When and Why Baby Should Play on the Floor
If you’ve checked out our Tummy Time page or Baby Games, you probably notice a lot of it is on the floor!
That’s because floor time is so beneficial for baby, especially in the very early months of life. In the early months of life, spending time on the floor to play, including Tummy Time, allows baby to move freely and independently. While on the floor, baby is able to use information from their senses to move, play and explore! Read on to learn about the many benefits of playing on the floor.
When can baby start playing on the floor? Baby can start playing on the floor around 2-3 months old. At this age, baby begins to spend longer periods of time awake, alert and ready for play! They should also begin to lift their head during Tummy Time making it easier for them to take in the sights and sounds around them. The benefits of floor play extend beyond the early months until 7-9 months of age when baby will start to crawl. Additionally, this is a great time to take advantage of baby’s neuroplasticity, because baby learns so quickly at this age.
What does floor play help with? Play is a great opportunity to help baby learn and create new neural pathways! When playtime is done on the floor, there are even more benefits. Here are some of the areas it helps with.
- Core strength: Playing on the floor works baby’s core! Strengthening these muscles leads to the development of other gross motor skills like crawling, standing and walking.
- Develop back, neck and arm muscles: Tummy Time is great for these muscle groups. Floor time makes it even more beneficial. These muscles help with gross and fine motor skills.
- Independence: Floor play is a great time to let baby play on their own! This “independent time” helps with problem solving (an important executive function skill) and building confidence. Safety note: When baby plays independently on the floor, it doesn’t mean unsupervised. Make sure to stay nearby to supervise, but let them play and problem solve on their own as much as possible.
How can you encourage floor play? At this young age, it’s as simple as getting baby on the floor and keeping them engaged. Here are some ways to play on the floor!
- Do Tummy Time! There are several specific Tummy Time moves, like Eye-Level Smile, that can be done on the floor.
- Do Baby Games on the floor. If a game can be played on the floor, try it out!
- Use floor mats and play gyms. These are a great way to keep baby engaged and playing independently! There is so much for them to interact with and explore.
Remember: Back to Sleep, Tummy to Play! This means that baby should never sleep on their tummy, even if it’s for a short period of time. If baby falls asleep during tummy time on the floor, roll them onto their back so they can sleep safely.