Although crawling is not an official developmental milestone, parents may still want to know more about toys that teach baby to crawl.
Learning to Crawl
Babies typically learn to crawl somewhere between seven and ten months of age, but some developmentally normal babies never crawl. Some scoot, some roll, and some skip straight to walking. However, there is one benefit in parents encouraging their babies to crawl. Learning to crawl takes lots of tummy time, something that develops baby's upper body muscles and presents positional plagiocephaly, a flat spot on the head that develops when a baby spends too much time on his or her back. Parents can make their own tummy time aids to help their child learn or choose from the great selection of toys that teach baby to crawl.
This little gem of a toy offers babies a comfortably padded platform that spins, encouraging babies to use their hands to support and spin themselves around. The Lamaze Spin and Explore Gym also comes with a fun flower-shaped play mat with a bright and stimulating color scheme. The mat has the crinkly panels that babies love, and also includes lots of interactive elements, such as a peek-a-boo leaf flap, a mirror, and a squeaky red bird that baby can pull out of a fabric nest pocket.
The Spin and Explore Gym is designed to be used from birth up to 24 months, and the mat can be used without the platform. The platform is safe for babies up to about six months, but parents need to always supervise the use of the platform. The platform is somewhat small, so larger babies may have a difficult time getting comfortable enough to play.
The First Years offers the Happy Flyer Tummy Time toy, and it is very similar to the Spin and Explore, but with an airplane theme that is great for little boys. Pricing is similar at $41.93, but baby size concerns still apply. These spinner style toys are a great idea, but they don't magically make babies who are very resistant to tummy time into overnight crawlers. Parents need to be realistic in their expectations when they buy one of these and realize that they are a relatively new idea. These types of toys may change as they are actually used by parents and babies and given feedback to manufacturers, so moms and dads should keep their eyes out for new versions.
Mats With Supportive Pillows
This tummy time toy consists of a play mat with a c-shaped pillow that supports baby's chest while still allowing the baby to support himself on his elbows. The supportive pillow encourages development of the muscles in the upper body, and the play mat ideally keeps baby stimulated and happy during tummy time sessions.
Boppy offers a Tummy Play Pad that includes a downsized Boppy pillow with attached fabric loops for connecting toys. The Tummy Play Pad comes with a bee teether, a stuffed dragonfly with crinkle wings, and a rattle. The Play Pad is reasonably priced at $29.99 and comes in a soft and pretty pink or a kicky bright blue. The pillow is not attached to the play pad, so parental supervision is obviously required to prevent the baby from slipping off the mat or pillow.
The Tiny Love Tummy Time Activity Mat is priced slightly lower at $22.03. It also has a c-shaped pillow and comes with an interactive play mat and a detached mirror that can be placed in front of the baby. The ladybug play mat has a crinkly face and squeaky nose, and the ladybug's left hand has both the crinkle fabric and a rattle inside. This activity mat has plenty to keep baby busy while developing the muscles needed to crawl.
Toys That Promote Crawling
Parents have plenty of crawl-promoting toys to choose from, but the best way to teach a child to crawl is to work with him or her at making tummy time a consistent daily activity. The toys mentioned are great for developing the upper body strength needed for crawling, but the same effect can be achieved with a brightly colored blanket, a rolled-up towel under the baby's chest, and a few fun toys. Toys that teach a baby to crawl are nice to have, but not absolutely essential.