Tall Kneeling: Use a couch cushion on the floor, the couch with no cushions or a plush chair as the platform for the stacking toy and your child's arm. They can engage their core and practice weight bearing on their arms as they weight shift to complete the stacking. Also, as shown in the picture, you can snag this super cool jumbo stacking toy and watch your babe go up and down in tall kneeling to stack each piece - talk about a booty workout!
Standing on Tip Toes: Hold each stacking piece just above arm's reach and encourage your child to get up on their tip toes to grab it. This will promote balance and calf strengthening!
Squatting: Alternately, place the stacking pieces on the floor and let you child squat down to retrieve each piece before stacking them together.
Reaching in sitting: This is great for kiddos who aren't old enough for standing yet. Placing the stacking pieces all around your baby, so he/she has to reach in all directions with challenge balance and create weight shifting.
Tall kneeling: While your babe is concentrating on working a puzzle, he/she can also be in tall kneeling working on hip/core strength and weight bearing on the arms!
Squatting: Put the puzzle on the table and the pieces on the floor. This way, a squat is needed each time your child needs to put a new piece in the puzzle.
Balancing on an exercise ball: You can use a small ball with feet planted on the floor, or even a peanut ball to straddle feet on both sides. Either way, you can put the puzzle on one side and the pieces on the other side to encourage reaching to complete the puzzle. This will activate the tummy and the hips to improve balance and strength!
Crawling through a tunnel: You've probably figured out by now that a crawling tunnel is one of my favorite tools. Place the puzzle at one end and the pieces at the other end and encourage reciprocal crawling to get through to the other side.
Important Note: If your child has a hard time with fine motor skills like puzzles or they are just learning that skill, it may be hard for them to do a challenging gross motor task at the same time. If you see your child getting overly frustrated, maybe take one motor skill away and only work on one at a time for a while!
Tall Kneeling: Use a couch cushion on the floor, the couch with no cushions or a low, plush chair to prop the toy and your baby's arms while their knees are on the floor. This engages the core and simulates the crawling position while also increasing arm strength!
Tummy Time: This one probably seems obvious, but musical toys can make tummy time much more enjoyable. Use just one toy to encourage lifting the head and reaching or use several toys to encourage weight shifting and pivoting.
Crawling: Light up, musical toys can be a great motivator to start crawling. A crawl ball rolls on its own and makes crawling a game of catch!
Reaching in sitting: You can place a musical toy in any position around your baby to encourage weight shifting and reaching for increased core strength
Tall Kneeling: Use a couch cushion on the floor, the couch with no cushions or a plush chair as a platform for the shape sorter and arms. This activity promotes core activation, weight bearing on the arms and weight shifting that simulates crawling.
Simple Obstacle Course: You can make an obstacle course based on your baby's current skills and abilities. Whether you are stepping in/out of a hula hoop, walking or crawling over pillows or cushions, or completing an American Ninja Warrior course, a shape sorter is a great activity to complete while completing the course.
Reaching across midline: Place the shapes on one side and the container on the other side for reaching across midline to promote weight shifting and core activation.
Crawling through a tunnel: Place the shapes at one end and the container at the other end to work on crawling skills while completing the shape sorter!
Important Note: If your child has a hard time with fine motor skills or they are just learning these skills, it may be hard for them to do a challenging gross motor task at the same time. If you see your child getting overly frustrated, maybe take one motor skill away and only work on one at a time for a while. An easy modification for shape sorters is to open up the container and let you child easily drop them in the open container versus actually matching the shapes to the holes!
Standing on tip toes: Blow a bubble, catch it on the wand and then hold it just above arm length. Standing on tip toes is a great balance activity.
Standing on one foot: What is more fun that stomping bubbles? Stomping promotes short periods of single leg stance, which is a great balance exercise.
Stepping up: Stepping up on a curb or a small step to pop a bubble is a great strengthening and coordination activity.
Reaching across midline: For younger babes who aren't standing/walking yet, reaching across midline in sitting to pop a bubble is a great core activation and balance exercise.
Engage in Tummy Time: Help your baby stay engaged in tummy time with colorful pages in his favorite book. Fold out books are perfect for tummy time because they stand up by themselves more easily.
Balance on Exercise Ball: Use a large ball with feet suspended in the air or a medium ball with feet planted on the floor to practice core strength while looking through books. Touchy-feely books are great for this to keep your little one super engaged!
Sit with good head control: Whether you use a boppy or pillow for supported sitting, prop your baby against you for sitting, or let him practice independent sitting, a book is a great distraction!
Practice Single-Leg Stance: Prop a book up on a table or hold the book at eye level while your baby stands with one foot elevated on a book or small step. This will encourage balance and standing on one leg!
Squatting: Squatting to pick up a block and then regaining standing is a great leg, core and balance exercise.
Standing on tip toes: Standing on your tip toes to build a tall tower is another great balance activity.
Kicking: Have your tower all built? Practice standing on one leg to kick the tower down!
Reaching across midline: In sitting, reaching across midline to grab a block and build a small tower to improve core strength.
Sidelying: This is great for small babies who aren't ready to work on squatting or kicking yet. Lying on the side and playing with blocks or knocking down a tower is a great coordination and arm exercise.
Animal walks: Pick an animal from a bucket and practice walking like that animal (duck, penguin, crab, etc)
Animal jumps: Pick an animal from a bucket and practice jumping like that animal (frog, kangaroo, grasshopper, etc)
Sitting on a peanut ball: Balance on a peanut ball while reaching across the body to grab an animal and put it in the barn
Crawling through a tunnel: Pick an animal and then crawl through the tunnel to place the animal in the barn.
Rolling/catching: In sitting, you can roll/catch a ball to work on sitting skills, core strength and hand/eye coordination
Catching: You can work on hand/eye coordination and balance to catch a ball in standing. Use different size balls to make the activity harder or easier (larger ball are easier to catch, smaller balls are harder).
Kicking: Kick a stationary or rolled ball to work on kicking, balance, and standing on one leg
Sitting: Sit on a large ball with feet free or on a medium-sized ball with feet planted on the floor to work on core strength
Transferring objects: Use an o-ball for easily transferring objects between hands, bringing hands to midline and bringing objects to the mouth
Tummy time: Use a large or medium size ball as an alternative tummy time position