You don't need to take your toddler to a park or playground in order to stay active. On rainy or lazy days, you can stay indoors and still fit in some large motor development with some at-home climbing activities. Add some music for extra sensory value. Keep the activities simple and small-scale -- you don't need to install an indoor gym in your play room. A few well-chosen items can spawn a legion of climbable moments.
It can be nerve-wracking watching your toddler navigate a staircase for the first time. Unsupervised, stairs can be dangerous for young children. But a short flight of stairs -- say, three or four steps -- can work well as a small climbing activity for your toddler. Stay close and watch out for tumbles and stumbles. Teach your child to climb down backward, which can help minimize spills. But let her have fun, too, by bouncing down the steps on her butt.
Place a small collapsible play tunnel on the play room floor and watch your toddler climb inside, on top and underneath. It's also possible your child will stand it upright and try to climb in that way, or lift it up and put it over his head. Let him get creative -- the more he enjoys it, the longer he'll play.
Soft Climbing Toys
A pile of throw pillows can make a fun impromptu climbing spot for your toddler. Or pull the cushions off your sofa to use for this purpose. You can also purchase sturdy foam cushions shaped like blocks and wedges and stack them together in various configurations to create a soft obstacle course for your child.
Small Slide Sets
If you have the space, you can purchase a small square climbing playset made of durable plastic for your toddler to climb. These often come equipped with a mini-slide and places to climb under, around and through. Sometimes you'll find a tiny basketball hoop or short climbing wall attached as well. Check the safety specifications of any model that you're interested in and double-check for recall notices before purchasing.
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