Tummy time is important for babies to work on building neck and shoulder control and eventually building gross motor skills like scooting and crawling. When your baby is enjoying tummy time they should always be awake and supervised. Many babies do not like tummy time as it can be boring to simply lay on a blanket on the floor while life passes you by. A great way to help make tummy time easier on your baby is to provide plenty of sensory stimulation.
How to do tummy time?
The best time to do tummy time is after your baby wakes up from a nap or following a diaper change. Clear away some space on the floor, and lay your little one down in her belly-down position with room for you to sit around her while she plays around her favorite toys!
Start by doing tummy-time sessions of three minutes two times each day before gradually building that amount until they’re staying put for five whole minutes at least twice per session throughout most of their waking hours! They’ll grow more confident as this fun activity becomes less challenging–and if it doesn’t seem like enough work yet, just wait ’til they start rolling over.
Tummy time sensory play ideas
Tummy time sensory play should be done with baby-safe materials. Even with the best supervision babies can get into a lot of trouble in the blink of an eye so it is best for any small parts to be securely contained inside something your baby can not get into.
Mirror under her on her tummy for tummy time
One fun thing we did recently with my youngest is to place a mirror on the floor for her to see herself with. Babies are naturally drawn to faces and love to watch and mimic facial expressions. A mirror is a great way to give your baby the chance to see what they look like and really observe facial expressions. Watching a baby play with a mirror is also quite entertaining. The big smiles and coos are so great and this activity with a plastic bases mirror is safe for an older sibling to supervise while you cook dinner or run to the bathroom.
Paint in a Ziploc bag
I love having art the kids made around the house so I jump at opportunities to use canvases that I can keep or we can use for homemade gifts for loved ones. By putting paint on a canvas and placing it in a zip bag your baby can have something fun to do during tummy time that ends up making a pretty cool piece of art for you to enjoy after. The paint makes a fun squish when your baby smacks it through the bag and they love watching how their simple actions cause the colors to spread and mix together to make something new and unique. You can use any fun combination of colors to make the perfect project for any space.
Wipes box with fabric scraps
Anyone with a baby knows that as soon as they can reach a wipes box they fall in love with ripping the wipes out of the box to simply toss them on the floor over and over and over again. This is a big waste of baby wipes but you can make a fun toy that you can refill over and over. Take an old wipes case and some fabric scraps. Fold the fabric scraps together to make them come out of the box like baby wipes or cheat and sew velcro to the wipes so you can connect them before reloading. This will allow them to break apart with a satisfied pull but are much faster to put together than folding. Try to find a wide range of fabrics with different textures and colors to add to the overall sensory experience.
Baby sensory bag frames
Sensory bags are a great way to make a fun sensory activity your child can use to let your baby explore new textures. Because these are safely enclosed and taped shut you can use messy things like shave gel to fill them adding in small objects you can not let your baby play with on their own. These bags allow your baby to squish, mash, and manipulate the items inside for a visual and tactile sensory experience. Because of their shape, they lend themselves well to tummy time and floor play.
To get the most out of sensory bags for younger kids you can make a frame by taping them down to a piece of poster board adding a few sensory bags that are taped to the board on all 4 sides. This keeps them secure while your baby plays and encourages them to try and scoot or move to explore other bags on the frame. When not in use these can easily slide behind the sofa and out of the way until you are ready to play again.
Sensory bottle roll
The sensory bottle is popular for toddlers and preschoolers that can shake and flip them but babies love sensory bottles as well. Sensory bottles can be filled to provide a visual sensory experience or a sound sensory experience. Some can even be filled with items that do both at once. Turning tummy time your baby can push and roll these sensory bottles to make changes with each movement. For older babies that are beginning to become mobile, they can push and roll it away from them and scoot until they reach the sensory bottle. The VOSS water bottles make the best sensory bottles for babies because of their smooth and even shape that rolls across the floor seamlessly.
When to start tummy time?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies who come home from the hospital should immediately start doing some tummy time.
Encourage your baby to work his way up to about 15 minutes total on their tummy every day (or two to three sessions a day lasting three or five minute each), always under your watchful eye. As they get older, you can leave them on there for longer periods of time since older babies need more time in this position and it helps with development.