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Fine Motor Skills: Tunnels

Physical therapists recommend helping toddlers and preschoolers crawl as much as possible in order to have the strength needed to write correctly, dress themselves, feed themselves, and do other fine motor activities. Here are some ideas for toddlers through early elementary aged children. Once they can crawl, they can do many of the following activities.

  • You can make tunnels in various ways: fold all four top and bottom flaps of a cardboard box to the inside; put a beach towel over a TV tray; or place two chairs back to back. Have children crawl through forwards or backwards.
  • If they are afraid of an enclosed tunnel, try the shortest tunnel known to man: the hoola hoop. Have them crawl through the circle while you hold it on its side, with one edge touching the floor near the children. If you have more than one child, let the older show the younger how. They will feel so grown up!
  • When children are ready for a longer tunnel, put a sheet over a dining table and you get under it with them. Do it with them whenever you can. Your presence will help them feel safe and will calm any fears.
  • If you have a store-bought tunnel, place a favorite toy in the middle of the tunnel to entice reluctant adventurers to crawl through, then go to the other end and let them see your smiling face, encouraging them to continue to the end.