Toddler Mini Olympics

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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.

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Station 2: Next she walked along a tape balance beam. She loved doing this at a run, too!

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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!

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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!

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Station 5: Now we were moving into some fine motor skills. First, she clipped clothespins around an empty oatmeal canister.

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Station 6: Next, I set out cut pieces of straw for her to thread onto a lacing cord.

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Station 7: Time to scribble and draw!

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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.

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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.

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Station 10: Sock match! Lay out a few pairs and see if your toddler can help each sock find its mate.

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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.

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Station 12: An old favorite, threading canning rings onto a spoon. Tip: Hold the spoon steady in a blob of play dough.

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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.

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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.

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Use drinking straws instead as a javelin!

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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!

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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.

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