Encourage free play and movement with these tips and activities.
Research has shown that once babies start to move, they can move anything between 1 – 7km per day. They are stimulated by sensory information in their environment and want to explore the world around them through touch, taste, smell and visual stimulation. However, movement is the building block for the visual-perception skills your child will need when he starts school.
What is visual perception?
Visual perception is all about brain processing: what you see, helping you make sense of it and then responding with adequate action and movement. Movement facilitates your baby’s awareness and his orientation in space. Giving your baby many opportunities to move and play indoors and outdoors will assist him to learn how to focus, track moving objects and locate objects in the environment, thereby boosting his visual perception skills.
When your child starts going to school, his orientation in space and hand-eye coordination becomes the foundation for him to learn how to read and write.
You can encourage movement by providing a multi-sensory environment at home that encourages your baby to explore touch, taste, smell and vision. This can be done by providing your baby with toys that have different textures, colour and lights at varying distances from your little one. Schedule floor play time and tummy-time to encourage free play and movement.
Here’s how to do it:
- Place your baby on the floor in an open area with all his sensory toys scattered around him to facilitate reach and pursuit. You can even place a large mirror in front of your baby where he will see his own reflection and movements.
- During free play, it is important that you provide manual handling and guidance of movement. For example, during tummy time, encourage your baby to lift his head to strengthen his neck and shoulder muscles by dangling a toy slightly above his head. Your baby will lift his head and attempt to bear the weight through his arms
- You can also stimulate rolling by manually rolling your baby from his stomach to his side. This integrates memory of movement and builds postural control.
Check out this video:
To encourage your baby’s movement, first ensure that your little one is comfortable. You can do this by choosing the right nappy and fit. Huggies Pants has an all-round soft and stretchy waistband with double leg elastics that gently surround your baby’s legs for a secure fit that prevents leakage.
Huggies Gold nappies offers baby a comfy fit thanks to the stretchy waistband, fasteners and DryTouch liner that can absorb wetness in seconds, for ultimate skin protection. These qualities in a nappy not only ensures comfort for your baby, but freedom of movement as well.
A moving baby is a happy and developing baby.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.