How to Play When All Your Baby Can Do Is Kick And Wiggle

Occupational Therapist's ideas for ways to play with infant.

The Importance Of Baby Kicking

In just a few short weeks, your newborn has progressed from just beginning to move the weight of his legs against gravity to kicking like crazy! Kicking is important work for the development of leg and belly muscles but your baby just thinks it’s just good fun.

You’ll likely notice that your baby kicks each leg individually much of the time, similar to the leg movements of walking or crawling. The brain is wired for alternating movements and it’s important that infants keep practicing them in anticipation of walking, running, bicycle riding and more. When not confined by excessive time in Baby Holding Devices, babies naturally get the kicking practice they need through floortime play. We can just make it a little more interesting!

Let Baby's Natural Development Unfold

One of my guiding principles when thinking of what to do with my kiddo is to think about what he's naturally working on or practicing lately. I don't try to push him ahead in his milestones, instead I try to expand on what he's naturally doing and let his development unfold at its own pace. Once I saw his legs (which are getting chubbier every day!) start kicking, I racked my brain for as many ways to play with kicking legs as I could!

Baby Play for Sensory Integration

Baby Play ideas from a pediatric OT.

With a shallow pan of water placed under his feet, your baby will feel and hear new sensations as he kicks. Through repetition he’ll learn that his his movements are causing all the splashing. He'll begin to integrate, or use together, his senses of hearing, touching and muscle stretching (the sense of proprioception). 

Whether inside or outside, simply cover baby's blanket with a towel, pour warm water in a shallow pan and let those little feet go crazy. 

Here are more ways to play with your kicking baby:

Tissue Paper Kicking
Balloons Kicks
A Streamer Curtain