The boy has recently discovered a piece of independence and started crawling. Those who know me well enough will also know that I am a big stickler for childhood independence. After all, an independent child is also a confident one. So while I keep a close eye on where he goes and what he touches (mostly because I don’t childproof the house much out of principle) there are a few games that make learning to crawl fun for the boy while improving his skills and speed at the same time.
1. Toy chase
What is your baby’s favourite toy? True to baby nature, my son has more interest in everyday items than in any of his toys. In his case, he loves pegs. I keep a bag of them in the living room and whenever I pour the bag out, I can see his eyes swivel my way and he will make his way across to me at top speed. So I then take this further and grab a handful of pegs, which are then strewn into different corners of the room. Each time, the boy will crawl towards the pile, grab a fistful and stuff them in his mouth. I then let him enjoy his success, before I gather the pegs up, go to the opposite corner of the room and start all over.
2. Car chase
Toy cars are amazing. By the time he is two, he will probably have an entire car park full, just like the girl did. And a train set. On the right surface, cars will easily escape little fingers, move themselves away from inquisitive hands and – with their bright colours (and if you’re really lucky with their irritating noises) – encourage babies to follow them wherever they may go. If you’re feeling brave, use a remote control car for extended fun (especially for dad!), but be prepared for it to end up in baby’s mouth.
3. Tunnel explorer
This one requires a little set-up. Place a couple of dining chairs back-to-back to form a tunnel, then cover up with as many blankets as you can spare. Start off with a simple, straight tunnel and later be as creative as you dare and your number of chairs allows. Put lights and light-up toys at the ends or even inside the tunnel. Wait at the end or poke your head through the blankets in between. The possibilities are endless.
Turn baby into its own car by adding a light, large box with holes cut into it for the face, arms and legs. Alternatively, turn a light washing basket upside-down and place it on top of baby. Let them crawl towards you, chase you, try out moving when extra weight is added. It gets them tired quite quickly, though, so keep it short.
Have an array of breathable (!) blankets, sheets or light fabrics at hand. Place baby on the floor and place a blanket on top. Encourage them to escape from underneath the blanket. For ‘learner crawlers’, make this easier by using stools and books to hold the blanket in place slightly off the ground.
Crawling is a useful, fun skill for babies to develop. Encourage them to try it out on different types of surfaces, with or without socks on. Carpets, wooden flooring, tiles, grass, sand – let them explore as many different situations as you can.