Floor activities are an important part of your infant's development, as they present opportunities for you to encourage physical, cognitive and emotional growth. As you sit with your infant and engage him in floor time activities, speak softly to him and tell him what you are doing, clapping for him, hugging him and squealing with delight whenever he accomplishes a new trick.
Your infant's cardiovascular system can be stimulated by giving him a simple box or bin to play with as he sits, according to Dr. Eric Strickland on Scholastic.com. Place a heavy item in the box to give it stability. Your baby will enjoy banging his hands on the box and eventually use it as leverage to pull himself up. This excited banging is, according to Strickland, a healthy physical activity, which will stimulate his heart and circulatory system as he plays. Give him boxes of a variety of sizes that he can explore and experiment with.
It is important to give your infant ample tummy time -- two to three times a day for up to 5 minutes each, according to HealthyChildren.org. Tummy time for your baby should begin as a newborn, according to MayoClinic.com, and you can do this simply by laying your baby across your lap for a few short periods during the day. Around 3 months of age, give him tummy time on the floor to further strengthen his muscles. Place a toy in front of him so that he will need to stretch his arms to reach for it. Move the toy to his side to encourage him to roll over or pivot on his tummy to reach the toy. If your baby hates tummy time on the floor, try lying on the floor and placing him on your chest, which requires him to use his neck muscles to lift his face to see yours.
When your baby begins to push up on his arms -- typically around six months -- encourage him to scoot using a floor activity, according to the Early Childhood Institute of Mississippi State University. Place a favorite toy above his head and slightly out of his reach. Sit behind your little one and press your leg against his feet. Your baby's feet will push against your leg, scooting him forward towards the toy. Keep moving the toy forward and helping him scoot towards it until he begins to wear out, and then give him time to explore and enjoy the toy.
When your baby develops the ability to reach and grasp toys -- typically around 5 months -- put together an activity box for your little one, filled with toys and household objects that he can explore during his time on the floor. Your box may include items you already have around the house -- such as plastic cups and bowls -- toys that make noise and play music and books and stuffed animals of different textures. When he is sitting up well -- between 6 and 8 months -- your infant may also enjoy sitting and playing in a sensory bin. In case your little explorer enjoys putting things in his mouth, only put objects in the box objects that have a diameter of at least 1 and 3/4 inches such as plastic blocks, according to the guideline the American Academy of Pediatrics sets for choking prevention, as stated on the HealthyChildren.org website.
- Scholastic.com: Physical Development - Physical Play for an Indoor Day
- Mississippi State University Eacly Childhood Institue: Floor Time Activities for Infants (0-17 months)
- HealthyChildren.org: Back to Sleep, Tummy to Play
- KidsHealth.org: Learning, Playing and Your 4-to 7-Month-Old
- MayoClinic.com: Tummy Time - How Much Does Your Baby Need?
- HealthyChildren.org: Baby 0-12 Months
- HealthyChildren.org: Safety Issues: Choking Prevention
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images