In the first few months of baby's life playtime is mainly stationary. When rolling over starts, baby's play area spreads out a bit. But when baby begins crawling between 6 and 9 months, watch out! Baby now has complete run, or crawl, of the house, and playtime takes on a whole new meaning. This early crawling stage is very short. Don't miss out on all the fun ways you can play with baby as she learns to crawl.
How playing together stimulates motor development between 6 and 9 months.
Getting up on hands and knees.
By six months of age, most babies will have learned to sit up without immediately falling over. But forward mobility has not yet begun. The first step toward learning to crawl is to entice a sitting baby to reach forward with his hands and body. Once baby leans forward far enough, he will find himself on his hand and knees. Here's how you can encourage baby to make this first move forward:
- Sit in front of baby and shake a favorite rattle just out of reach.
- Place baby's favorite plush animal toy just beyond baby's reach and make it wiggle and talk.
- Entice baby forward with a musical toy as you clap and sing along to the tune.
- Sit in front of baby and hold out your inviting hands just beyond baby's reach with an encouraging "Come to daddy!"
Now that baby is on her hand and knees rocking back and forth and ready to go, it's easy to spur your little crawler forward. Here's how:
- Get down on your hands and knees facing baby and draw her forward with your own animated face, playful singing, and clapping.
- Bring out baby's favorite toys, place them just out of reach, and watch baby take her first careful crawling steps forward.
Once baby figures out the joys of forward motion, playtime becomes more fun for everyone. Take the time to get down on all fours and join baby in play. Here are some ideas:
- Play fetch. Roll a ball a few feet away from baby and cheer him on. Don't roll it too far, or baby may lose interest. A happy clap and cheer from you will reward baby's efforts.
- The chase is on. Release a wind-up or motorized toy in front of baby and watch him take off in pursuit.
- Wrestlemania. Crawl around with baby and have a little rough and tumble fun together.
- Hide and seek. Shake baby's favorite rattle, then hide it behind your back. Your curious crawler may crawl around behind you to find it.
- Turn on a musical toy, then hide it nearby. Watch baby's fascinated search for the source of the song.
Keeping the crawling baby safe.
Watching baby take his first crawling steps is exciting for every parent, but you will soon realize that baby will do more than just crawl around looking for toys. Light sockets, electrical cords, stairs and anything breakable are magnets for the beginning crawler. You suddenly realize that you haven't baby-proofed anything, and you find yourself following baby around all day just trying to keep him (and your household items!) safe. Here are some ideas to help you keep your crawling baby safe:
- Create a safe play zone. If you can't instantly baby-proof your whole house, you can at least gate off a safe play area in one room for baby.
- Crawl around the house yourself and see things from baby's level. This may help you find more items you need to baby-proof.
- Vacuum frequently. Tiny objects on the floor are just waiting to make their way into an exploring baby's mouth. Try to vacuum baby's play area two or three times a week.
- Keep track of loose change. Coins are the most commonly swallowed and choked-on object. Keep a careful eye out for these items.
- Sharp corners are just waiting to introduce themselves to baby's head. Buy appropriate corner guards for furniture