Baby floor play is one of those essential play activities that maybe kids are missing out on more than ever. Here we are talking about why babies need to get down on the floor to baby play, and how to set up floor play activities for babies and toddlers. Baby development depends on movement and play. These ideas will guide you in creating play activities that maximize child development through those early years.
Another great resource to check out is a new blog post on DIR Floortime.
What is Floor Play
Floor play and movement play is one of those things that not only help babies develop essential skills, it is a powerful way to help them excel with higher level tasks. There is so much more than just placing a baby down on the floor to play. Let me explain…
When little ones are on the floor in tummy time or in play activities, they are developing essential core strength and visual perceptual skills that will help them down the road in areas like reading, endurance in play, and even handwriting. Here is more information on how floor play and tummy time helps with the development of spatial awareness and other visual perception skills.
Time spent on the floor helps with kinesthetic intelligence as well. With tummy time play comes skills like body awareness and reasoning, eye-hand coordination, motor skills, and spatial ability for function.
Play For Babies
For babies, tummy time helps to build strength in the core, arms, neck, and shoulder girdle needed for sitting up, changing of positions, and coordination. Here are baby play ideas that can be incorporated into floor time activities. Movement like participating in play, changing positions, reaching, crawling, moving objects, and functional tasks require endurance and stability. Tummy time is an important task for infant babies as well as older babies for different reasons. In each stage, floor play encourages use of the body and eyes in coordinated motor plans.
More Floor Activities for Babies and toddlers
Floor play for babies can look like toys placed in front of the infant. Using noise toys, rattles, and eye-catching toys encourages reach, visual tracking, neck and head movement, and development of visual processing and auditory processing.
Floor play for infants can look like a scattering of toys placed in a circle around the child. This positioning encourages turning, rolling, and creeping or crawling, especially when the little one is pushing up onf their elbows and hands.
For very small babies, floor play can look like getting very close to the child to encourage them to pick up their head and make eye contact.
Older babies that are sitting up can benefit from a scattering of toys placed around them on the floor. Place pillows behind and around the baby and encourage them to pick up toys like large blocks as they bring the toy to their mouth to explore. Picking up and bringing items to the midline promotes endurance of core strength, stability in the core, and coordination as they reach and turn.
Playing on the floor can include baby mats or baby-safe mirrors. Check out this baby sensory play idea using mirrors for an easy way to encourage movement and endurance in floor play using everyday items such as cups, balls, and baby toys.
Babies that are beginning to crawl love play tunnels…and for good reason. Baby play tunnels are exciting and fun! But not only that, they develop skills like visual motor skills, cause and effect, visual scanning, visual convergence, and so much more. Here are more play tunnel activities for babies.
Try this indoor play idea that boosts development of skills such as fine motor skills, visual motor skills, and visual perceptual skills using toddler-friendly blocks!
Occupational therapists know the value of movement and playing on the floor has on babies. We know that babies need tummy time and a chance to move on the floor without use of the Bumbo seat, swing, and other baby positioners. We KNOW that play is the child’s primary occupation and that through play, they develop motor skills, cognition, language, and so much more.
That’s why I’m SO excited to share a valuable new resource for new and expecting moms.
Remarkable Infants is a HUGE resource for new parents. This online course, taught by 5 child development experts, is a 5 hour crash course on development of the whole child from birth through 12 months of age. It is literally everything that we WISH new parents knew about tummy time, positioners, developmental milestones, baby play, communication, sleep, and nutrition.