Creative play to nurture incredible abilities
Engaging in interactive activities, like ‘Traffic Light Galore’ or ‘Move Like an Animal’, are fantastic ways to enhance the gross motor skills that a two-year-old is currently honing. At this point in their development, kids usually gain the ability to change directions effortlessly, navigate corners, and stop promptly while running or walking.
‘Traffic Light Galore’, which entails sudden stops and starts, is ideally suited for exercising gross motor control. It’s also an effective method to instill the principles of pedestrian safety and can be transformed in numerous ways for added amusement.
To keep the game of ‘Traffic Light Galore’ refreshing and enjoyable:
Find a suitable spot in the house – a spacious corridor or a small open area could serve as the perfect playground for youngsters who are just learning the rules. Showcasing items that correspond to the colors being announced provides a helpful visual aid. For this purpose, red and green bean bags, balls, or pieces of paper can be utilized. Explain that this game is a test of their listening abilities. On hearing “green light!” they should start running, and “red light” means they should halt as quickly as they can. Illustrate these actions so that they understand the process better. If the child struggles to stop—which is quite common—introduce them to the idea of jumping to a stop. This might simplify the task for them. When they have a grasp of the game, more elements can be introduced to make it more fun. For instance, “yellow light!” could mean WALK SLOWLY, “blue light” for JUMP, “purple light” for WALK BACKWARDS, “pink light” for SIDE STEPS. Encourage the child to lead the game, while you play the runner. While out for walks, real traffic lights can be pointed out and related to the game. For instance, explain that a red light means stopping at the curb, whereas a green light indicates looking both ways to ensure no cars are approaching, before crossing the street.
Here are some other delightful movement games to hone gross motor skills: ‘Move like an animal’ This game requires your child to mimic various animal movements. Show each movement and then encourage them to try.
“Hop like a kangaroo”
Designate “jumping points” (like stepping stones, bricks, or chalk circles) for them to leap between. This poses the challenge of squatting down and jumping with both feet.
“Crawl like a lizard”
Demonstrate how to get on all fours and crawl sideways— coordinating legs, feet, arms, and hands together to move sideways is quite challenging for children.
“Trot like a pony”
This bilateral coordination, which requires one leg to walk while the other runs, might take some time to grasp. Break it down by showing them how to first take a step with the front leg, then try a hop with the back one.
“Balance like a heron”
Balancing on one foot is a new skill for two-year-olds, and most won’t be able to do it for more than a couple of seconds at a time without support. Show them how to stand still, then lift one foot off the ground, like a heron.
“Stroll like a snail”
Snails are known for their slow pace, so tell your child to curl their body up and crawl as slowly as they possibly can. Join in and have a slow-motion race where the last one to finish is the winner.
‘Cloud Walk‘ This is a fantastic indoor game that only requires a few pillows. Lay the pillows in a line, with a bit of space between each, and ask your child to walk from one end to the other on top of the pillows. The softness of the pillows adds a balance challenge.
‘Dodge the Dolphins‘ Collect a bunch of plush toys or animal figurines (any toy dolphins on hand would be perfect, but they can all be “dolphins”) and scatter them across an open area. Ask your child to dart around the space, avoiding the toys. They can run around the toys, leap over them, or sidestep them. Give them a turn to place the “dolphins”, and now it’s your turn to “swim”.