Inclusive Resource on Sensorimotor Child Development for Parents and Teachers

For Babies and Toddlers

Placing the toys off to the side rather right in front of the child requires a little reaching

Provide lots of opportunities to move around. Each time the baby rolls across the blanket onto the floor, a sense of distance improves.  Making a beeline for the stairs (which you thought the baby couldn’t reach) starts to cement near and far.  Cruising around the entire room begins to establish an understanding of “square footage.”  When the neophyte crawler tries to make it down that one step into the living room and has a face plant, a valuable lesson in depth perception  occurs.


Provide lots of opportunities to explore objects.  Common objects gathered from all over the house will suffice.  Obviously make sure the objects are not sharp enough to hurt the child and large enough that they won’t be ingested.  Also make sure there is nothing toxic about them.  Even with these restrictions, I think there is a treasure trove in anyone’s house.

  •  In the vanity you may find plastic bottles of varying shapes, curlers, brushes.
  • In the kitchen cabinet, bowls to nest, spoons to bang on pots, lids make great cymbals, baskets of varying shapes and sizes.
  • In the junk drawers, be surprised with what you may find.

Provide many opportunities to use imitation.  Hand play and body play activities are important.  This facilitates visual attention and the movement reinforces spatial concepts.

Toys and stuffed animals provide the opportunity for increasing visual attention.  Dance the stuffed bear in front of the baby.  This not only increases attention but by moving back and forth the eyes learn to “track,” or follow the object with the eyes.


Picture books help the baby and toddler to begin focusing on two dimensional visual information and make the conversion from the three dimensional to the two dimensional  visual world.  They also help increase visual focus and attention.

Block play can be introduced with “Stack ‘em ups and knock ‘em down” games.  As the toddler grows, encourage independent stacking.

Nesting toys should be a regular part of play time as well.  Measuring cups and plastic bowls will suffice.  No need to run to the store for these, although very inexpensive plastic cups can be purchased at the local  pharmacy (what used to be the five and dime).

Activities which require Visual Tracking:

  • Balloons
  • Marble runs
  • Bubbles
  • Puppet play

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