Walking is often the skill that it most anticipated by parents. A child’s first steps open a new world of opportunity for exploration and play. But..now that your kiddo is walking on their own – what skills come next?!
It’s important that new walkers are provided opportunities to progress their walking skills. Once your child is comfortable walking, choosing walking over crawling, and becoming a bit more steady on their feet, here are some things to help them progress with their walking skills:
- Walking on uneven surfaces
- This is often the first task or challenge we introduce to new walkers
- Uneven surfaces help to build balance, strength, and stability in your new walker
- Outside surface variations include: grass, asphalt, sand, and tan bark
- Be creative! There are many ways inside surfaces can be incorporated into challenging your new walker’s balance: laying down pillows or sofa cushions, walking across bubble wrap, folding up a yoga mat onto itself a few times are just a few ways to start with this
- Step over obstacles
- This helps to allow for the beginning stages of standing on one foot and also helps to encourage lifting up the feet higher off the ground – both important factors for not only walking but future activities such as running!
- Varying the height of objects your child has to step over allows for variation in challenge
- Incorporating objects of multiple heights also increases the challenge – your kiddo will have to constantly adjust how much they shift their weight and lift up their leg
- We love to use pool noodles around here for practicing this skill! An easy at home object to use is your leg – notice this also allows for a variety of heights!
- Inclines and Declines
- You’ll probably notice that your new walker has a bit more challenge walking up and down ramps or inclines/declines
- We often find that walking down ramps is a bit more challenging than walking up – this takes a lot more control over movement!
- Allowing for practice of this while out in the community will help your new walker to build up their strength
- Bonus! It also requires them to have to plan, change, and grade their muscle activation throughout the task!
- Combine all 3!
- Create a fun and interactive obstacle course that incorporates multiple components
- This is something older siblings often love to help with!