The house has been baby proofed and the little guy is free to explore much of his surroundings as he begins to crawl, still under the watchful eyes of the parents. Baby is motivated by his drive to learn, and crawling gives the baby practice with opposing arm and leg motions. Practice is important; it strengthens the brain connections that will help the child in all sorts of future motor activities.
I have found great fun in being able to observe children in this stage of development, not only because of the pure joy on their faces as they assert their independence but also in the many varied versions of the crawl I see.
There is the army crawl. Babies doing the army crawl stay pretty much on their tummies as they pull them selves forward using their upper arms. This is work! The front side gets the workout while the backside wriggles in support and occasionally brings a knee up under the tummy.
There is the pull and hop method. Babies doing this are using a galloping type of movement where the back half is not mimicked by the front half. Instead it does sort of a hop as if to catch up to the front side and sometimes the front side uses a hop & pounce strategy to move forward.
The standard crawl (or creep) is by far the most efficient, with opposing motion in the arms and legs. The baby uses his hands and his knees to move. Babies who have mastered this version can move lightening fast across a room and love to play ‘catch me if you can’ with mom or dad.
This weekend I observed a variation of the standard crawl with hands and knees. As the backside performed its part, this baby used his foot on one side most of the time–a sort of knee-foot strategy. The variation will help lead this little one into walking and running. (although not necessarily in that order!)
Sammy Square is my name
My four sides are just the same.
1, 2, 3, 4
(Make a larger Sammy and give children turns to count the sides)