Introduce your toddler to tumbling activities you can enjoy together.

Tumbling Activities for Toddlers

by Mary Davis

Your toddler hasn't slowed down since he started walking. He moves faster and gets more daring every day. Why not turn the little guy's constant movement and experimental gymnastic moves into directed toddler tumbling activities? The Mayo Clinic advises that toddlers are ready to run, kick, dance, climb and tumble along with other active play. Tumbling includes many of these activities, which are great for developing large motor skills, coordination, strength and balance. So, move the coffee tables and lamps out of the way, pile up some pillows, lay out a thick quilt and put your grown-up activities aside. You and your budding gymnast can have a wonderful time together as he works out some energy and learns some safe and fun tumbling moves.

1. Animal Movements

Simple animal movements will strengthen your toddler's muscles to prepare for tumbling and will provide loads of fun. Show your toddler how to raise her bottom off the floor and walk around like a silly crab. Crouch down together with feet and hands on the floor; then spring up like a frog or a kangaroo. Have her crawl slowly like a turtle and then quickly like a mouse, or slowly like an elephant and fast like a galloping horse. Have her toss a beanbag and take turns retrieving while walking like any type of creature.

2. Exercise Fun

Teach your little one to do different stretching and reaching moves to prepare for tumbling. Reach to the sky and then touch the floor. Stand still and spread out arms to twirl like a windmill or hold steady and run like a flying airplane. Your tot can hop on one foot with a little steadying from you or become a wheelbarrow as you hold his legs. Challenge him to lie flat on a soft quilt, move his hands up over his head and roll across the quilt.

3. Cushion Tumbling

Stack some couch cushions to build a soft stairway. Hold your little climber's hand while she traverses the squishy stairs. Help her hop from one cushion to another. Put your arms around her waist from the back as she tucks her head to her chest and attempts a somersault on one large cushion. Hold both of her hands so she can bounce on a good solid cushion like a toddler-style trampoline.

4. Balancing

Put a tape line on the floor or a string line outdoors in the grass. Cheer him on as he walks on the tape, carefully putting one foot in front of the other. Graduate him to a sturdy wooden plank about 2 inches tall. Besides just walking, he can try to stand on one foot, turn in a circle and walk without using his arms to help keep his balance. Help him sit on a rubber ball without falling off. Have him lie on his tummy over the ball and do some tricks.

5. Best Tumbling Toy Ever

Remove your little one's shoes and lie down on your side on a thick quilt or good carpeted area. You will be the best tumbling toy she has ever played on. Let her tumble over your side from the back and balance her as she reaches the floor and attempts a somersault. Move to try to gently shake her off your hip as she pretends to ride a horse. Turn onto your stomach and have her crawl from your feet to your neck.

About the Author

Since 1992, Mary Davis has sold numerous articles and stories, greeting cards, calendars and novelty items. She also has sold Christian education reproducible books and Christian children's journals. She writes Sunday school curricula and teacher ideas and tips for both Christian and secular markets. Her topics include everything from children's stories to OSHA/safety topics.

Photo Credits

  • Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images