The right toys for children provide great learning opportunities, and help them work on a variety of developmental skills. Many indoor toys tend to be small, and mostly encourage fine motor development. Check out the big ones that help children get into various positions, and encourage more than just sitting.

1. Floor Puzzles

A child putting together a floor puzzle usually gets in several different positions during the process — hands and knees, squatting, and standing. Skills children practice while working on big puzzles include large muscle development, hand-eye coordination, visual-perception skills, pattern-building and recognition, and matching.

2. Big Books

Publishers print a variety of popular children's books in large sizes, allowing for children to easily read them together with friends and siblings. Big books encourage children to lie on their stomachs and explore detail in illustrations. Skills include tracking, reading, using context, and retelling a story. Give children props to go with the book so they can practice retelling the story on their own, a fabulous pre-reading and comprehension skill.

3. Floor Mats

These come in all shapes and sizes. Some include things like interlocking pieces that children can help put together and take apart, numerals, colors, and alphabet letters. Other mats include maps to learn geography, roads to use with toy cars, and background scenes for dramatic play. Padded mats can be also be used as a soft foundation for practicing tumbling skills.

4. Big Blocks

Big cardboard blocks are great fun for toddlers and young preschoolers and encourage moving from standing to squatting position, balancing, building, and creativity. Parents can also use different sizes of boxes. Secure sides and box flaps with packing tape or duct tape for reinforcement.

5. Big Coloring Books

These are just fun for kids, and allow children to color in a position other than sitting at a table. The large pictures are also great for coloring a picture with a friend, a brother, or a sister.

6. Art Easel

Using chalkboard easels for drawing and painting allows children to stand and create. Children can also practice writing skills — simply tape a piece of paper on the easel and let them write away with markers and crayons. Don't have an easel? Use a small piece of tape to attach a piece paper to a wall, the side of a cabinet, or a refrigerator — first covering the surface with a large piece of newspaper or trash bag to catch off-the-paper accidents.

All of these toys are perfect for encouraging cooperation among two or three children — a lifelong skill just as important as academic skills. Take advantage of the opportunity to work with children on sharing, working together, and problem-solving.

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