“When did they start crawling?” My husband and I would frequently ask strangers with babies a developmental stage or two ahead of our son. The answers we got varied so much we were left knowing nothing. Now that I have a runner, I see why those answers had so much variation – most of us don’t quite remember when it happened! According to the Center for Disease Control, a baby who is going to crawl typically begins between six and nine months. But it’s important to note that not all babies crawl, and it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with them.
Babies are advised to sleep on their backs per current AAP research. But what should they be doing when awake? Medical authorities emphasize the importance of tummy time for strengthening neck, back and shoulder muscles, they generally don’t provide specific activities to do with your baby to encourage development during tummy time. The following are four fun activities to do with your baby if and when he starts crawling.
Hide and go seek
Keeping up with a crawler can be a lot of work. When my son began crawling, we loved games that promote movement and thought. We all play peek-a-boo with our babies, so hide and seek is a natural next step.
By playing this classic game, you teach your child that items are always there – even when you can’t see them (object permanence). This concept helped my son understand that mommy being in the other room doesn’t have to be a source of distress. Hide and seek with babies is a bit one-sided, but watching their faces light up after they find you is priceless.
Toss ‘n drool (or catch)
Unless your child is a super baby, it’s unlikely that he can catch a ball yet. But lightly tossing or rolling a ball in his direction gives Baby a chance to work on hand-eye coordination and motor skill development.
In our house, this looked like taking a small cloth or rubber ball and passing it just close enough to my son that he would have to crawl over to it. Most times he would just pick up the ball and chew on it. But periodically, he would throw the ball in my direction and we would get to start all over again.
Kiddie pool play
Once your baby is in the crawling stage, he experiences a significant increase in mobility. And it’s exciting for both you and Baby! Shortly after my son began crawling, we decided he was ready for swimming lessons. It was scary for him (and me) at first, but after a few sessions, he was able to use his new found mobility to kick and move around the pool while I helped him float.
Under supervision, infant swimming lessons bring the opportunity to get comfortable in the water and provide a chance for exercise. By adding brightly colored floaters to the pool, we motivated him to kick harder and travel further. And the best parts are that you don’t have to be in a large pool, and parents can join in too!
Baby boot camp
Ready to train the next generation of Olympians? Well now is the time to start! Just kidding, the crawling stage is way too early to start high-intensity training, but it is a perfect time to make your baby’s first obstacle course!
The impressive thing about this game is that it can be as detailed or as simple as you like. You can purchase sensory style obstacle courses that requires assembly and tubing, or you can go the easy way and make your own version with pillows and bed sheets.
My son wasn’t nearly as interested in an obstacle course as he was in playing Godzilla, but he still had lots of fun. Whether you go for DIY or store-bought, your baby can get tons of play from this activity.
Figuring out what games to play with your baby during new developmental stages can be hard at first. But with if you pair your creativity with your baby’s curiosity, you will always be in for a good time.
About the author:
Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez is a writer who specializes in sociology, health, and parenting. Her work has appeared in Healthline, Yes! Magazine, HuffPost, Allure, and many other publications. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or check out her website.
- “Babies need tummy time!” Safe to Sleep. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/sts/about/Pages/tummytime.aspx.
- “Back to Sleep, Tummy to Play.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, January 20 2017. Retrieved July 27 2017. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Back-to-Sleep-Tummy-to-Play.aspx.
- “Milestone Moments.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved July 27 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/pdf/parents_pdfs/milestonemomentseng508.pdf.