Creative movement allows toddlers to have fun, enjoy the freedom of physical activity and use their creativity in ways that builds self-esteem. Creative movement also has a more practical use since carefully selected activities that target specific learning goals help toddlers develop motor skills, reach educational milestones and learn about communication and problem-solving. Creative movement activities appeal to the whole child by connecting movement to self-expression and learning.
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Focus on the Large Muscles
Creative movement activities can focus on large muscle development while allowing your toddler to express his unique personality through role playing and other games of pretend and make-believe. Follow the Leader allows each toddler to take a turn leading the group. The leader pretends to be different kinds of animals, such as a duck or a horse, or parts of nature like leaves and snowflakes. He can just go through a series of movements like jumping, hopping and skipping, too. The rest of the group follows and imitates the leader. The Guess What I Am activity requires your toddlers to take turns acting out an animal or a person, such as a fireman, while the other children try to answer the question.
Combine singing with physical activity to help your toddler learn new words and improve her ability to follow directions. Teach new songs by making up new lyrics to familiar tunes. For instance, use the tune “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush” with words that describe activities performed, such as “This is the way we pick up our toys” or “This is the way we set the table.” Add the names of the toddlers to verses in the song, such as “This is the way Luca stacks the blocks,” to add to the fun and interest.
Move to the Rhythm
An activity using music can teach your youngster about concepts such as fast and slow rhythms while allowing him to move, dance and contribute to the sound. Play music while your toddler marches or dances in place and teach him to clap or stomp his feet to the beat. Demonstrate fast beats, slow beats and double beats. Encourage your toddler to perform jumping jacks to the beat of the music or create his own dance moves to interpret the music. Extend this activity to another day by having your toddler make his own rhythm noise-makers with arts and craft items and interpreting the music again.
Creatively Develop Fine Motor Skills
Engage your toddlers in a creative movement activity that only requires finger play and learning to recite or interpret simple poems, such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Teach him the finger movements to go with the poems or allow him to make up his own finger movements to the short poem “There Was a Little Turtle.” This activity improves fine motor skills and language skills.