Who needs Toys? – Free Activities to do with Your Infant

In our recent post, Baby Toys Physical Therapists Love to Hate, the physical therapists of TMC for Children’s Pediatric Therapies weighed in on toys that they often seen being misused. It’s all very well telling us what toys we shouldn’t be using, what should we do? What will really help our child? Beyond tummy time?

Sometimes the best toys or pastimes also happen to be free. TMC for Children Physical Therapists Jennifer, Hannah and Caryn share their suggestions.
Images of Pediatric Physical Therapists

Pots, Pans, Plastic Containers and Wooden Spoons
Once baby has passed through that sleeping, eating and crying all the time phase, aka the 4th trimester, and they’re beginning to sit up, it’s time to break out the wooden spoons and plastic bowls.  Assign a bottom drawer, or cupboard for baby, somewhere out of the spill zone and not close to the stove where they can access plastic containers, wooden spoons and small pots and pans and even have a little pots and pans percussion set up when they’re a little older.  Add some nesting plastic containers and baby can stack and nest containers to their heart’s content.

Baby Obstacle Course
Once baby begins to crawl, somewhere between six and nine months, there is all kinds of fun to be had with pillows and cushions. Hannah suggests setting up an obstacle course. for your baby to crawl over or for your toddler to navigate. For your crawling child, soft items like couch cushions are great and provide the opportunity for early problem solving. For the toddler, use small stuffed animals for the child to step over or provide an array of surfaces to walk on.

It’s Park Time – Swings!
Physical Therapist Jennifer Moser suggests getting that 10 month old out to the park and on the swings! Just moving through the air, with mom or dad pushing the swing helps promote core strength and develop their vestibular system which is needed for good head control. Now that the weather is cooler, this is a great option at any time of the day.

Bowlblock
Well, it’s not quite basketball, but a similar idea for the seven to nine month old. Show baby how to sit kneeling with their bottom on their heels in front of a coffee table. Put their arms on the table and then have them reach down to pick up a block from the floor, lift to knee standing and place the block in a bowl atop the table.

Caryn explains that this activity helps strengthen the muscles around the hips and helps the child to develop the skill to hold the body in an upright position in preparation for standing.  It also promotes hand-eye coordination and grasp/release skills.

Dress Up
You don’t need to spend a bundle on fancy dress up clothes. Recycling old clothes for dress-up is always fun, especially if a parent has “work” clothes the child could use.

TMC for Children Pediatric Therapies Physical Therapists treat children with developmental delays, down syndrome, torticollis, toe walking, seizure disorder, and Multiple Sclerosis to name just a few. They also teach mobility after surgeries in acute care setting.

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