A Guide to Promoting Healthy Development for Babies Learning to Crawl
As your little one inches closer to mobility, you may be wondering how to best support their journey from wobbly attempts at sitting up to the world of crawling and exploration. Enter the magical world of crawling toys—designed not just for entertainment but for fostering key developmental milestones. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the best crawling toys for 2023 that not only encourage your baby to crawl but also aid in their overall development.
- What Makes a Great Crawling Toy?
- Top Picks for Baby Crawling Toys
- Tips for Teaching Your Baby to Crawl and More
- When to Seek Help
What Makes a Great Crawling Toy?
Before we delve into our top picks, let’s understand what sets apart a great crawling toy from a mere distraction. The best crawling toys meet the following criteria:
- Developmental Milestones: They support both gross and fine motor skills.
- Sensory Engagement: They offer a variety of textures, sounds, and colors.
- Safety: They are non-toxic and free from choking hazards.
- Ease of Use: They should be ready to use without complicated setups.
- Adaptability: They grow with your child through different developmental stages.
Top Picks for Baby Crawling Toys
Here’s a closer look at our top toys for babies learning to crawl in 2023.
1. Melissa & Doug K’s Kids Pull-back Vehicle Set
Why We Love It: This toy set takes a minimalist approach that is refreshingly effective. In an age where electronic gadgets dominate, its absence of flashing lights and electronic sounds is its strength. The simplicity allows for a child’s imagination to take center stage, transforming the toy cars into anything from participants in a high-speed chase to explorers in a make-believe world. Moreover, this straightforward design makes it less likely to break or malfunction, ensuring longevity.
- Encourages crawling with its bright colors and friendly faces.
- Supports motor skills development.
- Durable and compact for easy transport.
- Easy to clean.
2. VTech Explore and Crawl Elephant
Why We Love It: This plush elephant is an all-in-one mentor for your crawling baby. It combines the cozy familiarity of a stuffed animal with interactive features that actively engage your child. With just a push of a button, the elephant not only moves but also lights up and speaks, offering a multi-sensory experience. What sets it apart is its educational aspect—it doesn’t just entertain but also teaches basic colors, numbers, and phrases, making it a toy that truly grows with your child.
- Multiple sensory stimulations.
- Teaches colors, numbers, and phrases.
- Includes volume control and automatic shut-off.
3. The Crawligator
Why We Love It: The Crawligator is a remarkable toy that turns the often-monotonous tummy time into an adventure. It empowers your baby by converting subtle movements into actual mobility, giving them a sense of independence and achievement. This is especially important for babies who are on the verge of crawling but not quite there yet. The added comfort pad ensures that the journey is as cozy as it is exciting.
- Promotes strength and movement.
- Includes a comfort pad.
- Safe and easy to clean.
4. Skip Hop Follow-Bee Crawl Toy
Why We Love It: This toy is like a mini-course in developmental stages, designed to adapt as your child grows. In its first stage, it serves as a sensory-rich rattle, perfect for pre-crawlers. As your child advances to the crawling stage, it starts to move in a pattern that encourages following. The final stage is a free-roaming bee that your child has to chase, stimulating both curiosity and mobility. This adaptability not only provides long-lasting play value but also caters to different facets of your child’s development.
- Three developmental stages.
- Obstacle-avoiding sensors.
- Teething-friendly textures.
Tips for Teaching Your Baby to Crawl and More
Getting your baby to crawl is a significant milestone that every parent eagerly anticipates. However, it’s essential to remember that every baby is unique, and they will crawl when they are ready. Here are some tips to encourage your baby to crawl and achieve other developmental milestones:
Create a Safe Environment
Before your baby starts crawling, ensure that your home is baby-proofed. Remove any hazardous objects from the floor, secure loose wires, and make sure there are no sharp edges or corners within reach.
Tummy Time is Prime Time
Tummy time is crucial for building the muscles your baby needs to crawl. Start with a few minutes a day and gradually increase the time as your baby gets more comfortable. You can engage them during tummy time by placing toys around them, encouraging them to reach out and grab.
Use Toys as Motivators
Place attractive toys, like the ones we’ve reviewed, a little out of your baby’s reach during tummy time. This encourages them to move towards the toy, initiating the crawling motion.
Be a Cheerleader
Offer plenty of verbal encouragement and applause. Your excitement and positivity can be infectious, spurring your baby to keep trying even if they find it a bit difficult at first.
Let Them Go Barefoot
Allowing your baby to go barefoot can help them gain a better sense of the ground beneath them and can provide them more traction than socks or shoes.
Keep It Fun
Make a game out of crawling by getting down on all fours and showing them how it’s done. You can also use tunnels or create obstacle courses to make the experience more engaging.
Recognize Their Efforts
Whether it’s a scoot, a belly crawl, or a full-on hands-and-knees crawl, celebrate your baby’s efforts. Any movement toward crawling is progress and should be encouraged.
Some babies skip the crawling stage altogether and go straight to walking. The key is to be patient and let your baby develop at their own pace.
When to Seek Help
While it’s essential to let your baby take their time, consult a healthcare provider if you notice any of the following:
- Your baby shows no interest in moving by around nine months.
- Your baby seems to use only one side of their body to crawl.
- You notice stiffness or floppiness in your baby’s muscles.
These signs might indicate developmental delays that may require professional evaluation and intervention.
By following these tips and using some of the best crawling toys of 2023, you’re well on your way to helping your baby reach this exciting milestone.