If it’s too cold to get outside but you need to get your toddler busy and moving, here’s a fun idea that combines gross motor skills with brain play: Set up a “toddler Olympics” with stations all around your home where your child can stop and tackle a challenge. Choose from just a few of the “events” below or do them all; either way, your toddler is sure to win a gold medal. Thanks must go to The Toddler’s Busy Book as inspiration for this game!
In random order, Veronika tackled the following:
Station 1: First she jumped over a jump rope. Picking it up was more fun though, and she’s practically ready to do a classic jump rope move.
Station 2: Next she walked along a tape balance beam. She loved doing this at a run, too!
Station 3: Now she had to crouch down to build a tower with blocks. Encourage your toddler to make his or her tallest creation yet!
Station 4: I set up two cones as a goal post, and Veronika’s job was to get the ball through. Toddlers can roll or kick, and Veronika chose the latter!
Station 5: Now we were moving into some fine motor skills. First, she clipped clothespins around an empty oatmeal canister.
Station 6: Next, I set out cut pieces of straw for her to thread onto a lacing cord.
Station 7: Time to scribble and draw!
Station 8: Back to those gross motor skills: she used an empty paper towel tube as a “golf club” to putt around a ping pong ball. I didn’t have a goal for her to get this into, but an empty shoebox on its side would be perfect.
Station 9: Shape sorter time! This was arguably her favorite station, taking the time to make sure she got every shape in its proper hole.
Station 10: Sock match! Lay out a few pairs and see if your toddler can help each sock find its mate.
Station 11: You can’t go wrong with classic toddler bowling. Veronika rolled a small ball toward empty paper towel tubes for a toddler strike. Empty water bottles work well, too.
Station 12: An old favorite, threading canning rings onto a spoon. Tip: Hold the spoon steady in a blob of play dough.
Station 13: Hula hoop time! Veronika’s first challenge was to jump into it, but then she rolled it along the floor, pretended she was driving a car with it as her wheel, and more.
Station 14: Discus and Javelin throw. This was the closest event to the real Olympics. I drew a bullseye on a large piece of butcher paper (newspaper would work, too), and showed her how to toss a paper plate towards it like a discus.
Use drinking straws instead as a javelin!
Station 15: Her final stop was a chair maze! Make a big maze out of any chairs or cushions around the house, and encourage your toddler to make it through. The twist was that she had to crawl, no walking allowed!
Overall, this was an ambitious course for Veronika that challenged her body and brain, and it turned into a full morning of delight. Needless to say, she could revisit the stations at her leisure and keep busy with the various toys and items for hours.