Your tot’s understanding of where her body is in relation to other objects around her develops hand in hand with her movement. She’ll learn the words that correspond to different movements and vice versa.
Crossing the road safely is a great opportunity to develop these skills. Holding your child’s hand, say ‘stop’ when you stop. Then say ‘look this way’ and point to the right, then ‘look that way’ and point to the left. When the traffic is clear, say ‘go’ and cross the road. Your child will soon start to point with you and, as her spatial awareness develops, she will also tell you when to ‘stop’ and when to ‘go’.
Toddlers can get confused by actions with a similar movement. She may call turning in a circle when standing, ‘rolling.’ Help her match her words to her actions. Encourage her
to lie on the floor and roll in both directions, while saying, ‘I’m rolling over.’ Then get her to stand up and turn around and say, ‘I’m turning in a circle.’
Experimenting with other movements
Seeing a dog or a cat walking, or a bird flying, will stimulate your tot into spontaneous actions, with sounds and words as well as movement. These develop your child’s movement patterns, as she’ll need to co-ordinate her activity in new ways.
After a walk outside, have a game where you move like the animals you’ve just seen. Or if you read a book about animals, use them as inspiration. Try wriggling like a worm, curling up and rolling over like a cat, squatting and leaping like a frog, walking on all-fours like a bear, or standing on your feet and galloping like a pony.