Why Sensory and Motor Skills Are Important for Toddlers

Most toddlers are on the go from the moment they wake up. Eager to explore their environment, they use both sensory and motor skills to play, learn and interact with others. That’s why, developing these skills is important during the toddler years so that they exercise their mental, emotional and physical capabilities in the healthiest of ways.

At Children’s Discovery Center, we focus on both sensory and motor skills to engage children in self-motivated learning. This builds healthy independence and incorporates the whole child in the learning experience. Here’s why sensory and motor skills are important for toddlers:

Sensory skills help children retain what they learn.

When toddlers use touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing, they are likely to retain information better than if they were simply going through the motions. This is because the brain processes certain sensations by connecting them to related experiences. According to this article, “Sensory activities facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore.” 

Because we know how important these skills are, we offer enrichment programs that “provide an opportunity for children to become immersed in the “100 languages” – drawing, painting, weaving, building, writing, dramatic play, singing, sculpting and more.”
Here are a few ideas for incorporating these skills at home:

  • Set up a mini art studio and provide basic supplies such as crayons, watercolor paints and play-dough.
  • Point out different sights, smells, and sounds to your child as you go throughout the day.
  • Listen to instrumental music and ask your toddler to identify basic instruments such as strings or percussion.
  • Makeup stories and engage your child in storytelling.

Motor skills help build strength and coordination.

It’d be interesting to note how many times a day parents say things like: “Slow down!” or “Be careful!” 
As toddlers run, jump and climb, it’s parental instinct to slow them down to prevent them from getting hurt. That’s why engaging your children in healthy activities that incorporate their motor skills is a good way to channel their energy and build strength and coordination in the process.
Here are a few ideas to implement at home:

  • Create a mini obstacle course that includes crawling through, jumping over and running around objects.
  • Work on fine motor skills by stringing beads, sorting shapes and using scissors.
  • Do parent/child workouts including jumping jacks, running in place and tossing a ball back and forth.

Combining sensory and motor skills is important for toddlers as they learn, grow and develop. The more you engage all of their senses and gross motor skills, the more they will retain what they’ve learned and build coordination.

Children’s Discovery Center is committed to helping your child develop these skills and achieve optimum early development. We love seeing toddlers apply both their senses and movement in self-directed play and exploration. And, we love helping parents incorporate activities at home that engage these skills in the healthiest of ways.