Bike Riding – When you begin to teach your child how to ride a two wheeler with training wheels, you want to make sure you spare your back. It can take a toll on you when you are leaning over the handle bars helping them steer and propel along! One trick I have learned is to tie a jump rope to the handle bars (my favorite is found in the $2 bin at Target and it is made of a flexible plastic tubing). You can use this to walk in front of them and assist with steering as well as when they get stuck going up a slight incline or when their feet end up in that perfect position where they can’t get the pedaling started again. This can also be used on tricycles that don’t have the push bar in the back!
Standing on One Foot – Being able to stand on one foot is important for kids for things like skipping and hopping as well as for things like putting on shoes in standing and putting on a pair of pants or shorts. It can help kids become more independent with their activities of daily living and feel a sense of accomplishment when they begin to dress themselves. The Stomp Rocket is a great toy that is fun and challenges their balance on one foot when they lift their other foot to stomp. Encouraging your child to use both legs so they don’t favor one over the other is also beneficial.
Catch and Throw – The Nubby Ball and the O-Ball are two great balls for helping with catching and throwing. The Nubby ball is soft enough and has the tactile bumps on the outside that your child is able to get a grip around it when catching it and throwing it. The O-ball allows your child to hold onto it in order to get a better throw or catch their fingers through the loops while catching.
Jumping – Using a trampoline is a great way to encourage jumping. Not only do they get the feed back from the springs, it also makes jumping easier for those initial jumps. I have had kids run on it to have them experience the bounciness and then they eventually learn to go from one foot at a time to two feet at a time. Or just have them go down and up repetitively. Once they master jumping its also a great way to have them burn energy! Using a kids trampoline makes sure that the elastic isn’t too stiff so that your child is able to use it. If you have a large trampoline in your back yard its also a great way to encourage running by playing chase around the perimeter. They get the bounciness needed for running!
Tip Toes – Suction Cup Balls are a lot of fun. They stick to various surfaces and are great for encouraging throwing. They can also be used to get your child to begin going onto their tip toes by putting them just out of reach and having them have to go up onto their toes to get them. As they get more advanced you can also have them try to jump up to get them off!
If anyone has any other toys and tips that they have used with their child please feel free to share – we are always looking for new ideas!