With the emphasis on placing babies on their back to sleep to prevent SIDS, one unintended consequence is that the neck and trunk muscles of infants are getting less exercise than they have in the past. So tummy time has become even more important! Here are some fun tummy time activities you can do with your babies that will strengthen their muscles and develop motor skills.
Tummy Time Activities for Babies 3 Months Old or Younger
A) Lie down on your back and place baby on your chest, so that you are staring face to face. Give him kisses, blow air on his cheek, or make noises and babble, keeping him occupied.
B) Roll a receiving blanket into a log and place it under the babies chest and armpits to prop him up. This allows baby to get a better view of the world until his muscles are developed enough to lift his head on his own.
Tummy time tip:
To get small infants used to tummy time, make a habit of carrying them with their tummy down at least half the time; one hand between their leg and under the stomach, the other supporting baby’s head and shoulders.
Tummy Time Activities for 3 to 6 Months
Play toy keep away while laying on the floor. Place him on his tummy, then turn and lie down yourself facing him. Challenge him with a toy, showing him the item and then placing it just to the far edge of his reach. Move objects from side to side so that it encourages baby to shift his weight and increase his range of motion.
Tummy Time for babies 6 Months and Up
A) Place baby on her tummy and play hand games or give high fives. Simply lie on the floor facing her, and take hold of each of her hands. Move her arms around like you are flying a space ship or racing a car while making sound effects, or play one handed patty cake with her. Use and extended range of motion, encouraging her to lift her hand higher than her shoulder.
B) Do side balancing exercises with baby. Place baby on her side so that she’s laying on her elbow, then lay down on your side next to her. Play with her using your free hand to move toys through the air. Babies this age should be able to lift their heads and reach for toys and chest or belly level without falling backward. This activity will build trunk strength and balance.