Today Occupational Therapist and owner of CanDo Kiddo, Rachel Coley, M.S., OTR/L, is here to share one of her many creative baby play activities. She also has a pretty awesome, one-of-a-kind product she has created to equip new parents to know how to play with their babies and promote healthy development in the first four months of life.
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Around the time your little one is in his second and third months (5-12 weeks old), he’ll begin working on new movements that will strengthen and coordinate his belly and leg muscles in preparation for his next big milestone — rolling.
Here’s a simple play activity that promotes healthy development in infants while making kicking a lot more fun!
To make a tissue paper kicking wall, take a sheet or two of gift tissue paper (wrinkly, used paper is just fine) and tuck it under the cushion of a sofa or upholstered chair so that it hangs down to the floor like a curtain. Take baby’s socks off and place him on his back with his feet against the tissue (knees slightly bent). If he’s slow to start kicking, gently rustle the paper with your hand or tap his feet against it.
This activity is great for helping your baby gain valuable body awareness about his legs and feet. He’ll explore the most basic cause and effect from his own movements. This activity also promotes integration of sensory information from the hearing (auditory) system, pressure and stretch (proprioceptive) system, and touch (tactile) system.
It also promotes chin tuck as your baby looks down to see where all that rustling is coming from. Baby bringing his chin toward his chest for chin tuck is an important motor task for infants because it strengthens the neck and belly muscles and improves vision of the lower half of the body. That same chin tuck will soon allow your little one to reach for his feet and curl his body to roll from back to belly.
This activity and 44 other creative play ideas for newborns are featured on the CanDo Kiddo Blanket – an alternative piece of baby gear that promotes infant development!
So many products and resources are geared toward giving newborns a comfy seat to sit in and watch the world go by until they’re bigger and and ready to play. But the CanDo Kiddo Blanket helps spread the important message that babies are born to move and play — even in the first weeks and months of life.
Each CanDo Kiddo handcrafted play quilt comes with a print copy of my book, “Begin With a Blanket: Creative Play Ideas For Baby’s First 4 Months.” The book explains each activity in detail and helps parents better understand their infant’s development and how play can promote motor, sensory and cognitive development, as well as prevent Plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) and Torticollis (neck tightness). The blanket, book and other products to support healthy development are available in the CanDo Kiddo Etsy shop, which can be found by RIGHT HERE.
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Rachel Coley, MS, OTR/L, has been a pediatric Occupational Therapist for 8 years. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Health & Exercise Science from Furman University and a Master’s in Occupational Therapy from Boston University. She has advanced training in the areas of infant neurodevelopment, sensory processing, Plagiocephaly and Torticollis (head and neck issues of infancy). As a new mom, Rachel lets her personal passion for parenting and her professional expertise about babies collide in CanDo Kiddo, a family business with a mission to support and inspire new parents to play with their newborns for healthy development.