I know that this is merely further evidence that I'm a child development nerd, but I am constantly in awe of how quickly fine motor skills develop in the first six months of life. Granted, the end goal of most baby hand skills is getting the desired object into a drooly, gummy mouth. But to go from simply extending the arms to swatting at objects to grabbing them in a handful of weeks (get it?) is jaw-dropping for me regardless of the reason for the manipulation skills.
Rowan loves playing with golf balls lately and is able to grab them when I hand them to him, but left to his own attempts he usually pushes them off his blanket. Although they make a really magical rumble across the hardwoods, he winds up frustrated and I'm left retrieving over and over and fishing golf balls out of Sam the Wonderdog's mouth.
A Muffin Tin Helps Baby Grasp Toys
SO, I pulled out the muffin tin and put Rowie's golf balls in. Voila - the boy can grasp on his own! He's content to work on his fine motor skills and reap the benefits of Tummy Time. And then there's the added joy of the sound of the balls rattling around in their little cups. And watching them drop into the cups when he loses his grip. And mommy being able to sip her coffee and do some morning yoga poses near the boy's blanket without getting up 435 times to chase golf balls. Hooray for muffin pans!
Baby Hand Development: Palmar Arches
Flip your baby's hands over and take a look at his palms - cute, chubby and FLAT. He hasn't yet developed "palmar arches," which will give his palms the more cupped appearance of older kiddo and adult hands. Developing those palmar arches is crucial for the fine motor skills of writing, cutting, holding feeding utensils and so much more. Weight-bearing through the hands (as in Tummy Time) and grasping objects help babies begin to develop their palmar arches and upper body strength.
Play Activities For Older Babies
I've gotten many requests lately for activities for older babies - it seems parents feel most at a loss for play activities in the 5-7 month range. This activity would work well with that age group for sure! And don't feel limited to golf balls - try rings made of cut paper towel tubes, other types of balls, large pegs or shapes from a sorter. Be aware that golf balls may pose a choking hazard for toddlers or canines. Older babies can play with their muffin tins while seated or on their tummies. Itty bitty babies will do best belly-down over a Boppy Pillow or your lap since they won't yet have the strength to hold their weight up with one arm while reaching and grasping with the other.
If your kiddo enjoys this activity, please share below or share your photo on the CanDo Kiddo Facebook page!
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