A few months ago I came across this post from Little Hands, Big Work about making your own toddler balance beam. I fell in love immediately. For two reasons- one, I am a sucker for DIY projects, especially when you can save a lot of money. And my daughter LOVES any large motor skill activity I can rummage up. So making a toddler balance beam just seemed to make sense!
If you want a professional looking homemade balance beam, click on the link at the beginning of this post. Our beam is more of a “creation”- or “what can I find lying around our house that would work”. Luckily we had a piece of vinyl fencing and a bookshelf full of bulky computer programming books. It took all of 30 seconds to put together. (Laid the fence board over three piles of books)
The first thing my daughter did when she saw the beam was to jump over it. So we played the jumping game for awhile- jumping back and forth. Then taking turns with Mommy jumping (it was great exercise!) We finished up our jumping game by holding hands while we both jumped at the same time. It was a great, spur of the moment, beam activity.
When we tired of jumping, I modeled the skill by showing my daughter how to walk across the beam (very carefully mind you- I thought that with Mommy weight the board was going to break at any moment) She instantly understood what to do and walked across beautifully. Several times. There were a few falls, but she is a trooper and would tell her self out loud, “let’s try again!” I just love her diligent little spirit!
What do you have lying around your house that would make a great toddler toy? Have fun with your little one today!
PS. Thanks for the blog award Shafer Family! I love your blog TONS! Your recognition of my little blog means so much to me!
For our Tumbling Tuesday activity, I wanted to dance with ribbon wands. I thought they would be simple enough to make- and I was right! They took maybe 5 seconds to make!!! I used long pipe cleaners and colorful streamers (tie a piece onto the pipe cleaner)- just because that is what we had on hand.I wasn’t sure how I would like the pipe cleaners, but in the end I LOVED them because we could transform our ribbon wands to ribbon bracelets easily since pipe cleaner is so flexible. And I won’t feel guilty throwing them away because I can easily make them again. 🙂
This is a MUST HAVE activity for anyone with an active, dancing toddler! I was thrilled to come across some thanksgiving related dance moves at PE Central and although it says this activity is for grades K-2, my 2 year old had a blast! With older kids they can name off the food groups while dancing. (2 year old isn’t quite ready for that yet!)
Here are the dance moves:
MASHED POTATOES: The Mashed Potato Dance (fists closed, arms extended out in front, alternating up and down movement.) This exercises the upper body and potatoes are in the vegetable group.
TURKEY: Flap wings and gobble like a turkey while running carefully throughout the gym. This is an aerobic exercise and turkey is in the meat group.
APPLE PIE: Students roll like a ball (apple) towards the center of the floor and sit together closely like apples in a pie. Rolling needs flexibility and body management. Apples are in the fruit group.
CRANBERRIES: Students stomp on the floor on the cranberries to mash and puree the berries. This exercises the leg muscles and cranberries are in the fruit group and full of antioxidants.
GREEN BEANS: Students walk around the gym on their tippy toes, arms extended upward, attempting to look long and tall. This exercise helps flexibility, balance and body awareness. Green beans are in the vegetable group.
THANKSGIVING: Students walk around the gym shaking hands and giving appropriate compliments to their classmates. This is a way to show proper social skills.
I created some activity cards that went along with each dance. As I was teaching my daughter the moves, I would show her the card first. After we learned all the dances, she picked a card and then we would do the corresponding dance. She loved the turkey but absolutely hated the apple pie (doesn’t like rolling on the ground). Feel free to download- just click on the pic and save it to your desktop!
Happy Tumbling and Teaching!
Here’s an easy and fun activity that will only require two bibs! Loop the two bibs together and have your tot hold one bib and you hold the other. Then have your tot pull on the bibs. My daughter didn’t really get the concept of pulling at first, but it will come quickly with this game.
A great suggestion is to be sure that your tot is sitting down so that when the loops break he doesn’t lose balance and fall down. Laugh and clap when the bibs pull apart and talk about which one stayed together and which one opened up. Talk about the colors of the bibs, and any words or pictures on them. For the older toddlers, have them hold the bib in their right hand and then the left hand while pulling each time. Then try to see if he can pull the bibs apart by himself. My daughter thought this game was hilarious and we played it over and over and over…. (you know how it goes!)
– 2 bibs
This activity was taken from TODDLERTODDLER.com- check out this great site!
This is a fun game for the whole family to play! One way to play is to print out a sheet of shapes and then cut them out, but you can use large foam shapes or shapes drawn on an old white sheet. The sheet idea would be easy to pack around anywhere- go play in the backyard! Put the shapes (or shape sheet) on the floor and then have your toddler stand or sit on each shape. Once she has mastered that, then have her put one foot/hand on one shape and the other foot/hand on another shape. Maybe she can touch her nose to a shape! If your shapes are multi-colored, you can discuss each of the colors as your tot hops on and off the shapes.
– shapes (can be made out of paper, or if you have foam or material shapes they would work as well)
– masking tape
– floor space
taken from TODDLERTODDLER.com- great resource for tot games!
What kid doesn’t like to swing? If your little one seems ready, you can start showing them how they move their legs to pump in the swings. It may take awhile to pick up, but if they are trying they are making the swing more of an exercise than a ride!
My daughter could sit on a swing for hours. Literally. I am excited to make this a more active game for her and I know she’ll have fun! And thats what its all about! 🙂
Grab a hula hoop and you and your tot can have lots of fun! There are many different games you can play with one of these simple toys. You can have a hula hoop contest to see who can keep it up the longest (without holding it of course), you can roll them, you can use them as giant sorting rings to sort (if you have 5 hoops sort plastic food by the food groups OR if you have 2 sort by opposites like things you use at night/day and hot/cold- possibilities are endless!) You can also toss the hoops and see who can throw them the farthest!
Supplies Needed-– at least one hula hoop!
Activity copied directly from TODDLERTODDLER.COM
“This is a fun game for the whole family to play! Print out the sheet of shapes and then cut them out. Tape them to the floor in a small group and then have your toddler stand or sit on each shape. Once she has mastered that, then have her put one foot/hand on one shape and the other foot/hand on another shape. Maybe she can touch her nose to a shape! She might have to think about what to do next with her body? Or she might turn in circles to try. You’ll enjoy watching her and she’ll have fun with all the shapes.
Supplies Needed- – Printer to print out the shapes—-
( or use construction paper)
– masking tape
– floor space=”http:>
– Ask your toddler to jump on each shape, then jump off to review “on” and “off”
– Talk about the colors of the shapes while trying to put a hand/foot on each one.
-Show by example…see how twisted up you can get and your toddler will get a chuckle seeing you try and then falling down. “
I am really excited to try this out with my daughter! Our good camera is in the shop getting repaired (thank heavens we purchased the extended warranty) so if I take pics I will update this post.
Happy Teaching and have lots of fun!
All you need is a good beat and dancing seems to come naturally! This is a good time for our little ones to show some freedom of expression with their movements and to just have a good time. We dance at least once every day-not only is it good exercise, but my daughter really enjoys moving (and I am happy to see her release some of that energy!)
Supplies Needed-– music (CD, piano, guitar, other instruments, singing, musical toys, etc)
ribbon sticks add a little pizazz to the dance but are not necessary for fun!
Movement Cards Print a set of cards and you have an instant variety of fun activities! There are some sets to download (see the do it yourself section at the end of this post). You can play these cards in a variety of ways- from just drawing one card at a time and doing the activity, to having a race to see how many cards you can complete in a given amount of time, to setting the cards in a circle and doing the activities as you walk around…. there are many more!
Supplies Needed-– a set of cards (see below to download)
Downloads: There are 3 different sets of movement cards. One is a very simple set I made for my daughter when she was about 1. The second set came about when I read this great blog post on the ABC’s of movement- we worked together and came up with a set of movement cards. Anyway you choose to go, these movement cards will keep your tots busy!