensory textures and see how the game changes.

  • Grab a jump rope and turn it into a limbo rope to imitate basic animal walks under it - bring on your best “bear walk” or “slithering snake” - your child will be developing motor skills and learning how to move her body in new ways just like Mom! If you’ve got an active toddler, try shaking the rope low to the ground and see if she can jump, step, or walk over it without touching the “snake!”

  • Your little one isn’t able to keep up with siblings on 2-wheels yet, but she’s not too young to try ride-on toys or tricycles with an assist bar (for the adult to help move her along). She’ll be working on strengthening her core muscles to hold herself upright on a moving object and that’s tough work for a kid!

Keep in mind that not all children develop these skills along the same timeline. You can find skill-minded fun that involves large muscle groups to support your child on this path to development.


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