Toddler Physical Development: Physical Milestones between 9‐12 Months

Make every day an opportunity for toddler physical development.

Here are 5 quick activities that help develop upper body strength, balance, and rhythm exploration in your toddler's physical milestones.

  1. Painting with Water

    This fun activity will help develop your child's upper body strength. Locate a small brush with a handle. Take your child outside on the sidewalk, weather permitting. Otherwise, go in the garage or basement to 'paint' the floor with water. Put the brush in a small bucket of water show your child how to 'paint.' This activity requires little or no cleanup!

  2. Soft Slide

    Children love the thrill of going down a slide. Make your own slide using cardboard and tape. Cut 2 long lengths from a large cardboard box and secure them together with duct tape. Place one end on a low chair and place pillows underneath the slide. Hold your child under the arms as you sit your child on the chair and guide your child down the slide.

  3. Standing Up

    Your child may be pulling up to a standing position by now. This vertical stance allows for many new activities. Take the cushions off the sofa. Line up some small toys on the sofa. Observe what your child does with the toys. Does your child pick them up and throw them on the floor? Does your child balance with one hand on the sofa and one hand on a toy? Does your child use two hands for the toy and balance against the sofa? Enjoy seeing what your child does.

  4. Stop and Go Dance

    The next time you listen to music, stop the music periodically. When the music stops, "freeze" in place, as you hold your child close to you. When the music resumes, exaggerate your dance moves by swinging and dipping your child. Your child will love experiencing movement with you as you enjoy the "Stop and Go Dance" together.

  5. Climbing

    Climbing develops your child's gross motor skills. For these physical milestones, you may want to think about providing some climbing opportunities for your child. You may consider a simple structure like a small jungle gym or wooden slide outside your child's play space. Try to set up equipment that your child is able climb up and down without any help. Try placing a sturdy wooden stool next to a cushioned chair. Let your child climb in and out of the chair. Climbing develops your child's gross motor skills.

With these 5 quick activities, every day can be an opportunity to navigate toddler physical development with your child.