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Explore Through Movement and Play

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Infants and toddlers are like scientists – curious and excited to learn about the world through movement and play! Movement and play keep your baby active, healthy, and helps develop their coordination and strength.

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Each stage of your child’s development comes with new opportunities for learning through play. For example, babies play through touching or crawling. Toddlers play by walking or climbing. The most exciting part is play can take on a variety of forms! It can be imaginative like pretending, creative like drawing or physical like dancing.

Watch the video and explore our tips below to learn everyday ways to improve baby motor skills through movement and play.


Our favorite tips on how to Explore through Movement and Play:

do tummy time

Babies should sleep on their backs, but during the day while they are awake, make sure your baby gets some "tummy time."

move arms and legs

When you are dressing your baby or changing their diaper, hold and gently move their arms or legs. Talk or sing about what you're doing.

follow their interests

Notice what your baby looks at or reaches for. If you can, bring the object closer so they can explore it. Describe how it looks and feels.

give objects to handle

Provide objects of different colors, shapes and textures. Use safe, everyday objects. You don’t need fancy toys to keep your baby’s attention.

play peek-a-boo

Hide your face with your hands and then open them up to show a big smile. You can also hide objects under a towel or blanket.

let them move around

Let your baby explore their surroundings by reaching, rolling, scooting and crawling. Just make sure they are safe.

go on a walk

Stop when your child shows interest in something and talk about it. If it is something that is safe to handle, let them touch it to find out how it feels.

roll a ball back and forth

Make a “Wheee!” sound when you roll it toward them.

play obstacle course

Make a simple obstacle course using blankets, pillows or boxes. See if your child can go “over,” “under,” “around” and “through” it.

make art

Your toddler will enjoy scribbling with a crayon or chalk. They can also experiment with folding or tearing paper.

play guessing games

For example, put a few objects in a bag and have your child guess what’s inside without looking. They can feel, smell and shake the bag.

act it out

Toddlers will start to imitate grown-up activities like putting a doll to sleep or giving it a shot. Follow their lead and play along.

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Sign up for Basics Insights

Basics Insights is a free text messaging program for parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers that sends science-based tips to boost your child's development.

The Basics in Action

Take advantage of these opportunities in the Houston community with your child.

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are developed at a very early age! Children's Museum Houston educator, Gisela, tells us how physical activity, exploration and play are important for the development of coordinated, strong, healthy bodies.

Check Out a FLIP Kit

Each kit contains a high-quality children’s book and everything needed to do a related activity. More than 2,400 FLIP kits are available!

Play Together

How do children learn to explore? Join Children's Museum Houston educators as they introduce an activity that will improve your baby's motor skills, coordination and exploration. Never underestimate the value of play!