Tummy time, grasping and rolling

The most development in a child’s life happens in the first 12 months as they transition from reflexive movements to performing purposeful movements such as holding their head up, grasping, and rolling. At this age babies need the opportunity to move in a safe and stimulating environment.

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Movement for babies: tummy time, grasping, rolling
Movement for babies: tummy time, grasping, rolling
Engaging obstacle courses for all ages
Engaging obstacle courses for all ages


The key during infancy is to provide opportunity to move. Babies will learn a lot on their own. There does not need to be structured ‘teaching’.

Babies will first work on achieving head and neck control, then upper body strength in the arms, shoulders and upper body, then lower abdominal strength and finally, the balance and strength and needed for sitting, then walking.

Though the timing will vary from baby to baby, the order that the milestones occur will remain similar. Babies must achieve head control before they are able to work on sitting or walking

Active Play

Active play is a great way to encourage all aspects of a baby's development including movement development. Active play will strengthen the muscles for movements such as crawling, pulling to stand and walking.

Tummy time:

Tummy Time is very important for head, neck and back control and strength. Doing tummy time multiple times every day during awake time from soon after birth helps your baby build neck, head and upper body strength to crawl and pull to stand when they are older.

Tips for tummy time:

  • Start with 1-2 minutes and build up to 5-10 minutes a few times a day
  • Try tummy time on your chest, across your lap or on your arm
  • Try to spend time with baby on the floor lying next to them or facing them
  • Use mirrors so that baby can see themselves – this encourages them to lift their head
  • Use a ball or interesting objects such as scarves or colourful toys to get their attention
  • Try doing tummy time indoors and outdoors on different flooring – rugs, carpet, grass and hard floors

KIDDO activity suggestions:

Mirror Mirror


Exercise Ball Tummy Time

Lying on back:

Movement activities you could do with baby lying on their back to encourage reaching and grasping:

  • Hold objects above baby and to the side to encourage reaching and grasping
  • Try cycling movements with the baby’s legs & move baby’s arms and legs in and out and up and down – this is a great activity to do at nappy change time
  • Blowing bubbles – stimulates eye movement as baby tries to reach for them
  • Place hand bells or rattles where baby can kick them
  • Lying on their side is also good for babies to learn how to reach for items (both sides)

KIDDO activity suggestions:

Active Nappy Changes

Catch the Bubbles

Playing with Balls


To encourage rolling in babies try doing the following:

  • Lying on their back cross the baby’s leg over their body and roll them from back to front
  • Set up a cushioned slope and support baby to roll down slowly




Australian Government Department of Health (2017). Australian 24-hour movement guidelines for the early years (birth to 5 years): An integration of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 8 January 2020 from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/F01F92328EDADA5BCA257BF0001E720D/$File/Birthto5years_24hrGuidelines_Brochure.pdf.


Gallahue, D.L., Ozmun, J.C., & Goodway, J.D. (2012). Understanding motor development: Infants, children, adolescents, adults (7th edn). New York: McGraw Hill.