• Five Fun Activities for Motor Skill Development

    Babies and toddlers learn and develop everyday through play by experiencing new textures, sounds, colours, patterns and tasks. You don’t need to buy expensive toys in order to encourage their development. There are tonnes of fun games and activities you can play with your little one, using items from around the home. Something as simple as a saucepan and wooden spoon makes an excellent drum kit or can be used for cooking roleplay!

    To help develop these skills through play, we’ve come up with five fun activities that will help to develop fine motor skills whilst playing at home.

    1. Colouring

    Colouring pictures and being creative with stickers or stamps are not only an essential part of arts and crafts, but they are key for your child’s fine motor development too! If you search ‘line drawings for children’ on the internet, there is a huge resource of free colouring-in designs to chose from, which you can print out at home.

    Keep broken crayons for slightly older toddler and pre-schoolers! Because colouring with small, broken crayons encourages your child to hold the crayon correctly i.e. in a pincer / tripod grip between thumb and forefingers rather than in a ‘palmer’ or fist grip. Small pieces of chalk and the pencils used on mini-golf courses also work well. No matter what you use, this activity is a fun way to challenge your child.

    2. Sticking

    Playing with stickers is another great activity for encouraging fine motor skill development, as it requires finger and thumb coordination to peel off the stickers.   Little ones can get creative by decorating a large piece of paper stuck to a wall, a scene quickly drawn by mum (see my recent attempt below!) or cut out shapes to decorate – stars work really well. For slightly older children drawing thick wiggly lines on a large sheet of paper and asking them to stick dots side by side along it, is a great activity that will keep them occupied whilst at the same time developing concentration and coordination.

    3. Stamping

    Stamping is another great way to open up the hand and develop finger strength and control. A great fun and cheap method is the good old potato stamp, where you cut a potato in half and carve out a pattern or shape on the flat, freshly cut surface, before letting your little one dip it in paint and stamp to their heart’s content. Alternatively, you can buy stamp sets for a few pounds online or from larger supermarkets, if you want a quick activity without mess of paint!

    4. Play Dough

    Play dough has been a childhood favourite for decades. Not only is it great fun, but handling play dough also develops some important skills. Squeezing, stretching, pulling and shaping all helps to strengthen finger muscles, and touching it is a valuable sensory experience. You can make play dough at home and follow the link for a great long lasting, homemade recipe: https://theimaginationtree.com/best-ever-no-cook-play-dough-recipe/

    5. Pasta Necklaces

    Stringing together necklaces is a great way for your child to be creative while working on their hand-eye coordination and developing ability to manipulate objects. The best way to start is with thick string and large pieces of tube-shaped dry pasta. Over time you can reduce the thickness of the string and use smaller pasta shapes to make it more complex. This is a great activity for both boys and girls.  Alternatively, you can swap string for pipe cleaners in order to create fun shapes. Another option is to paint the pasta and let it dry before assembling to make it more colourful.

     

    The clever and innovative design of Doddl cutlery helps develop children’s fine motor skills whilst they are learning to feed themselves. These skills are essential for a wide variety of tasks such as writing and drawing, using scissors, doing up buttons and any task that involves coordination and control between the thumb and fingers.

     

    Good luck and happy making!!

  • bubble fun Activities to entertain a toddler

    Help, I have a toddler!

    Did you wake up one morning and think…OMG where did this toddler come from?

    Were you caught up in the blur of feeding routines and nappy changes that before you knew it, a game-changing toddler appeared?

    We are not for a second trying to suggest that looking after a young baby is easy, just that they usually stay put. They can be relatively easily placated.

    A toddler? Well, let’s just say it’s little wonder parents of toddlers are in bed not long after their little ones. Or much later as they put their house back together!

    bubble funIf you thought the baby phase was tiring, the toddler phase will have you reminiscing of those days you used to just sit down. In silence.

    As toddlers discover their increasing independence, they will understand a lot of what they’re hearing but won’t always be able to communicate what they want. So when it comes to meal times, this can be particularly challenging!

    Talking, singing, reading exploring, eating, playing indoors and outdoors, napping, creating, getting messy, helping…these are all things that will help stimulate, educate and entertain your toddler. Everything you do is an experience.

    playdoh

    An essential tip – allow twice as long for everything! Everything takes longer than it ever did before.

    Here’s some ideas to help keep you going through the toddler years….

    • Chores can be fun. Don’t think of these things as chores to be done before you go and play. Chores are play! Helping strip beds (make time for bouncing, hiding in covers, playing superman with pillow cases, pillow fights, snuggles, cuddles and tickles).
    • Washing baskets make great cars. If it keeps your little one entertained for 5 minutes, embrace it!
    • They can join in with washing up. Once you’ve got the pots and pans cleaned, get you toddler to stand on a stool and wash their plastic plates and Doddl cutlery. Always have an old floor towel ready to wipe up inevitable spills quickly.
    • Creative play is fun. Playdoh, crayons, paints, spaghetti hoops and jelly in the bowl – all helps develop fine motor skills.
    • Play in the bath. Take up plastic tubs, pots, watering cans, sponges, plastic cars. Anything can be fun to play with!
    • Do something outside everyday. Plant something, go to the park, take a walk, play with ride-ons, kick a football, go to the beach, chalk on the patio or drive, play in a sandpit, wash the car, post a letter, walk to the shop, feed the ducks, kick a ball, rake the leaves, build a snowman, go for a picnic, go for a boat ride, a bike ride, blackberry picking, collect wild flowers, leaf collecting and make a collage, learn to cross the road safely, go for an ice cream!
    • Keep one of your kitchen cupboards child-friendly. They can open it, empty it and play with child-friendly utensils again and again.
    • A box of dress ups is always fun. Don’t throw away old hats and scarves – toddlers love dressing up in fun items. It really pushes their creativity and imagination.
    • Rotate their toys. It stops them and you getting bored. It’s always fun to rediscover long-forgotten toys.
    • Always have entertainment and food options in your handbag. A car, a doll, snacks, drinks, a notebook and pen.
    • Playdates are essential for toddlers and adults.  Invite friends over and any parents you get to know from nurseries or play groups. It will keep you sane and help your child to learn to share.

    As you can see, having a toddler means that you need to rethink situations and how you approach them!