One of my favorite games as a child—and might I add, now one of my least favorite games as a pregnant momma—was Twister. Now you have images of me struggling to put my swollen right foot on red, while grunting as I barely manage to hold myself up, all while praying that I don’t wet my pants, don’t you? However, my two-year-old doesn’t seem to mind, and insists that we play it daily! Twister is a great game to build gross motor skills though, so I’ve come up with ways to play it with her without actually having to play it myself.
If you aren’t familiar with gross motor skills, they are the large muscle development skills. This includes running, jumping, kicking, pushing, pulling, etc. They are often at the forefront of parents’s minds in the first 18 months or so, with a heavy focus on sitting, crawling, and walking. But somehow, as babies develop into toddlers, the focus on gross motor skills seems to fade and if toddlers aren’t given enough opportunities to develop these skills, they may remain underdeveloped.
Gross motor skill practice doesn’t have to be a regimented or a specific routine. It’s really all about play! Playing a game like Twister is a fun way to get those large muscles moving, and it gives your child a chance to practice and show off the new skills they are developing.
Here’s how we use Twister in our home!
Twister for Toddlers:
Twister is recommended for ages 6 and up, but there are easy ways to modify the game to make it suitable for younger children.
Tip #1: Play without the spinner! Make up your own rules and directions and don’t worry about the spinner. Many young children won’t be able to maneuver the way a 6 year old would, so playing with the spinner and Twister rules would make it difficult. This makes it more interesting anyways!
Tip #2: Give directions using colors and directional words to give your child practice recognizing colors, left and right, directional words, etc. Ex: “Jump on a blue circle”, “Touch a yellow circle with your right hand”, or “Hop backwards on the red circles”.
Tip #3: Encourage silly and BIG movements. Toddlers love any opportunity to be silly, so be creative and let them have fun! Use action words like jump, hop, skip, twist, bend, stomp, march, gallop, walk, etc. You can even give directions that include these action words along with an animal. For example, you could say, “Stomp like an elephant on blue”.
Tip #4: This game can be used as a great “busy activity” when you have your hands full but can still give them attention and verbal directions! We often play this game while I’m cooking dinner, since I can’t participate anyways. I just put the mat where I can still see her in the living room and shout out directions while I cook. Just remember to remain involved and enthusiastic or they will quickly lose interest.
How do you encourage gross motor skill development in your house?!
Remember to “Like” The Well Nourished Nest on Facebook and sign up for our emails to stay connected and up to date on all our activity posts!