Before or after the first steps, young children do not count their efforts to express their great vitality. Indoors or outdoors, well-chosen motor skills and motor toys enrich their physical activity and give them pleasure. What motor toys and for what benefits? Advice and explanations from Fabienne Agnès Levine, an educational psychologist.
Before 10 months, toys to be active and reactive
What toys? As soon as babies spend long waking hours lying on the ground, around the sixth month, they need toys which, by their volume and their mobility, encourage their locomotion: large ball, tumble, inflatable awakening roller, toy wooden or plush on wheels (large car with handle, animal). For this stage, we focus on motor skills, however, if you want to find toys to keep your child busy, you may check the list.
To be completed with inclined carpets, wave mountains, and other blocks of foam because well before balancing on two feet, the baby enjoys crawling, climbing, and sliding on gentle slopes.
Hoops placed on the ground offer differences in level which enrich the area to be explored.
At home, cushions and bolsters placed on the ground are enough to satisfy the need to climb on a raised surface!
Why? The accessories and toys put on the way of the baby who moves at ground level satisfy his curiosity and encourage him to move forward, backward, turn around, change direction in relation to the obstacles encountered.
All these rolling and moving objects encourage him to coordinate his vision, the position of his arms, and his whole body to move. By playing with them, the baby acquires ease in turns and gains confidence, including in a non-smooth, non-flat, unpredictable environment.
Between 10 and 18 months, as long as the toys roll
What toys? It is time if you have not already done so, to add foam balloons and other toys large enough and with wheels (cars, animals).
A canvas tunnel to dive into, a ball pool to step over, a small slide for climbing and sliding are elements of stimulating motor course.
The walking cart offers good support to accompany the first steps, provided that it is stable (in general, a wooden cart rocks less than a plastic cart). Some are equipped with an adjustable brake to limit falls. As long as the child does not find his balance to move forward while holding on to the bar, he prefers to push and pull it, remaining on his knees. And he’s right!
Why? The various motor skills and rolling toys support the progress of standing and help strengthen the muscles. They also help to better feel its body axis and to better coordinate the upper and lower body. Using all these objects, the apprentice walker tests his balance, trains himself to coordinate several actions, and learns to orient himself in space.
Between 18 and 24 months, the golden age of the wearer
What toys? Once the children know how to walk and almost start to run, they enter a period of the motor explosion which opens the door to a variety of motor toys: slides integrated or not in a small motor structure, toys to drag behind them thanks with a cord, heavier balloons, seesaws, etc.
But the new toys that provide the pleasure of movement and speed are the carriers, on which the child sits astride and advances with the feet placed on the ground. Most models appeal to the imagination, representing an animal or a means of transport (car, coach, truck, four-wheeled motorcycle, etc.); some have a trunk under the seat, some have a roll bar at the back which serves either as a backrest when the child is seated facing the steering wheel or as a support point when he stands up and pushes him.
The catalogs intended for early childhood establishments offer a compact, single-color model, without steering wheel or handles, limited to a base on which to sit, equipped with four swivel wheels: the “U-carrier”. You can also find simple skateboards on which to lie face down.
Why? The little walker is making more and more progress to maintain his balance while moving. Moving large toys and using means of transport reinforce new skills: knowing how to move forward, backward, slow down, accelerate, push, pull, jump, etc. Motor toys encourage him to repeat several combinations of actions, for example when he bends down and pushes a toy before getting up, or when he tilts his chest, turns a steering wheel, and keeps his head straight to look where he will.
Between 24 and 36 months, the balance of the wheels
What toys? At the age of new skills linked to the development of the nervous system and the growth of the mus system
circular, the list of toys promoting great motor skills is long: balls, rollers, hoops, tunnels, foam blocks, ball pools, slides, drag toys, carriers, swings, in addition to climbing structures and rolling machines. Other toys offer new experiences: trampolines with or without a grab bar, simple skill games (cloth target, mini basketball hoop, throwing rings), large cardboard building bricks, light, and easy To manipulate.
The child who has learned to walk is smart enough to freely exploit all the possibilities of a shell called “bilbo”, designed as a toy for motor skills and seesaw.
The climbing structures constitute a three-dimensional play area, with slope, net walkway, climbing wall, and all other elements that encourage prowess.
Carriers whose four wheels guarantee ease of driving are added the first tricycles (therefore with three wheels) equipped with pedals as well as balance bikes, bicycles without pedals, but with two, sometimes three wheels. To choose them, it is necessary to check that once the child has overlapped one of them to sit, he keeps his feet flat and therefore can push with his legs to move forward.
The scooter provided you have two small wheels at the front and one at the rear (rather than just two wheels), can be used for two years, the child can find his balance to ride with the handlebars firmly.
Why? There are many capacities at work with motor toys: coordinating vision and action, evaluating distances, anticipating slowing or accelerating, maintaining your balance while moving, dissociating movements from the top and the lower body, memorize series of movements to be linked.
The progress favored by the toys mentioned above concerns all dimensions of motor development; they depend on mental and not only physical qualities.
And after? Toys for great motor skills
At 3 years old, the young child still has a lot of motor skills to improve, in terms of running, jumping, throwing, actions, and movement in general. From month to month, he plays by making larger movements and crosses larger spaces. As a result, his time for physical activity in the open air is getting longer, even if the elements of nature – big stones to climb on, branch to hang on, a trickle of water to climb over, etc. – supplement or replace the play material.
Between 3 and 6 years, the range is enriched further, to the rhythm of the opportunities of the environment and individual experiences: bikes with or without small wheels at the back, gantry accessories (rings, bar to swing), mini stilts (ropes), rollerblades, beam, jumping ball, skittles, etc. The nursery school program provides for progression in learning around the domain of “acting, expressing and understanding through physical activity”, which reinforces the acquisitions made with motor toys and which prepare well for initiation to a sport, around 5 or 6 years old.