By 3-4 months old, your baby is spending more time awake during the day. Your baby should be beginning to notice and interact with toys. You are probably starting to see those first smiles and maybe even hear some giggles. At this point, baby should be spending a lot more time on the floor especially on his belly. The floor is where your baby is going to learn all of her motor skills, which include rolling, sitting, crawling, standing, eventually walking! In order to build a solid foundation for these motor skills, start prioritizing floor time early so your baby can learn how to properly move against the floor's surface.
At this age, a bulk of awake time (when not eating) will be on the floor focusing on grabbing simple toys, but play can also happen in daily routines. The following are some ideas for floor play as well as other ways to incorporate play into all your daily activities with baby.
Play in side-lying:
This is often a forgotten play position for babies. Side-lying is a great position for babies to work on reaching, bringing hands together to play, and really have the opportunity to interact with toys with less gravity and more stability. If your baby has one side the her head that is flatter, is this a perfect position to put some more pressure on the opposite side to help round the head out. By 3-4 months, your baby should be starting to roll himself to his side, but if there is nothing to interact with, may roll right back. Play mats are great for playing in side-lying as they often have toys down at babies level to interact with and manipulate. Your baby playing in side-lying will help to encourage rolling onto her tummy as well! If your baby is not yet ready to stay in side-lying to play, place a rolled up receiving blanket or a boppy pillow along his back to encourage him to stay in side-lying.
Use toys that are light and easy to for little fingers to grab:
This is the age when babies really start to reach for toys and grasp them. You want toys to be light so your baby can manipulate them and not too hard where your baby will hit herself in the head. Some of the best toys to work on reaching and grasping include:
Lamaze toys such as the Firefly or Moose
Tummy Time and Floor Play:
This is where all the play is at during this age. Always start floor time with tummy time play to work on strengthening and lengthening the muscles needed for rolling, sitting, crawling, and walking! Make sure to spend time on your baby's level singing songs or reading a book to him. When reading, prop the book for your baby to look and see. You can make a game of rolling belly to back and back to belly, start playing peek-a-boo, or sing interactive songs with movements for your baby. Have your baby gently stomp her feet on her back, clap her hands, gently rock her side to side all along the beat to music! A couple interactive songs include:
Wheels on the bus
If your happy and you know it
Row, row, row your boat
The ants go marching
A play mat is a great investment for baby to play and interact on the floor. One of my favorites is the Lovevery play gym**! Need some more play ideas for tummy time? Follow along on instagram for new, innovative ways to do tummy time @sandytoespt.
Use a mirror and make faces:
Babies naturally love human faces and are fascinated with mirrors! While playing on the floor or carrying your baby past a mirror, spend a couple minutes making funny faces with her. Point out and touch your nose then her nose while talking to her about different parts of the face. Stick out your tongue and move side to side for your baby to watch and explore. Use silly baby voices as these help your baby develop speech and language skills! Mirrors can be very motivating for your baby during tummy time as well. If you do not have a floor mirror, use selfie mode to play with baby on your phone!
Describe body parts while dressing them:
Dressing and diaper changes are great opportunities to bond with your baby. The more you talk to your baby, the more their language skills are developing. During dressing, talk to your baby about different body parts. Show your baby her fingers and give them kisses. Gently bring his feet to his eyesight for him to reach and explore. Count his toes and give little squeezes for input into each toe. This encourages him to start reaching for his toes which is an important 5 month milestone! Showing and talking about body parts not only works on language, but also helps give your baby some input into different areas and helps them to explore new movements.
Having difficulty with tummy time or floor time play? Please reach out as I would love to help you and your baby! Email me today for ideas Rachel@sandytoespt.com.
Moms- if you are struggling to bond with your baby, please know this is normal! It can be a sign of postpartum depression too so please do not forget about yourself! If you have concerns about postpartum depression or not bonding with your baby, talk to a professional today.
**I am an affiliate for Lovevery and do get a commission for sales from this page. I would not affiliate with them if I did not believe in their business practices and products.