What to do with this activity?
You don't need expensive toys to keep your older baby or toddler busy. Tearing paper into small pieces can be fun and satisfying for them. The act of tearing encourages useful finger and co-ordination skills. In order to tear paper, your toddler will learn to hold the paper between the thumb and pointing finger of each hand. They then have to move each hand in a different direction. It's quite difficult!
Tissue paper, light coloured paper, wrapping paper, old glossy magazines or even junk mail can be used. Don't use newspapers because newsprint comes off on hands. Explain to your child that this is paper set aside for tearing, and to treat books and other paper items with care.
Help them stick down the torn paper to make simple pictures - watch this Youtube clip of toddlers making an owl picture. Create interesting pictures with coloured paper or torn magazine images.
Part of the pleasure of tearing paper is the sound, as this Youtube video of a laughing baby proves.
Learning to move, reach and grasp helps children develop the muscles and skills to scribble and learn to write when they get older. Body awareness and learning to do big movements (like crawling and walking) and small movements like the pincer movement (where you lift up things with your index finger and thumb) are important parts of your child's development. It is part of awakening and developing your brain. For your young child, reaching for objects helps build their coordination and will help them hold crayons later on.
Have fun with your child dancing to music. This helps their coordination. If your child is moving their arms or body at all they are dancing!
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