As babies grow, they will teach themselves to crawl after objects that interest them. Giving your baby opportunities to roll over and move against the resistance of the floor is an exciting, fun way to support their independence and muscle coordination.

Why do it?

  • Baby will be interested in moving after something that rolls away from them.
  • Learning to move helps baby get to things and places, and explore them — this helps their movement skills and encourages their curiosity.
  • Babies get frustrated when they want to explore but can’t. Learning to move increases their competence and reduces their feelings of frustration.
  • An obstacle course can help baby build on their crawling skills by gradually adding a bit more challenge.
  • Baby can hear the words that mirror their experience — ‘Up onto the cushion…down off the cushion…through the box…under the table…between the chairs…’ and so on.

How to do it

  • Gather up a ball and some other ‘rolling’ toys — for example:
  • Cut a piece off the end of a paper towel roll. You can decorate or permanent markers.
  • Fill a small clear plastic drink bottle with water. Add a drop of food colouring, oil, and even a sprinkle of glitter. Glue and tape the lid tightly shut.
  • Put ‘noise making’ items in a plastic jar and glue and tape the lid tightly shut.
  • Place a rolling toy just out of baby’s reach.
  • When baby tries to reach the toy, put your hand or foot behind their feet so they can push off and reach the toy.
  • Celebrate their success with a cheer or clap, and let them explore the toy.
  • When they’re ready, try the technique with a different rolling toy.
  • Remember baby will be mouthing. Lids need to be safely secured and checked regularly to stop objects getting out and becoming a choking hazard.
  • The tape should also be the type that stays fixed and not easily loosened by a ‘dribbly’ mouth.

Make a crawlers obstacle course: 

  • Begin with a low cushion — encourage baby to get up onto it and then down off it again.
  • Add a box with both ends pushed out that baby can crawl through.
  • Add something that baby can go under (maybe the coffee table).
  • Add something that baby can go between (try two chairs).
  • Try going round the course with baby.
  • If baby doesn’t want to do any part of the course, that’s fine. It’s a simple enough activity to set up and try again later. 

Using more te reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Titiro mai Look here
Notice, pay attention to
Enjoyable, fun
Move forward
Reach out
Hoki whakamuri Go backwards
Kei runga On
Kei raro Under
Kei waho Out
Kei muri Behind
Aru mai i ahau Follow me
Haramai, haere mai Come here
Good, well done
Applaud, cheer
Kia mataara To be alert, vigilant
Huakina mai tō waha Open your mouth
To choke, be choking