What are the best ways to promote physical activity in babies?

“Provide babies with resources that offer challenge, intrigue and surprise, support their investigations and share their enjoyment…” Belonging, Being and Becoming, The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, page 35.

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What are your best activities for babies in the centre nursery?

The emotional and developmental benefits of physical activity are well-known. What is less well known is that the lifelong benefits of physical activity actually begin when many babies are seemingly less active.

We always need to remember they are going to bump, fall, get into spaces they shouldn’t; these are all a part of their development.

Physical activity for 0-18 months is vital to:

-          Develop posture

-          Encourage basic skills that help later complex movements

-          Build muscles and tendons

Stretching the body is also how a child stretches their developing brain. Throw a large blanket on a grassed, sand or titled area to provide a safe and welcoming place for babies to lift their heads, and to develop the ability to roll, sit up, crash over and start again.

Skiing: Lay the baby on their back, with their legs facing you. Holding onto the legs, move the babies’ legs like they are skiing. Throw in some jumps, corners and you’ll have the baby laughing their head off.

Crawl space: Empty a room of toys, leaving just larger furniture; giving a child time and space to explore a seemingly empty room without distractions is all about allowing a child to simply crawl.

Climbing time: A child’s natural desire to pull themselves up onto furniture should be encouraged; use different textured furniture to promote exploration and sensory development.

Add Mirrors: Use mirrors and mirror balls to entice children to move and stretch. The lifting motion can also develop fine and gross motor skills. The mirrors will excite children as they develop a greater sense of self.

As with older children, keeping physical activity fun will make sure both children and educators enjoy the experience!

Don't forget:

Movement = Sensory development:

  • Sight
  • Touch
  • Depth perception
  • Hearing