For healthy development in infants (birth to 1 year), physical activity – particularly supervised floor-based play in safe environments – should be encouraged from birth.
Moving helps babies to grow strong and healthy
Movement and play help babies to:
- keep their minds active
- develop their sense of sight, touch and hearing
- build strength, balance and good posture
- learn about the world around them
- play with others
- develop language skills
- develop self-confidence and independence.
Provide a safe place for babies
- Movement is good for baby – it is important to provide a safe place for baby to move and to watch them at all times.
- Too much sun can make baby sick. When playing outside use sunscreen and hats and play in the shade.
Tummy time helps build strong muscles in baby’s head, neck and body.
- Give baby lots of play time on their tummy every day.
- Baby will let you know when they have had enough.
- Put baby on different floor surfaces such as rugs or mats.
- Put toys or other safe objects where baby can see them and needs to reach for them.
Babies like to move around
- Baby likes to move around different spaces.
- Make sure baby has a safe space to move and explore.
- Set up a tunnel for baby to crawl through.
- Give baby a sturdy bench or table to pull up to a standing position.
Fun with sound
Noises help baby’s brain development linked to hearing.
- Give baby rattles to play with.
- Baby can make noise with a wooden spoon and bang pots and pans.
- Make noises by scrunching leaves.
- Play music and sing to baby. Top of page
Babies learn by touching
- Give baby safe objects with different textures like balls and soft materials.
- Baby can touch and squeeze toys and other objects.
- Touch and cuddle baby.
- Let baby play on different surfaces outside like grass, sand and leaves.
- You can make objects for baby. Try putting scrunched up paper in a clean stocking.
- Babies build eye strength and learn to move by following objects with their eyes.
- Read to baby from books with large colourful pictures.
- Give baby lots to look at while lying on their back – put them under colourful mobiles and pictures.
- Play ‘peek-a-boo’.
Playing outside helps babies to learn about the world they live in
- Put baby down on the grass.
- Let baby look up at the sky.
- Baby can listen to the sounds around them.
- Talk or sing to baby about what they can see and hear.
Babies learn through play
- Baby needs time to practise moving – kicking, touching and reaching for objects.
- Let baby be active – try not to leave baby in a stroller, high chair or car seat for more than 1 hour at a time when they are awake.