Child Developmental Topic Developing motor skills Stages: 25 to 36 months

What’s going on for baby?

Our young tamaiti is growing bigger and stronger and becoming more co-ordinated. Their large motor skills and abilities will continue to improve as they use their big muscles for running, jumping, throwing and climbing.

They will also be developing their fine motor skills when building, drawing, playing with small toys and doing other activities that require manipulation. These activities use all the small muscles, especially those in their hands and fingers.

As their fine motor skills progress and they become more proficient, they’ll be ready to learn to use scissors and to do threading activities.

As always with more motor ability, including both large body strength and finer manipulative skills, children are likely to use their growing skills and confidence to explore anything and everything. That means those who care for them may be presented with more challenges to keep them safe.

How can parents and whānau help?

  • Give their child plenty of outside playtime.
  • Visit playgrounds, parks and open spaces for running, jumping, climbing, sliding and swinging activities.
  • Encourage ball play — kicking, throwing and catching.
  • Now that their child can climb independently, it’s a good idea to review safety around the house and garden. Adults will need to keep reviewing the safety of the environment as their child’s skills continue to develop.
  • Give them lots of opportunities to use crayons, felt pens, chalk, paint, glue and collage materials.
  • Give them lots of experiences using blocks.
  • Have small scissors with rounded tips available for their child to use. Start with cutting play dough — it doesn’t slip or slide like paper can. Encourage a one-handed grip on the scissors and use prompts like ‘Thumb up, fingers down and squeeze’.
  • For threading activities, use a shoelace knotted at one end. Thread household objects such as milk bottle tops with a hole drilled in the middle. Again, use verbal prompts to guide them, for example ‘Poke (the end through), grab that end with the other hand and pull all the way through’.
    Keep their growing tamaiti safe by supervising their activities.
  • Keep matches, lighters and all medications well out of reach. Remember to warn visitors about these risks too.
  • Check the house, the garage and the garden for possible hazards. These places may seem harmless to adults but can pose a risk to a curious and adventurous child.
  • Make sure their child can’t get out on the road and remind all whānau and visitors to be aware of safety in the driveway.

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