Monday, September 29, 2014

Motor Monday-Living room jungle gym

At some point I’ll have to rewind a bit and hit some key motor skills that I missed, but a couple weeks ago we did a fun and very easy activity with the babies that I wanted to share.  We were all a little bored and Michelle casually said, “Why don’t you make a baby obstacle course for them while I go do homework?”  What a great idea that was!  So I went to the basement to grab a couple of couch cushions and brought them upstairs and tossed them on the floor.  (The cushions don’t come off our couch or chair upstairs, but for most people this would be even easier because you could just drag the cushions right off the couch in the living room.)  Then I put all the babies on one side of the cushions and I just casually went over to the other side.  At first they all kind of just looked at me, but after a minute or so Avery decided to check it out and pretty easily crawled up and over the cushions.  Ellie and Isaiah were a little more hesitant but eventually came over and pushed themselves to standing using the cushions, but neither one quite figured out how to get their knee up to crawl over.
All of our babies are at a little bit different stages of gross motor development, particularly related to crawling and climbing so they all interacted with this activity a little differently, but I think it worked on some great skills for all three of them.  Here are some pictures of them playing on and around the cushions with some commentary on what they’re each doing from a motor perspective.

everyone checking it out, including Humphrey.
Avery is learning to turn around & back down, Isaiah is cruising side to side,
& Ellie is like "hey, can I just crawl around this thing?!"
Avery checking out the drop & Isaiah trying to figure out what to do next.
Exploring new situations like this is great for kid's motor planning, or figuring out
how to move their body.  He knows what he wants to do, but can't quite figure it out yet!
Avery says this is a piece of cake!
Great for working on core strength (shoulder, tummy, back, & hips)
Avery figuring out how to stand on the cushion to reach
something on the coffee table
Avery got the toy & is trying to figure out how to back down now that she has the toy,
Ellie is trying to figure out how to get her leg up on the cushion
Here's a great shot of Avery exploring the edge of the cushion.
She wants that toy & has to decide if she can reach it and if not,
whether her shoulders can support her weight going down forward.
Crawling on squishy, unstable surfaces and crawling off of them head first is a great shoulder and core strengthening activity!  If you don't feel like getting the couch cushions down you can also have your kiddos crawl over your legs or your body.  I often tell parents and siblings they get to be annoying and just stick their legs in their baby's way when they are crawling to a toy.

She experimented with a lot of different ways to get down
including going sideways
and stepping down
And after a couple weeks of practice everyone has gotten much better and this little video clip shows a variety of ways they get down off the cushions once they get up.

Oh, and fair warning, this activity is good for introducing climbing skills, which might then just take off and expand well beyond the cushion! (good news is that she is now really good about getting herself down safely too!)

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