Infants undergo the greatest rate of physical development in the first year of their lives. Simple activities for infants improve their physical development while providing entertainment and bonding time for parents. Infant physical development includes gross motor skills, grasping, coordination, balance and movement. The physical skills that infants master serve as the base for larger physical achievements as they enter the toddler and preschool years.
Tummy time provides infants the chance to improve neck and upper-body strength while improving visual tracking. It also requires balance as the baby lifts herself off the floor. Place your baby on her tummy with a soft blanket beneath her. Surround her with several colorful toys. Get down on the floor with your child and encourage her to reach for her toys. Hold a toy and move it so your baby can practice visually tracking the object.
Collect several empty plastic bottles. Fill the bottles with various materials, such as a rice, beans or a small amount of water. Sit with your baby and help him roll the bottles. Encourage him to shake and maneuver each of the bottles. The sensory bottles can be used during tummy time as well. As your baby grows, encourage him to roll the bottles on the floor and scoot after them.
Stacking Activity for Infants
Stacking objects improves a baby's hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills. Use a ring stacking toy with your baby to practice stacking, or find other objects around the house that allow for stacking. Choose objects that are large enough for your baby to grab. Plastic bowls or large blocks work well for the stacking activity. Show your child how to stack the objects. Encourage her to stack the objects, assisting her as needed.
Tearing Paper Activity for Infants
Tearing paper is appealing to children of all ages. Provide your infant with an old magazine or other paper. Show him how to tear the pages in the magazine. Tearing allows babies to work on their gross motor skills while exploring cause and effect. Keep your good magazines out of reach of your baby so he doesn't initiate his own tearing activity with magazines you want to keep.
Use a drum to allow your infant to improve physical development. Purchase a child's drum or make your own from a coffee can. Help your infant bang on the drum with her hands. Sing a song while your baby bangs on the drum. The drumming activity allows your baby to practice coordination and learn about rhythm.