Developing Motor Skills

NHS Grampian

How to help your child with play and hand skills at around the 1 to 2 year level

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At this age children will have a variety of movement skills including crawling, standing and walking and fairly well developed early hand skills.  Play interests will expand and it is important to continue to spend lots of time talking with your child as you play and go about everyday activities.  Try to provide toys and activities that let your child use their skills in manipulation and hand eye co-ordination.

  • Encourage neater and more accurate grasps with toys that need to be fitted together like pop – up animals, pans and lids, nesting cups. 
  • Toys with smaller features that create music or light up will help encourage poking and starting to turn buttons.
  • Posting boxes and large single shape posting toys, stacking shaper sortertoys help children develop better placement skills.  Toys with balls to place into chutes or cars with tracks or any toys that encourage repetitively placing objects inside them to make something happen. 
  • Stacking toys like blocks, nesting cups to build up and knock down are fun.  You can use empty yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and boxes.
  • Encourage looking at books with pictures to point to and think pages to turn. Learning to hold a book and the turn the pages is important even if it is more than one page at a time. Thick cardboard books, cloth books and bath books are nice and easy to handle.
  • Children begin to use everyday objects to copy adult activities and self care routines. They begin to pretend to give dolly a drink, brush Mum's hair, stir a wooden spoon in an old pan or put teddy to bed.
  • At bath time they will enjoy washing dolly's feet, tummy or face with sponges. Playing with household plastic jugs, empty shampoo bottles, small cups and other bath toys to encourage reaching and grasping.
  • Singing simple action rhymes and playing finger games may be enjoyed, things like incy wincy spider, this little piggy and round & round the garden are enjoyable.
  • Children begin to take an interest in scribbling using chubby crayons or pencils. They may prefer to copy you scribbling first and make this into a turn-taking game.
  • As children begin to stand and walk they will like to use the furniture to cruise along sideways.
  • They might also enjoy using a trolley of bricks or a small pram. You can add extra weight to keep it steady using a bag filled with sand or something similar.
  • Children begin to enjoy sitting on a low stool or children's chair and practising standing up and sitting down again.
  • They may like to carry around big soft toys, empty boxes, balls and cushions and this will help to develop balance.

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