Glasgow 2014 might not be on your radar but it’s just around the corner – and your child can get in on the sporting action with these activities
If you want to mix up walks in the park or toddles round the garden, there’s no better inspiration for activities with your child than one of the biggest sporting events of the year.
But forget the precision of lawn bowls and negotiating the Pommel Horse (yep, we definitely left those leotard memories behind at school…) – your toddler’s Commonwealth Games are all about having fun and getting her moving.
1. Lawn bowls
So, think of this like toddler skittles. Either you invest in a set, or you could even use an onion or potato and roll at stacked baked bean cans (one M&B-er's son loves the idea of this!).
‘This sort of thing is good for hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills,’ says Joanne Mallon, author of Toddlers: An Instruction Manual: A Guide to Surviving the Years One to Four.
‘But these skills do take time to develop so, while you don’t want to take over, help her a little so she doesn’t get discouraged.’
This is all about letting your child have fun on her trike, balance bike or first bicycle (check out our introduction tips).
‘Toddlers tend to have a lot of physical energy and – like puppies – will need walking at least once a day, so cycling is a good way to vary this and hopefully help them sleep better at night,’ says Joanne.
‘Toddlers tend to have a lot of physical energy and – like puppies – will need walking at least once a day'
Quite simply, head to the pool. ‘It’s really more about splashing and feeling confident in the water at this age,’ says Joanne.
And have the snacks ready – chances are she’ll be pretty tired and hungry afterwards.
Thankfully, your child’s a bit too young for the WA/C/GD position politics of your teenage years, but she can still enjoy throwing something at a target.
‘Socks into a wastepaper basket has always been a favourite in our house,’ says Joanne. ‘Again this is good for hand/eye co ordination, but make the target very easy to hit or else she could get frustrated.’
Play with a mini racket and something a bit lighter than a tennis ball – perhaps a hollow plastic one – and have fun passing her the ball to try and hit.
‘Balloons can also be good to bat about with your hands, but be gentle so it doesn’t burst and scare her,’ says Joanne.
Encourage your toddler to try and kick by holding the ball in front of her, and showing her how it’s done.
‘A rugby ball is also a good shape for her to carry, so you could turn it into a chasing game,’ suggests Joanne.
Three words: toddler obstacle course. Think about things like a mini trampoline, something low for her to balance and walk on, or a tunnel to crawl through.
‘With this you’re encouraging problem solving as well as doing something physical,’ explains Joanne.
This actually led to certain members of the M&B team clearing space in the office to see if they could still do forward rolls. The result? You’re never too old – or too young.
‘Get down on the floor or bed and do them with your toddler to show her how, or at least help her with the turn so she picks it up,’ says Joanne. ‘Toddlers love to perform so give plenty of praise.’
What sporty games do you love with your toddler? Let us know on the comments board below.