Spend some quality time with your toddler by simply taking a walk.

How to Get Toddlers to Walk Straight

by Pamela Harvey Bates

A major milestone in your child's life is his first steps, but that is just the beginning. Toddlers need to learn to walk in a straight line in order to further develop their gross motor skills. With a little imagination and even some make-believe, this skill can be practiced and mastered in an interactive and entertaining way. Take your little one on a learning adventure by creating a circus-like environment and reading books like "The Man Who Walked Between the Towers" by Mordicai Gerstein, "The Tightrope Walker's Dream" by Graham Best and "Mirette on the High Wire" by Emily Arnold McCully.

Follow the Leader

Place a 5-foot strip of masking tape on the floor. Model walking on the line, and lead your toddler across a few times by walking alongside him and holding his hand. Turn loose and let your little one walk the tape line by himself.

Lay a jump rope out straight on the floor and invite your child to pretend it is a tightrope. Show him how to balance by placing one foot in front of the other and holding his arms out to the side.

Build a homemade balance beam in your back yard. Start out with a long plank of wood laying on the ground. As your little one's confidence builds, spread three bricks out evenly to support the piece of wood slightly elevated off of the ground. Hold your child's hand while he walks across the beam. After a time or two, allow him to try by himself. As his skills continue to improve, you can add to the length or height of the beam.

Items you will need

  • Masking tape
  • Jump rope
  • 3 bricks
  • Wood plank


  • Add to the fun of these activities by creating a make-believe circus atmosphere. Use music, costumes and maybe even some sweet treats to enhance the learning experience.


  • Stay close by to supervise these activities even after your child has mastered the skill. Make sure that the area in which your child is practicing these activities is clear of toys and other objects.

About the Author

Pamela Harvey Bates is a teacher and a freelance writer with a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies from Angelo State University. As an educator, Bates enjoys sharing her passion for writing with her students. She has been writing for more than 10 years.

Photo Credits

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