Toddlers are known for their high energy and enthusiasm for life. They are always on the go, wanting to learn, play and enjoy life. Though a physically impaired toddler has more to overcome than his peers, many activities can be tailored for any child. Implementing art, music and expressive activities into your play can keep physically impaired toddlers active and make sure that every one can join in the fun.
Art is a fun creative outlet for children and toddlers love getting crafty. Choose crafts that are simple and easy to assemble. Finger painting, drawing and simple crafts such as round cereal necklaces are all enjoyable and encourage self expression and the development of fine motor skills. Your child may need some help depending on his impairment, so it is important to be proactive in addressing his needs to prevent frustration. If his right side is weaker than his left, you might tape down his paper for painting so he only needs to use one hand. If your child's hands are impaired, you could let him finger paint with his feet.
Music therapy is a powerful tool used by mental health and physical medicine professionals alike. It can brighten your child's mood and engage him in a stimulating activity. Music helps promote artistic expression and engages children in an atmosphere that promotes cognitive development. Choose musical activities that involve clapping, stomping and singing to create an enriching activity. Use simple instruments such as tambourines, shakers and kazoos to strengthen your child's sense of rhythm and promote artistic expression. If your child's physical impairments prevent him from using the instruments, have him sing, hum or make noise instead. Let your tot take the lead and go with it!
3. Expressive Play
Expressive play is an essential part of a toddler's development and participating in imaginative play may be a fantastic outlet for any toddler, especially a physically impaired child. Play with puppets and have your child act out scenes from his day. Encourage him to tell stories or to communicate how he felt when he was excited or frustrated. It may be relieving for him to express how he feels when he isn't able to do something that a typical toddler is able to do. Allowing him to act out and express his frustration gives him a positive release for his frustration. Allow your child to take the lead and enjoy the time together. It may also be fun to just be silly. Pretend you are a cat and need to be fed or want to be scratched.
4. Treat Them The Same As Other Children
Offer your physically impaired toddler every opportunity you'd give a typical child of the same age, making adaptations to the materials and environment for his individual needs. Getting him to lay outdoors in the water, the sand or in your yard is not only enjoyable, but also critical for cognitive development. Changing a tot's environment promotes physical and cognitive skills and builds his confidence through observation, exploration and experimentation. Providing a rich sensory experience is an important part of development, especially for children with extra challenges.
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