You may have noticed your baby is moving more and more every day—it may sometimes feel like they’re in constant motion! That’s great, as all this activity is helping to make their muscles strong for crawling and learning to walk.
At 10-12 months, playing remains an important part of your baby’s development. It’s fun for you both and is a great way of spending time together, creating special memories along the way. Toddlers between the ages of one and two years old are active for at about 60-180 minutes over the course of a day, and shouldn’t be sitting still for long periods of time (apart from when sleeping). So now’s the time to get your little one into the habit of being active!
Even though your baby may now think it’s much more fun to play than sleep, try to keep the morning and afternoon naps going. At this age, your baby is very busy, so they still need adequate sleep to balance the activity and make sure they’ve got plenty of energy.
Encouraging your baby to be active when they’re young can help set up healthy habits that may last a lifetime. Now that your baby is getting more mobile, building up their strength, and becoming capable of more complex movements, why not try out these five activity ideas?
- What? Push and pull
How? Give your baby a ball or a toy on wheels so they can practice pushing and pulling it along the floor. For babies who are already cruising or walking, push toys, or ‘walkers’ that allow your baby to walk with support, are great.
Why? Pushing toys along the floor will help strengthen your baby’s arm muscles and encourage them to use both hands in a coordinated way. Your little one will also be able to practice either walking, cruising, or crawling to get the toy back when it’s out of reach.
2. What? Shake it all about
How? Sing action songs and rhymes to your baby and perform the moves together. Support your baby by holding their hands so they can move to the words and music. Songs like ‘The hokey pokey’, ‘Head, shoulders, knees, and toes,’ and, ‘Row, row your boat’ are classics.
Why? Moving to music can help develop your baby’s physical coordination, imitation skills, and rhythm.
3. What? Let’s shoot hoops!
How? Your baby doesn’t need to be walking to start developing their budding basketball skills. Put or hold a basket, tub, or box on the floor a short distance way. Place a ball in front of your little one and encourage them to pick it up and throw it towards the basket.
Why? Ball games are great for eye/hand coordination and developing motor skills. They also teach your little one that being active is fun and gives a sense of achievement.
4. What? Little scooter
How? While your baby is practicing crawling on all fours, face your baby and start to back away, without ever going out of their sight. Keep your little one reassured by talking to them and encouraging them to crawl towards you.
Why? As your baby will be keen to catch up with you (and get a cuddle!), backing away, and encouraging them to come to you, can help boost their crawling speed and confidence. This helps your little one build up the muscle strength they’ll need for cruising and learning to walk.
5. What? Walk the walk
How? Hold your baby’s hands, or one hand if they are confident enough, and encourage them to walk around. Make it more fun and challenging by adding obstacles, such as cushions, for your baby to walk over, and items, such as side tables, for them to walk around.
Why? Your baby may now have the strength to stand alone, cruise around, and maybe even take first steps. This game will help your little one practice those skills and give them the confidence to try and take their first steps on their own.
Your baby loves to be on the move now. In the blink of an eye your little one has crawled across the room. Your baby may even be pulling themselves up to standing and starting to cruise along the furniture. After all that activity, make sure your baby stays hydrated by offering a drink of water during and after playtime. Also be sure to provide safe, supervised play for your baby.
Choose an area of the floor to dedicate to your baby’s play. Make it a safe play space by:
- Removing anything that could hurt your baby
- Checking for, and removing, any choking hazards
- Locking cabinets and doors
- Covering electrical outlets
- Installing safety gates
- Keeping any walkers or push-and-pull toys away from stairs and steps