A toddler usually enjoys expressing herself creatively, whether through song, dance, art, rhythm or rhyme. If you want to get your little one moving in innovative and inventive ways, use funky and imaginative creative movement activities. You might be surprised how much energy your tot can pour into her dramatic play.
Not only do toddlers enjoy music, but music helps you create a sensory environment for your child, rich in sounds and rhythms that help brain development, according to the KidsHealth website. These brain connections will set your toddler up for learning success. Play music and sing songs such as “Hokey Pokey,” “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” “Wheels on the Bus,” “I’m a Little Teapot” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Add in appropriate movements and gestures to get your child moving.
Anything that makes noise will be a hit with most toddlers. Create homemade noisemakers with your toddler to help her make a joyful noise. Give her an empty coffee can or oatmeal container with a lid in place and show her how to tap the top with a large wooden spoon. Make shakers with two paper plates, some dried beans and a stapler. Place a handful of beans in one plate and invert the second plate over the first. Staple around the edges of the plates and show your little one how to move the shakers to make a noise. Staple the plates securely to keep the beans inside the plates.
Introduce your child to a variety of animals by thinking about the movements and the noises the animals make. As you talk about the various animals, imitate their movements and the sounds they make. For example, a gorilla might pound his chest and make grunting noises. A bear might lumber around on all fours, growling. A bird might flap its wings and make cheeping or cawing noises.
Encourage an imaginative pretend game with your toddler, suggests Laurel Lagoni, author of "Good Times with Child Care." Activities to pretend might include a leaf blowing in the wind, a flower growing up from the ground, a ball bouncing, a car driving, an airplane flying or a ballerina dancing. Start the game by choosing something to demonstrate for your child. Tell your child what you’re doing and encourage him to try it, too. Move on to other pretend activities for as long as your child enjoys the game.