Use scarves and jam to the music.
If your child is agreeable, rub lotion over different body parts, naming each. Let your child do the same to you... things like heels and the ball of the foot will be helpful for learning dance moves such as tiptoeing, etc.
Count steps from here to there. Start at one point and guess how many to point B. Try with large steps, jumps, etc.
When your child wakes in the morning, wish good morning to their different body parts. “Good morning (child’s) thumbs. Good morning (child’s) neck," etc. Touch each part gently as you say its name.
Turn on some fun music and dance around, carefully but playfully passing child back and forth. (A spin with dad, a boogie with mom, up to the ceiling with dad, and so on.)
If your child is still in diapers, make changes easier by playing Simon Says (without the fakes). When they’ve got the idea, try more difficult things like "touch your wrist to your ear" and help him/her figure it out.
Grab a sheet/blanket and take your kiddo for a gentle swing. Put on some peaceful music and swing them to the rhythm.
Place chairs and/or other furniture in an open area. Take yarn and cross it between the different pieces close to knee-level to make different spaces for kids to step over/slide under/etc. Put toys/treats/stuffed animals around the outside for your child to collect.
Draw a different animal, color, or shape on each finger (or an old glove). Ask your child to show you each item.
Make an obstacle course – walk on a folded blanket, jump over items, crawl through a large box or tunnel of two stable objects/blanket, step on a pillow, stand on one foot while counting to 10, twirl inside a ribbon circle, etc. Next time, ask your child to set up one for you.
· In the bath, blow bubbles for popping
Try strainers – encourage you child to scoop up small toys.
· Use the old baby tub for fun with washing babies or animals.
· Freeze small toys in water and toss them in the bath after they have turned to ice.
· Gather animals - choose or have your child choose one at a time from a basket/bag and move and make sounds like the animal.
· Hide a few. Give your child verbal clues about where to find them. Directions might include under/over/near/take 4 steps forward/turn around/squat low.
· Use old bottles to set up bowling. A heavier hard plastic ball works well.
· Use a baby blanket or towel as parachute – try to keep the ball in/try to get it out.
· Take a bowl/bucket of water and play splash the ball in the water. Set up a stand-behind line to help improve throwing aim.
· Toss scarves, paper wads, stuffed animals, etc. into the basket. Set up a line of tape/ribbon/etc. to stand on for extra aim and distance challenges.
· Have your child give stuffed animals a ride.
· Go on an imaginary journey by boat (look out for sharks), train, etc.
· Let them hop in the bird nest; pretend to feed your baby bird.
· Water outside can be a simple fun activity - fine motor skills, aim, and artistic creativity!
· Squeeze water out of clean sponges and into a bucket.
· Bubbles are great for breath control. Try to pop them with fingers, wrists, feet, elbows, etc.
Go for a magic carpet ride around the house on an old blanket or towel. Try different speeds/directions, and add gentle stops (more abrupt as your child's balance/reaction improves).
Five years with your kiddo at home isn't really that long (I know it felt like forever then). Watch their kitchen dance performances. Let the song play on repeat. Play ballerina waitress one more time.
Buy the stupid $40 recital picture. Yes, it's a total ripoff, but you'll treasure this more than you think, especially the ones where her/his expression was far from perfect.
Tantrums are often not about what the child’s screaming about. I’ve seen many new siblings at dance class melt-down about their shoelaces.
Practically anything can be a ‘toy’ if you play, too. Things that aren’t child-safe are often safe if you’re there. Go ahead and let her touch the balloon.
Trust yourself. You know more about your child than anyone on the planet. Trust your child – they know a lot, too.
Advice, including this page, is only one person’s opinion. Your doctor, your mom, the dance teacher - all just one person’s opinion.