Often parents find themselves wondering how much they can actually do with their child before they've reached the crawling or walking stage. With your first, it's easy to let those precious months when you're not chasing around your baby slip by without realizing just how glorious babies are before they're mobile. But if you want to find ways to play, interact, and stimulate their mind, there are still a ton of things to do with your baby before they're crawling. As a matter of fact, this can be a great opportunity to drive focus to hand-eye coordination or sensory play before your little one has the ability to get away from you.
Although the list of things to do can seem limited, there are actually quite a few fun activities to try with babies before they crawl both indoors and out, including things like taking a flight, working on coordination, dressing them up, and even going to the movies — really! Although any baby stage is challenging in its own way, they also each provide a unique set of opportunities for babies and their parents to bond.
So if you're trying to figure out what to do next before your baby starts crawling, there are plenty of fun and educational activities to try.
1. DIY An Elaborate-Themed Photoshoot
Once kids hit an age where they can get away from you in any manner (whether it's by crawling, walking, running, or driving), they're going to take advantage of it. So as a parent, it's your god-given right to take full advantage when they're mobility isn't so hot. Use this time to dress them up in whatever you want and get creative with backgrounds and backdrops if you feel like it. Then, take all the photos. Because from the time they start protesting, chances are slim that they ever want to sit still for your camera again.
2. Go Watch A Movie... In The Theater
As a parent, I quickly realized there's a very small window for going to a movie where your baby is young enough they won't cause a fuss or try to get down to run around. After that window closed, I struggled to take my little ones to a movie until they reached an age I knew they'd sit and enjoy a showing for so long. But just because they may not appreciate the latest Disney movie, doesn't meant they can't have fun in a big, bright, new environment. Check if there are any local theaters near you that offer a "family" hour where it's a bit brighter and you'll be sure to find other parents with young children, even newborns. Be prepared to breastfeed or bring along snacks and formula to avoid any hunger fussiness, and bask in the idea that you will not have to get up to chase them around at any point.
3. Go To A Sensory Museum
Again, even though they might not remember or fully understand the idea of a museum at the pre-crawling age, there are still a ton of discovering and play opportunities to take advantage of at a kid's museum. The large majority of kid's museums have an area for infants where they can enjoy water tables, toys, and bright, sensory activities or objects specified to all different ages. This is a bonus for moms with multiple kids too, because these types of environments offer something for all of your kids to enjoy.
4. Embark On A Trip By Plane
It's hard to believe, but with a baby that can't yet crawl as your carry on, flights are actually often much easier to maneuver. Although you'll have to do a little extra prep (babies do require some additional gear), the idea that you won't struggle to keep them confined to one spot is, quite honestly, a luxury compared to what it'll be like once they start crawling. If you have a friend, family member, or just general destination you want to visit that seems like a grueling drive with your baby, consider a short flight instead and enjoy the travel experience. Bonus, babies that young fly for free, too.
5. Work On Sign Language
Your baby isn't able to fully use their legs just yet, but they have use of their hands long before they can crawl. Focusing on a skill like sign language while they're not distracted by crawling and walking is super beneficial for coordination and also in communication between parents and kids (but also in the real world as well, if they keep it up). Consider finding a simple starter book on Amazon and see how far you get. You can start as early as the newborn stage to make it a normal part of their every day routine.
6. Create Your Own Sensory-Touch Center
To go along with the idea that hand coordination comes much quicker than the crawling or walking stage, it's also a great time to make a sensory bin or create sensory activities. You can put some new, unique-feeling toys or materials in a Tupperware container (make sure they're not small enough to eat) or even out on their high chair tray. This helps them explore new objects, peaks their interest, and is an all-around great learning experience.
7. Get Them Moving
If you're assisting in pushing forward the crawling process, Parents suggested getting down on the floor to play with them. It helps them to use their whole body to reach, stretch, and motivate leg movement. Throw some cushions on the floor and create a mini obstacle course. Especially if your baby is just on the verge of starting to crawl, the founder and director of Creative Play for Kids in NYC Eileen Levine told Parents she loves doing something called the "crab crawl." As show in this video above, you can take a blanket, roll it up, and place it under your baby's chest. By grabbing either ends of the blanket, you can slowly pick your baby up and allow them to get in the crawling position and move around while assisting them.
8. Swing, Swing
Swinging is so much fun no matter what age you are, but it's an especially good time for little ones. It's a great way to get some energy out and enjoy the fresh air at the same time. Plus, you can scope out your favorite parks and get your baby used to them in the meantime.
9. Take A Swim Class
No matter where you live, chances are there is a swim program for infants as young as 4 months, either at your local YMCA or other community pool. While they may not be learning how to swim laps, it's a great opportunity to get your little ones comfortable with the water as they splash around with fellow infants in their parent's arms. Pus you can make new friends in the process! And seriously, nothing is cuter than a bunch of babies splashing around in a pool wearing swim caps.
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