Movement activities provide babies with the practice needed to strengthen their bodies. This gross motor activity will promote your baby’s head control, core strength, and muscle tone.
Learning Area(s): Physical Development
- Beach ball or exercise ball
Using a beach ball or exercise ball, deflate it slightly and place your baby on top of the ball, tummy side down. Support your baby by holding his hips or thighs and gently and carefully roll and rock your baby from front to back and side to side. With practice, your baby will strengthen his arms, legs, neck, and tummy muscles.
- Be careful to never leave baby alone on the ball.
- You can vary the angle at which your baby is positioned, depending on how easy or difficult it is. A greater incline will be more comfortable for a baby who is just beginning tummy time, and a flatter position right on top of the ball will be more challenging and appropriate for older babies who are more comfortable being on their tummies.
- The first time your baby is on the ball doesn’t have to be long—it can be less than a minute. The goal is get the baby comfortable on the ball and to become comfortable yourself with positioning the baby (you can have another adult help you for stability if needed).
- One way to increase your baby’s interest in tummy time on the ball is to place an interesting item (e.g., mirror or toy) directly in front of the ball.
- After some tummy time, your baby might also like to sit in your lap and touch, tap, roll, and push the ball.