Teaching toddlers to walk safely as a group
Would you like to teach the toddlers in your group to walk safely as a group? Here is a step by step guide that will help you succeed.
To begin, allow children who seem ready to walk in safe areas they are familiar with.
Organize several different activities that will help children learn to move about in a variety of ways. For example, you may:
- Invite children to walk slowly, walk quickly, hop around, etc.
- Encourage children to hold a friend's hand or your hand as they walk around the yard.
- Create an obstacle course that involves a few simple activities such as crawling through a tunnel, climbing over a box, or walking between two toys.
- Draw a path on the ground using cones or rope. Another option is to set hula hoops on the ground.
Safe outdoor areas
Look for safe areas where you can put your little walkers to the test. If you use a walking rope, the safest place to see if children can hold on to it and follow you is of course a playground. Grassy areas such as a soccer field can also be used for your walking test. A schoolyard can represent another interesting option. Church courtyards often have pretty areas that can safely be explored with young children.
Within your daycare
Children learn to walk slowly and not run indoors at a very young age. You can use daycare hallways to practice using your walking rope with your group. Encourage children to hold a friend's hand as they follow you around the daycare. You may use adhesive paper to stick colourful footprints on the floor and invite children to follow them to reach different areas within your daycare, the kitchen for example. Naptime mattresses can be used to create a path. Simply arrange them in a line on the floor and have children walk on them. This method is a great way to represent sidewalks. Colourful adhesive tape can be used to draw a road network on the floor. Use figurines, toy cars and emergency vehicles to create scenarios that will help you explain the importance of respecting safety guidelines to your group.
Your first real walk in your neighbourhood
Do you finally feel ready to go for an actual walk with the toddlers in your group? This is the final stage. Consider the following tips to make your first walk a success.
- Pick a very quiet street with little traffic, a dead end is ideal.
- Plan a very brief outing.
- Ask another adult to join you.
- If your group includes younger children who still require a stroller, ask your little walkers to hold on to stroller so they stay close to you.
- Encourage parents to go for walks with their child at home to provide children with the opportunity to practice what they have learned.
Toddlers can be taught to walk as a group through play. Certain children will almost immediately learn to walk safely whereas others will require more time. Keep in mind that respecting each child's rhythm is very important.
Enjoy rediscovering your neighbourhood with your group!
Early childhood educator