At this age, your child is becoming more nimble. He is developing his physical skills through play and exploration. Your child is now able to jump, slides, swing, run and walk with better balance and agility.
He can move around independently and coordinate his bodily movements better. He is bursting with energy and enjoying the freedom and ability to move at his own pace. He will be enjoying outdoor activities and can spend hours at the playground!He is also developing a sense of awareness about what his body can do. He will enjoy pushing his limits and exploring what he can do. Be around to supervise when he’s up and about on those playground obstacle courses. He might give the trampoline a go or explore the climbing structure. Be close enough to support him if needed, but do give him space to test his own abilities as well. Your child is building on these skills progressively over time and mastering self-help skills such as feeding and dressing himself and learning to go to the toilet on his own. He is able to perform tasks that require fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, like buttoning his shirt and picking up noodles with his fork.
WHAT YOU CAN DO?
Pick shirts or blouses with big buttons. Allow your child extra time for dressing and undressing so that he can practice his emerging skills. For a start, try letting your child do part of a skill, for example, you may begin the button through the hole and let him do the rest. Pick tops with buttons which he can button and unbutton easily. This develops your child's self-help skills, independence and fine motor skills.
Try block building! Your child will enjoy stacking blocks to create his own city. Ask your child what he is building – it could be a block of flats, a skyscraper, the Marina bay Sands, London Bridge, or anything he can think of. Block building is great for enhancing balancing and stacking, hand-eye coordination and imaginative play.
Play hopscotch! Remember the good old days when you used chalk to drew a hopscotch grid on the ground and played the game with your friends? Well introduce it to your child now. Improvise by using masking tape to create your very own hopscotch in the comfort of your living room. Hopscotch is a fun way to develop your child’s balancing skills and coordination.
Build sandcastles at the beach. Bring spades, containers and trucks to build sandcastles. Make up a story as you go along. Ask your child “What are you building?”, “Who lives there?” and offer suggestions such as “Do you want to make a ramp for your car park?” or “Would you like to have a pond in your building?” Sand play is a great form of sensory play. It allows your child to deepen his understanding of concepts such as measurement, volume and shapes.
Create your own obstacle course at home or at the void deck. Use small hoops, pillows, cushions and cardboard boxes to create an obstacle course for crawling, hopping and balancing. At the void deck, which is a much bigger space to play in, invite the neighbours’ children to join in, cardboard boxes to create your very own obstacle course. Your child will have hours of fun going round the course. This also helps your child develop his spatial awareness, gross motor skills and sense of balance.
Go to the playground. Choose a park which offers child-friendly obstacle courses, such as balance beams, climbing towers, see-saws and slides. Supervise your child over these obstacles and offer support or a hand to hold onto whenever needed. Use words of encouragement to help your child get across successfully. At this age, children are more competent in walking, running and balancing but they still require your supervision to ensure their safety. These activities will help your child develop his agility and dexterity.
Play ‘Simon Says’. This will not only help your child develop a sense of body awareness, it also cultivates listening and comprehension skills in understanding and following instructions. For example, “Simon says, balance on one foot” or “Simon says, hop three steps to the right”. Playing ‘Simon says’ with your child is fun and engaging as your child attempts to complete the tasks that Simon has given him. Be mindful of what your child can and cannot perform and always set your child up for success. This will boost his confidence as he progresses to more challenging tasks.
Go cycling! You can bring your child to the park or the neighbourhood to try out his tricycle. When he becomes better at pedalling, you can progress to cycling in the parks. Emphasise the importance of watching out for other vehicles and pedestrians.
Water play in your bathroom! Fill the bath tub with rubber ducks, cylinders, containers, tubes, and you’re ready for water play. Your child will love sitting inside the tub and pouring water from one container to another. Use containers of different shapes and sizes so your child can learn about size, volume and shapes while pouring and splashing. Talk about the items in the tub, on what floats and sinks, the shapes and sizes, how swallow or deep the containers are.