6 DIY activities for crawling babies

Whether your little explorer prefers the commando crawl, bottom shuffle, or one legged side scoot, it’s important to encourage this newfound skill. Research has shown that crawling has many benefits beyond physical development, so it’s much more than something babies just do before they learn to walk.

What are the benefits of crawling?

  • Develops fine and gross motor skills.
  • Helps with balance and hand-eye coordination.
  • Helps develop ‘cross-lateral integration’, which is when both sides of the brain have to work together as they coordinate their arms and legs together to move.
  • Improves overall strength needed to hold themselves upright.
  • Boosts problem-solving skills as they navigate obstacles.
  • Develops spatial awareness.
  • Encourages their eyes to work together as they adjust to varying distances.

So, now that your baby is on the move around the house and you know the benefits of crawling, you’ll be needing some ideas to encourage them to do it more, even if they like cruising around on the furniture to get around.

To inspire your little crawler, here are 6 activities you can easily do with them using things from around the house. They’re sure to bring some fun and joy to both of you!

6 DIY activities for crawling babies

1. Get rolling

Encourage your baby to ‘chase’ after balls that you roll across the floor. Colourful soft balls or balls with a bell inside are absolute must-haves for curious bubs. Or, have lots of them! Fill an inflatable paddling pool with plastic balls so they can swim through them, and throw them and chase after them. 

2. Make a tunnel

Using a cardboard box, open both ends and lie it on its side and coax your bub through it. If you feel like giving it an extra wow factor, you could hang ribbons or scarves from the top or add some fairy lights or tinsel for some sparkle.

3. Create an obstacle course

Challenge your mobile bub by transforming the living room floor or hallway into an obstacle course so that your baby has to navigate objects to climb over, under, through, or around. Use a mix of cushions, soft toys, blankets, and footstools. Add in your cardboard box tunnel and balls to make it even trickier!

4. Blow some bubbles

Children of all ages are fascinated and excited by bubbles. You might prefer to blow them outdoors if you have a lawn, which is great because your baby gets to experience other sensations on their hands and legs as they crawl after them.

5. Play with pull-along toys

Encourage your tot to follow a toy as you pull it along the floor. If you don’t have one, you could simply tie their favourite toy to a piece of string. You know, like a kitten would love! A pull-back type or battery operated car would have the same effect.

6. Add in some textures

By this stage, most babies get pretty tired of their toys. Spark their curiosity by scattering about the house various household objects to provide a mix of tactile experiences. Some ideas are scrunched up paper, a basket of hairbrushes, some silky scarves, sponges, and rubber bath toys (they feel different when they’re dry). Or, head outdoors to experience natures own texture sensations – grass and leaves!

Tips to support your baby’s crawling skills

  • Continue with daily tummy time.
  • Ensure they’re not spending too long in highchairs, playpens, car seats, carriers, swings etc as they restrict your little one’s movement.
  • Get down and crawl with your baby. They could chase you or vice versa, which is sure to get some squeals of delight.
  • Baby walkers and jolly jumpers aren’t recommended (read why here) as they can delay physical development and also cause injuries.
  • Set up baby play stations near you where you tend to spend a lot of time, such as the kitchen and laundry (parenting is glamorous, isn’t it!).
  • Get outdoors and let your baby crawl on different textures, such as dirt, sand, grass, and woodchips like you find in playgrounds.
  • Rather than telling your baby ‘no’ every time they get a little too adventurous in the home and naturally gravitate towards dangerous things (why do so many of them love the power points?!), ensure that you baby-proof the home as much as possible, letting your little one be the guide to what needs to be safer.
  • If you’re concerned about your baby’s crawling technique, lack of interest in crawling, or they’re skipping crawling altogether, speak to your maternal and child health nurse or GP. Remember that all babies develop on their own timeline.