10 Fun and Engaging Tummy Time Activities for Your Baby

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Written By Olivia Miller

Author at Montessori Expert.

During a baby’s first few months, a crucial period for physical development, tummy time plays an essential role in strengthening neck, shoulder, and back muscles.

This ability to hold their head up and push up on their arms becomes the foundation for future milestones like rolling over, crawling, and eventually, sitting.

While some babies take naturally to tummy time, others may need encouragement and engaging tummy time activities to make it an enjoyable experience.

Tummy time is essential for your baby’s development, helping them build strong neck, back, and shoulder muscles. But it doesn’t have to be all fuss and frustration! These 10 engaging activities turn tummy time into a fun playdate for your little one.

Activity 1: Mirror, Mirror on the Floor

Age Group: Newborns and up Materials: Large, unbreakable mirror (on the floor or propped up safely)

How to Perform: Place a safe, large mirror on the floor or prop it up securely against a wall. Put your baby on their tummy in front of the mirror. The baby will be captivated by their own reflection, encouraging them to lift their head for a longer tummy time session.

Area of Development: Neck and head control, Visual stimulation

Activity 2: Peek-A-Boo Play

peek-a-boo play activity
peek-a-boo play activity

Age Group: Newborns and up Materials: None needed!

How to Perform: Get silly with a classic game of peek-a-boo! Kneel down in front of your baby while they are on their tummy. Cover your face with your hands and say “peek-a-boo” while uncovering your face. The surprise will encourage your baby to lift their head and focus on you.

Area of Development: Neck and head control, Social interaction

Activity 3: Colorful Catcher

Age Group: 2-3 months old

Materials: Colorful mobile or toy with engaging shapes and colors

How to Perform: Hang a colorful mobile or toy with interesting shapes and colors just above your baby while they are on their tummy. The bright colors and movement will capture their attention and encourage them to reach up and push up on their arms.

Area of Development: Neck and head control, Visual tracking, Reaching and grasping skills

Activity 4: Tummy Time on the Ball

tummy time activity
tummy time activity

Age Group: 2-4 months old Materials: Large exercise ball (adult supervision required)

How to Perform: Place your baby on their tummy on a large exercise ball, supporting their chest and head with your hands. Gently bounce the ball slowly back and forth. This playful movement strengthens core muscles and is fun for your baby! (Always supervise your baby closely and never leave them unattended on the exercise ball).

Area of Development: Core muscle development, Coordination, Bonding with caregiver

Activity 5: Reading Time on the Tummy

Age Group: Newborns and up

Materials: Board books with colorful pictures

How to Perform: Snuggle up with your baby for story time during tummy time! Lie down on a blanket or mat and prop yourself up on your elbows. Place your baby on their tummy on your lap and hold up a board book with colorful pictures. Read the story in a fun and engaging voice.

Area of Development: Neck and head control, Visual stimulation, Language development

Recommended: 300+ Fun & Easy Toddler Activities for Hours of Fun

Activity 6: Crinkle Paper Capers

Age Group: 3-5 months old Materials: Colorful crinkle paper

How to Perform: Crinkly fun for little ears! Spread out a sheet of colorful crinkle paper on a play mat. Place your baby on their tummy in the center of the paper. Crinkle the paper gently near your baby’s ears. The sound will pique their curiosity and encourage them to lift their head to see what’s making the noise.

Area of Development: Hearing development, Neck and head control, Cause-and-effect learning

Activity 7: Playful Puzzles

puzzle play activity
puzzle play activity

Age Group: 4-6 months old

Materials: Large, contrasting colored puzzle pieces (foam or cloth is best for younger babies)

How to Perform: Spark curiosity with contrasting colors! Place a few large, brightly colored puzzle pieces within reach of your baby while they are on their tummy. The bold colors will attract their attention, and they might reach out to touch or grasp the pieces.

Area of Development: Visual tracking, Reaching and grasping skills, Fine motor development

Activity 8: Shaking Surprise

shaking surprise activity

Age Group: 4-6 months old

Materials: Small, sealed container with beads or rice inside (ensure container is safe and won’t break)

How to Perform: Create a safe shaking sensation! Place your baby on their tummy and put a small, sealed container filled with beads or rice within their reach. The rattle of the container will pique their interest, and they might try to bat at it or push up on their arms to get a closer look. (Always ensure the container is securely sealed and won’t break or leak).

Area of Development: Hearing development, Cause-and-effect learning, Reaching and grasping skills

Activity 9: Tunnel Time

build a fort activity

Age Group: 5-8 months old

Materials: Play tunnel (soft and safe for babies)

How to Perform: Tunnel vision fun! Place a soft, safe play tunnel on the floor and entice your baby to crawl through. You can put a favorite toy at the end of the tunnel to encourage them to move forward on their tummy. This activity strengthens core muscles and hand-eye coordination.

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Coordination, Problem-solving skills

Activity 10: Following Flashlight

Age Group: 5-8 months old

Materials: Flashlight (safe for children)

How to Perform: Shine a light on playtime! Dim the lights in the room and turn on a safe flashlight. While your baby is on their tummy, move the light slowly across the floor or wall. They will be captivated by the light and try to follow it with their eyes, strengthening neck muscles and visual tracking skills.

Area of Development: Neck and head control, Visual tracking, Light and shadow exploration

tummy time activity image use for pinterest

Conclusion

Tummy time doesn’t have to be a solitary activity for your baby. By incorporating these tummy time activities and personalizing them to your little one’s interests, you can transform tummy time into a fun and interactive bonding experience that strengthens both their body and your connection.

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