#5 of the Top 5 Most Important Things to Do with Your Toddler/Preschooler

If you asked me what the top 5 most important things to do with your toddler/preschooler are, this is what I would say:

#5. Practice motor skills as much as possible.

motor skills

This is a biggie in my opinion.  Gross motor skills and fine motor skills…you use them every day.  The earlier your child gets a handle on them, the more things he/she will be able to do without frustration!  

According to the Babycenter website:

Motor skills are motions carried out when the brain, nervous system, and muscles work together.  Fine motor skills are small movements—such as grabbing something with your thumb and forefinger—that use the small muscles of the fingers, toes, wrists, lips, and tongue. Gross motor skills are the bigger movements — such as running and jumping — that use the large muscles in the arms, legs, torso, and feet.

I started really working with Luke on motor skills when he was around 2 and right away I started seeing big improvements.  He surprised me a few months ago when it started getting cold enough to wear a jacket and he could zip his own coat!  We had never even really practiced with him! 

One example of fine motor practice we do is that I typically give the kids a spreadable item for lunch or snack at least once per week.  For example, I might give them goat cheese and crackers, or almond butter and a fruit spread with toast.  Instead of fixing it for them, I serve them the items all separate and let them assemble using a spreader.  We use silicone muffin cups and little stainless steel sauce cups often!  L&L LOVE spreading and often request this type of meal/snack.

One example of gross motor practice we do is I let L&L keep their Radio Flyer bikes in the house to ride when they want.  We are blessed with hardwoods throughout the downstairs, so it’s a great space for the kids to ride.  L&L ride their bikes every day, go extremely fast on them, but have learned to have great control.  These little bikes are awesome and I cannot recommend them enough.  They are also nice because they are big enough for tall children.  (Both of my kids are average to thin, but Luke is a month away from 4 years old and solidly wears 5T shirts and pants.  Lilah is 28 months and solidly in 3T shirts and pants.)

Here is Luke’s bike: Radio Flyer Scoot-About

Here is Lilah’s bike: Radio Flyer Tiny Trike

If I had to suggest just one, I’d go with the Radio Flyer Scoot-About.  I like the look of the Tiny Trike better because it’s wooden, but the Scoot-About has an adjustable seat and is slightly bigger overall, so it’ll last longer as your child grows.  My 1 year old nephew has the Scoot-About and he can also ride it just fine.  I found both of our Radio Flyer bikes on Craigslist for $20-$30.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts including many, many more fine and gross motor activity suggestions!  (Newly added posts: Fine Motor Practice Suggestions)

Do you practice fine or gross motor activities with your child?
Read more in the Top 5 Most Important Things to Do with your Toddler / Preschooler series:

This post may contain affiliate links.

Genny Upton

A former teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. Creator (and writer) at In Lieu of Preschool and Parent Teach Play. Currently publishing my first children's picture book!