This post is by regular contributor Christine Gora of Kids Music Toys.
Babies need some time on their tummies to aid their physical development. New mums are informed from many sources about the importance of this for their babies during their waking hours. Tummy time increases muscle strength of those muscles that help with;
- Rolling over
- Pushing up
- Crawling, and eventually,
- Pulling up to stand.
Tummy time also helps to prevent flat areas on the head that may result from a baby spending too much time lying on their back. Now that we sleep babies on their backs to help reduce the risk of SIDS, for some children this means that tummy time is resisted because baby fusses when placed on his tummy. There are a number of things you can do to make tummy time more enjoyable and a simple one involves the use of a ball and some music.
There are a range of lovely, soft “puffer” type balls now available. These are blown up with a straw and are very soft and malleable. They are perfect for indoor use and can provide a fun way to encourage more tummy time. They are also invaluable when teaching older children to roll and catch as they are so much easier to grab than conventional hard balls. I can highly recommend the 22cm Scrunch Ball available at Kids Music Toys for this purpose.
The Scrunch Ball can be used with a baby in a very similar way to the adult fit ball, the difference being that you support baby at the hips or thighs as he lies on top of the ball. The ball can be rolled backwards and forwards. As baby rolls on the ball he will tense the muscles as he tries to balance. This is great for developing muscle tone and strength. Place a toy at a distance in front of the ball so baby can reach out for it as the ball rolls forward. Music enhances this activity so try singing some favourite songs as you roll. A good one is Row Row Row Your Boat.
Older children will also love using the Scrunch Ball. Combining ball play with music helps children to develop a sense of timing and sequencing. Have fun with “my turn” and “your turn” as you roll the ball back and forth between you and your child. Once rolling is mastered try bouncing and then, eventually, catching. A good selection of accompanying music for this purpose can be found at http://play.kindermusik.com. All the tracks at this site are available for download. One album specifically for ball play is Have A Ball. Roll that Ball, Roly Bouncy, I Roll the Ball to You and the delightful French song En Roulant Ma Boule are songs that I personally use in my music classes.
So have some fun trying these activities and hopefully you’ll both have a ball!
Childhood 101 readers can receive a 10% discount on orders placed at Kids Music Toys until October 15th. Please quote the discount code CH101SEPT11 at checkout.