If you think about walking, the first time a child takes a step is huge. Our babies physically develop from the top of their head to the tips of their toes and from their core to the ends of their fingers.
All of their large pivots, their neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees and ankles have to coordinate their movements to move one foot in front of the other. It’s a massive step forward in independence not just in physical development but for each child being able to make decisions about where they will venture!!
Playing through the little experiences that we offer will support all of their balance, coordination and motor skill development.
Once your little one is confident at walking, give them a reason to practice! A great way to encourage your little one to move around, while being aware of their feet and how much they use them, is to play games.
Here are some wee suggestions for encouraging your child to get up and about!
A flurry of wonderful items you could put in your ‘faerie garden’ or hide in the fabric.
Place two pieces of fabric a few feet apart on the floor or in the garden. Then you can place a variety of fairy items like fairy cakes, fairy dust (glitter in little bags), wands, wings (shiny fabric) and crowns on the fabric. You could use scary items that would be giant to the fairies like toy spiders, bats, moss, a treacle sandwich, or jumping jelly (in a plastic bag). You can place these items around the area, hiding a few to make it a bit more difficult. Place a basket or bag for the child to collect and gather various items, all the while practicing their steps!
Stand together with your child behind one of the fabric strips and suggest they watch you walk on to the second. Use tiny little steps, you can make a show of wobbling and moving slowly pretending to concentrate, watching your feet as you move. Invite them to join in trying to walk with even smaller, slower steps then you.
You can use any fabric you have lying around! Try tea towels, pillow cases, or even t-shirts.
Now suggest you have thought of another way. Demonstrate big strides, stretch your whole body again emphasise how much effort you are putting into it. Suggest they try. Then you can challenge them to do it another way, maybe this time with bouncy steps, or dinosaur steps or twisty steps…let them show you and you repeat what they do.
This activity also works outdoors! So much to explore… what kind of steps can you use on the leaves? The grass? Around the trees?
There are so many ways to move between the two strips of fabric… swimming, floating, spinning, arms by your side, arms out wide, nose first, toes first! Endless ways to move and walk allow you and your child to be creative with this activity. And don’t forget to use your whole body, facial expressions, noises and movements are all part of what makes this fun and engaging for the child.
Lot’s of wonderful ideas to play and learn, all with what you have readily available at home! Tag us with your ideas on how to learn and play at home on instagram @adventureswithalicesharp!