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By Katherine Shepard, PT
There are so many benefits to getting children up and moving. It builds strength, promotes social interaction, allows them to explore and learn about their environment, and so much more! Children with movement disorders or disabilities may struggle to stay active at times. Being pushed in a stroller or carried does not provide the same benefits as children moving on their own. It is important to promote movement and encourage gross motor development. Fortunately, there are many tools that can help!
Today, we’d like to provide a few examples of toys that help promote active play and motor development and reduce barriers to interact with peers for children in different stages of development.
Toys for children who are crawling or learning to walk
This type of toy can be used for crawlers and walkers. Children can push these toys forward as they crawl, promoting mobility on the floor. As they learn to walk, they can pull the toy forward or practice walking backwards while pulling it.
Push toys or push carts
A push cart can be very helpful for children who are learning to walk. It allows them to stand, walk, and learn how to navigate with more stability. Pushing a toy can also activate core muscles and improve balance.
This toy is a useful precursor to a bicycle. It provides strengthening to the legs, builds endurance, and is super fun!
Toys for children with more advanced abilities
Playing on a scooter board is an excellent strength- and endurance-building activity. One of the benefits of the scooter board is its versatility. Kids can sit on them to pull themselves forward or push backward to work on strength and sitting balance. They can also lay on their stomachs and pull themselves forward to work on arm strength.
Scooters are great for working on balancing on one foot and for hip strengthening. They are also useful for a fun, fast activity!
Cycling is a great activity to enjoy as a family. It promotes cardiovascular endurance and strengthening and allows kids to be mobile without walking. Tricycles are an excellent option for family members who cannot ride bicycles. Kids can ride their tricycles at the park, at home, or out trick-or-treating!