Learning to crawl is one of the most important baby milestones. Learn more about how this skill develops and how you can support your baby as he learns to crawl.
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If you ask me, mobility is one of the most fascinating aspects of motor development in babies. Little ones get their first taste of getting from point A to point B when they start rolling and then, it’s like they put the gas pedal to the floor and rapidly move through sitting, crawling, standing and walking.
In a matter of 6 months, your baby can go from staying where you put her to unrolling the toilet paper, emptying the Tupperware drawer or scaling a flight of stairs before you even realize that she’s left the room!
But, let’s take a little step back and just look at how and when a baby learns to crawl.
Developmental Milestones: Learning to Crawl
Once little ones become comfortable and sturdy in sitting, they’ll be ready to get into all fours. You may catch her rocking back and forth or just moving in and out of sitting from this position. Gradually, she will learn to lift one hand and keep her balance as she reaches for a toy. She may start to commando crawl — pulling herself along the floor with just her arms. And eventually, she will be motivated enough and coordinated enough to figure out how to shift her weight and take off crawling!
This skill is an important baby milestone is generally mastered between the ages of 6-9 months.
Crawling is the foundation of SO many important pieces of development including: bilateral coordination (using both sides of the body together to perform a task), core strength, reciprocal arm and leg movements, hand strength, motor planning, balance, hand eye coordination, and more! And it is the skill that will quickly get your child’s body ready for bigger better things like standing and walking, climbing and running!
There are some fun and easy ideas for how to help a baby crawl.
Crawling Activities for Babies
The first two ideas below for how to help a baby crawl are for pre-crawlers – or babies just getting ready to learn this skill.
1 || Pre-crawling practice
For babies who are just learning to crawl – sit on the floor with legs outstretched, place a toy between your feet. Place the baby on her tummy on your legs, facing the toy.
Gently move your legs, rocking the child from side to side or bouncing both legs together. The baby’s arms and legs will be draped over the sides of your legs, so they’ll begin to get a sense of play in an all fours position.
2 || Crawling support
Try placing a towel or blanket under the baby’s tummy and use it as a little sling to help support his weight in all fours – again giving him a sense of what it’s like to be on his hands and knees without having to take all of his weight.
Once baby is an official crawler there are all kinds of really fun activities you can try:
3 || Tunnel play
Playing with a tunnel is always a big hit – place pillows inside to crawl over, place toys inside to retrieve, drive cars/trucks through, roll a ball through.
4 || Crawling up and down a ramp, hill, or incline is great for strengthening and for sensory input.
5 || Crawling obstacle course
Create your own obstacle course using couch cushions or pillows for your baby to crawl over.
6 || Chasing play
Motivate reluctant crawlers with a ball or other rolling object, or blow bubbles for them to chase!
7 || Crawling races
Start off by saying “ready…set…go!” and then take off crawling across the room! Your baby is bound to be close behind you!
8 || Car wash
Make a crawling “car wash” by hanging ribbons with heavy duty tape on the edge of a coffee table or other opening for baby to crawl through.
9 || Textured crawling
Try crawling across bubble wrap or other textures that are taped to the floor – you can even make your own textured squares out of different craft paper and fabrics.
10 || Bean bag balance
Place a bean bag on your baby’s back and see if she can balance it there as she crawls across the room!
11 || Don’t be afraid to let your little one crawl outside! Crawling on grass is great practice with a soft landing!
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