Stages of Development

Crawling is an important milestone for children learning to move independently for the first time. Crawling enables babies to learn how to co-ordinate their arms and legs, develops spatial awareness and builds upper body strength.

Teaching tips

Regular tummy time as a baby will build neck, head and upper body strength to allow a baby to crawl. There is no hurry in babies learning to sit, stand or walk, focus instead on providing an environment and experiences that encourage the development of crawling.

Approximately 10% of all babies will never crawl and get around by bottom-shuffling instead. Other babies move directly to pulling up, standing and walking. It is important for these babies to encourage other activities that build upper arm strength such as digging in the sandpit, lifting and carrying objects, climbing using the arms and squashing big piles of playdough. Other babies move directly to pulling up, standing and walking.

Exploring Crawling

Encourage attempts to crawl. Place interesting objects around the room to crawl to.


  • Placing the child on all fours
  • Getting down on the ground with the child and crawling around with them, you can place your leg on the ground and they can try to crawl over it to a toy
  • Continue to encourage regular tummy time to help babies develop head and neck control and core strength which is needed for crawling

Avoid placing babies in walkers, rockers, activity centres and other equipment that limits their movement.

Create safe spaces for attempting to crawl stimulating materials and regular interactions. Try some of the ideas below to encourage babies to explore and develop the skill of crawling

  • Place interesting objects just out of reach
  • Provide the opportunity to crawls on lots of different surfaces, e.g., grass, slopes, footpaths, mats and sand
  • Place pool noodles or rolled up towels for babies to try and move/crawl over
  • Set-up crawling obstacle course with tunnels to crawl through, pillows to crawl over, slopes to crawl down and interesting toys to crawl towards

As babies become mobile, make sure the environment is safe and very small objects are out of reach


Introduce some of KIDDO’s engaging and age appropriate activities to encourage crawling:

  1. Crawl together to find teddy in Teddy hide and seek
  2. Roll balls and crawl after them in Playing with balls (babies)
  3. Clean up the rubbish (babies)
  4. Set up fun Crawling obstacle courses
  5. Continue to develop head and neck control to encourage crawling with Exercise ball tummy time

Babies may start crawling between the ages of 5-11 months and progress through these different movement on the way to an efficient crawling motion:

  • Makes crawling movements when lying on stomach
  • Using arms to pull themselves along the ground with head and chest off the floor (commando crawling)
  • Up on all fours, rock backwards and forwards with arms straight
  • Uses knees to push off and may initially crawl backwards before learning to go forward
  • Crawls with opposite arm and leg going forward (contralateral)
  • Crawl up stairs

More crawling activities

Boy playing with ball
Head and neck control, Balancing, Crawling, Standing, Rolling, Grasping
boy running
Balancing, Running, Jumping, Walking, Crawling, Standing, Climbing
obstacle course with ball
Balancing, Walking, Crawling, Standing, Climbing