6 Months – Active Play

Getting Active Play Right from 6 Months

Playing with your baby

Playing with your baby helps develop their brain and body. Every baby is different and will reach milestones at different times. Try not to compare your baby with other babies of the same age.

Ideas for playing with your baby starting from around 6 months include:

Crawling

Crawling helps with visual skills, independence and exploration. It helps to develop your baby’s brain as it is the first time your baby will use the opposite arm and leg in movement. Babies often have different methods of crawling. Not all babies will crawl in the traditional way — this is OK too!

At home: Encourage your baby to crawl and move around; let them crawl on different surfaces such as grass; create fun obstacles like going around or under furniture, down or up an incline, through boxes, under your legs; let your baby chase you or you can chase them while also crawling.

Allow your baby to play on their own

Babies learn about the world by playing. It’s important to play with your baby but it is also important to give them a chance to play and explore on their own in a safe environment. Playing on their own allows them to understand that they are separate from you. It also helps you to see what they’re most interested in!

Limit the time your baby spends restrained

Limit the time your baby spends restrained in a highchair, pusher, play centre, car seat, bouncer, baby sling/carrier or even your arms. Apart from sleeping, it is recommended that babies and older children are not restrained or kept inactive for more than one hour at a time. Try replacing the time you might restrict your baby’s free movement with their alone time. Alone time can only be achieved if you have safe areas in your home where you can leave your baby for short periods of time.

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Home safety

Instead of restraining baby and limiting a baby’s activity while you do things around the house, we recommend making areas of your home baby safe. Ask your Maternal Child Health Nurse for a complete checklist on making your home baby safe.

Example of things to do to make areas of your home baby safe:

  • Put small items that your baby could choke on in a secure cupboard or drawer that they can’t get to.
  • Remove unsteady objects on tables that might fall over if furniture is moved.
  • Put child-proof locks on cupboards and drawers.
  • Insert safety plugs into power points.
  • Remove all cords from electrical appliances and window curtains/blinds.
  • Place corner protectors over sharp corners of furniture such as those on coffee tables that might be at your baby’s height.
  • Place a playpen around things you do not want baby to go near for example a Christmas tree or mobile heater.
  • Get down to your child’s level and look around for trouble spots.

Rolling of balls or toys on wheels

Playing with balls or toys on wheels helps develop ‘hand—eye’ coordination – when our eyes are working together with our hands. This type of play also helps babies develop a good sense of timing.

Sit your baby up (prop them with cushions if they’re not yet sitting confidently alone) and you sit just in front of them. Roll a ball or toy on wheels between the two of you (you will need to help your baby roll it back until they get a bit older). This activity works well with your baby sitting between your legs and rolling the ball to another person or against a wall. Passing a ball back and forth or having your baby chase a ball is fun to do in the pool as well.

> Useful resources for Session Two: 6 Months