6 Ways to Stimulate Gross Motor Development in Babies
- Set them down in a safe space so they can stretch and kick. If your baby is very young, unswaddle them and spread a blanket on the floor. Lay your baby down on their back so they can move their body. Kicking and waving their arms helps your baby strengthen their muscles.
- Daily tummy time strengthens your baby's upper body muscles. Lay your baby down on their stomach and give them a minute to move, stretch, or rock from side to side. Keep tummy time short—plan on 1 minute for every month of your baby's age. Don't leave your baby unattended during tummy time since they should only do it for about a minute.
- Sitting might not seem like a skill, but it actually strengthens their back and core muscles. To help your kiddo learn to balance, place them on the floor and sit behind them or put a big, soft toy behind them so they can lean back if they need to. Your baby may be a little wobbly at first—this is totally okay! With a little practice, your baby will become more confident and steady.
- Set out noisy toys so your baby has to shake or bang them. Babies are curious and constantly learning about the world around them. Stimulate their interest by putting out pots and pans. These may not seem like serious gross motor exercises, but these noisy toys get your baby moving!
- Get down on the floor and model crawling behavior. Some babies start shuffling and dragging themselves along, but others need a little encouragement to crawl.
- Turn on some music and start dancing! Exaggerate your gestures so your baby tries to mimic you. You might wiggle, shake, turn your body, clap your hands, stomp your feet, or wave scarves around. If your baby loves music, try playing games while you play music in the background. You sit on the floor and roll a ball back and forth, for instance.