Toddler Play

Do you have any of these questions?

  • My child is awkward and still falls a lot. What can I do?
  • His speech and grasp are poor. Is he ready for preschool?
  • My child won’t listen or sit still. Is he hyperactive?
  • My child is very sensitive to touch and cries a lot during playtime. How can I help?

We are offering information on toddlers for parents, teachers, OT’s, PT’s, and all child caregivers. We have found that parents often have early concerns about their baby or older child that are very warranted. Catching little problems early prevents developmental lags and speech problems that can cause bigger concerns in preschool. There are many things parents can do at home to help a child be ready for school and to enjoy new situations. A toddler presentation; our “Toddlerhood, Developing Preschool Skills” teaching PDF; handouts; and book recommendations are available for download below. Information on this page will help parents understand the importance of good play.

Information about Toddlers

The years between one and three continue to be very important formative years. The child needs to be ready for preschool in all the following areas: gross motor, fine motor, visual acuity, social, behavioral, language development, and personal independence. There is much to learn from barely walking at age one to fully able to care for all personal needs by three. Because a child can walk and run, doesn’t mean all the early gross motor skills are acquired. If a child has fine motor problems, behavior, or speech delays; gross motor skills should be evaluated by a skilled Physical Therapist. That evaluation should include checking the early skill control for rolling, belly crawling, creeping, and kneeling balance.

If a toddler has sensation problems: doesn’t like shoes off, won’t eat most foods, cries excessively when hurt, or covers the ears when the phone rings; a sensory screening should be included in the above evaluation.

Toddler Play

Gross motor skill development still is the foundation for all other areas of child development. Running, jumping, climbing stairs, throwing, and kicking are the building blocks for safe play in school. But did you know that how the body works can affect how the eyes work? Good body coordination makes it easier for a child to be successful later when he goes to school.

“Good” play can prevent:
– Lack of strength, coordination, needed for preschool
– Developmental delays in speech, fine motor skills, and behavior control
– Clumsiness, and excessive fears

“Good” play will help children develop the muscle strength and coordination needed for:
– Preschool success with paper, pencils, and crayons
– Good balance when climbing and jumping
– Good eye tracking for reading
– Good focus and attention skills and confidence

Publications of Interest

Please click the links below to download each PDF item:

Toddlers Bloom And Grow
(Toddlers-Bloom-And-Grow.pdf; 20KB)

Toddlerhood, Developing Preschool Skills
(Toddlerhood-Developing-Preschool-Skills.pdf; 2.6MB)
A Toddler Developmental PDF demonstrating why and how a child develops as they do normally for age 1 to age 3. This is a PDF to teach parents the long term effects in school when toddlers move along the right road of development in all areas: language, behavior, gross and fine motor control, and personal independence. Socialization is also very important.


Bibliography of Interesting Books

Beverly Stokes, “Amazing Toddlers, Moving, Communicating, Learning, Age 1”, Video,

Margaret Sasse, “If only We’d Known, Early childhood-and its importance to academic learning”, Victoria, Australia, Toddler Kindy Gymbaroo Pty Ltd 1990, ISBN 0-9595417-4-8

Carla Hannaford. “Awakening the Child Heart: Handbook for Global Parenting”. Hawaii. Jamilla Nur Publishing. 2002.

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