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Learning Activities for Toddlers With Down Syndrome

author image Kimberlee Broaddus
Kimberlee Broaddus is a fourth grade teacher in California who has written articles for her school's monthly newsletter. She holds a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, with an emphasis on early elementary education. She currently sits on a district writing committee working on curriculum and assessments for local schools.
Learning Activities for Toddlers With Down Syndrome
Children with Down Syndrome learn essential developmental skills with practice. Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

There are many learning activities available to help engage toddlers with Down Syndrome. These special children will benefit from daily practice with an adult's help to develop language and communication skills. Regardless of a child's particular ability, there are activities suited to their needs to help them reach their individual potential.

Body Awareness

Learning Activities for Toddlers With Down Syndrome
Activities that encourage body awareness help in the development of toddlers with Down Syndrome. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

For toddlers with Down Syndrome, activities that help them become more aware of their body and how it moves will be beneficial to their cognitive growth. Parents can manipulate the child's arms and legs up and down, side to side. As they grow, children can do so on their own. This can also be a mirroring activity; the adult touches her head, then the child touches his head. The adult puts both hands in the air, then the child copies. Helping a child move his body with you will help him learn how to do so independently.

Fine Motor Skills

Learning Activities for Toddlers With Down Syndrome
Many hands-on activities help children with Down Syndrome develop fine motor skills. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

A Down Syndrome child will benefit from daily fine motor skill activities to strengthen the muscles in her fingers and hands. Using clay or Play-doh, toddlers can use cookie cutters to make different objects. Another way to develop fine motor skills is to practice cutting different types of paper. Of course, use kid-friendly safety scissors. Kids can practice cutting construction paper, tissue paper or a magazine cover.

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Gross Motor Skills

Learning Activities for Toddlers With Down Syndrome
Bowling and bean bag games help children develop their gross motor skills. Photo Credit Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Playing with bean bags helps Down Syndrome children develop the gross motor skills of aiming at targets. Set up five or six hula hoops on the ground. The child aims and throws small bean bags into the middle of the hoop. A variation of this activity is for the adult to hold the hoop up while the child throws the bean bags through. Another gross motor activity is to set up a bowling game. This can be done using empty plastic bottles while the child uses different sized balls to knock them down.

Rhythm and Movement

Learning Activities for Toddlers With Down Syndrome
Rhythm and movement activities stimulate learning. Photo Credit Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Activities involving rhythm and movement stimulate language and speech development, as well as help with attention difficulties in Down Syndrome children. When music is being played, children can clap or beat a drum to reinforce the rhythm. Children can also show off their dance moves while listening to their favorite songs. Kids can spin to the music or follow directions in a song to try out different moves to the song being played.

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