Playing with babies on an exercise ball is a fun way to help them strengthen postural muscles necessary for the development of motor skills. It’s also an easy way to provide them with more opportunities for movement and sensory input (especially if they seek movement of their head a lot or you have limited space).
Depending on how old they are, you can play with them by laying them on their tummy or sitting them on their bottom while you roll, rock, and gently bounce them on the ball. Make sure you’re safe with them by having a good hold on their midsection (between hips to armpits), stabilizing the ball as necessary, only moving them as much as their neck and back muscles can handle, and following their lead for how comfortable they are with the different types of movements. (Don’t let them fall off the ball!) Take advantage of this opportunity to play with them, make eye contact, sing songs, and have fun!
Check out this video for a demo of different positions and movements you can do while baby is on the exercise ball (baby in video is 13 months old, is just beginning to walk independently, and is a major sensory seeker who LOVES to be upside down, FYI):
Looking for ways to play with your younger baby (say, 2-6 months) on an exercise ball during tummy time? No problem. Check out this post for ideas on how to use an exercise ball (or a beach ball, or your shins) to help your little baby actually ENJOY tummy time…now that’s a concept!Want more handy tips and tricks to help the kids in your life? Then be sure to like Mama OT on Facebook, and follow on Twitter and Pinterest. Oh, and subscribe to Mama OT by clicking "Subscribe!" on the homepage so you can receive new posts via email and not miss out on all the great tips published here!