9 Best Physical Activities for Babies

baby running in the yard

You can already imagine your little one taking off on their scooter down your neighborhood street, playing tag with friends in the backyard, and even running cross-country on their high school track. You know that fun activities and sports will likely dominate their childhood, and you can’t wait to have a front-row seat to the magic they’ll make.

The best part? You can give your baby the head start they need to excel physically today.

Baby exercises are an excellent way to enhance their growth and development. Promoting physical activity during your child’s baby years will encourage your little one to lead an active, fulfilling lifestyle long-term. Let’s explore the nine best baby physical activities.

Baby Exercise For Zero to Six Months

Exercise helps children 0-6 months of age build their muscular strength, which they need to raise their heads, sit, crawl, and ultimately walk. Baby physical activities can also help them develop their fine and gross motor skills, which they need to roll over, pick up tiny objects, and grasp eating utensils. Although there aren’t any specific physical activity guidelines for children 0-6 months, a couple of exercises can help them safely get the activity they need while enjoying it.

1. Tummy Time

This popular baby exercise is an excellent way to keep your little one active when not asleep. Place your child on their stomach for at least half an hour when they’re 3-4 weeks old, and encourage them to look up at you and other objects in your environment. This will prepare their muscles for sitting and crawling. Avoid leaving your child unsupervised during tummy time.

2. Finger Gripping

Encouraging your child to grip your pointer finger is another effective baby exercise option. Your child’s grasp reflex develops when they’re in the mother’s womb. This primitive reflex disappears when a child reaches 6 months old due to the development of their motor reflexes and the brain’s cortex (gray matter). Gripping your finger will help your child exercise their grasp reflex, which will help them hone their fine motor skills.

3. Lifting Weights

Another baby exercise that will benefit your child at 0-6 months is weight lifting — no dumbbells needed. After your child has learned how to grasp objects like toys, motivate them to lift them. This is an especially effective exercise for children 3-4 months of age.

Allow them to lift their favorite toys while sitting on the floor or in a high chair like the Beyond Junior® Y High Chair by Abiie®. This high chair offers the benefit of encouraging your child to sit with the correct posture thanks to its sturdy back and ergonomic design. You’ll also love the seat’s EZ-Seat design, which allows for the quick adjustment of the seat in less than 20 seconds. This unique design enables the seat to grow with your child, meaning the chair can be used from infancy to adulthood.

Six to 12 Months

Once your child has reached 6-12 months, they should ideally get 30 minutes or more of structured physical activity (doing adult-led baby physical activities) daily. You should also give them an hour of unstructured physical activity (free play) each day. Let’s examine a few baby exercise options to help them achieve these activity levels.

4. Baby Crunches

Baby crunches are much like adult crunches except you help your little one through the process. Your baby should lie down facing up. Grab your child’s arms, and pull your little one up gently until they are sitting. Keep your child’s back upright. Then, lay your child down again gently. Repeat this movement several times daily. Avoid pulling your child when their arms are completely extended, and don’t pull their arms against their will.

5. Wheelbarrow Exercise

This is an enjoyable fun baby exercise for kids 6-12 months old. Place your baby on their stomach, and lift their body’s lower half slowly while putting one of your hands on your child’s back. The goal is to encourage your child to use their hands and arms to balance the upper body. Be gentle during this “workout,” and make sure your child is on a rug or other soft surface.


Dad holding baby in Huggs carrier while coaching and hiking

6. Climbing Mountains

Has your little one started crawling? Give them a “mountain” to climb to build their muscles even more. Arrange several pillows so that they form a small mountain on your floor. Then, encourage your child to climb over it. It’s an easy baby exercise for parents seeking to strengthen their leg and hand joints. Another excellent way to build your child’s joints is with Abiie’s ergonomic Huggs® Baby Carrier, whose patented HIPBELT hip seat design can help prevent hip dysplasia in your little one.

Family standing on a beach watching the sunset


One Year to Three Years

Children in this age range — toddlers — should ideally spend 180 minutes daily doing various physical activities all day long. These include outdoor play. At least an hour of this time should be spent doing vigorous or moderately intense baby exercises. Let’s look at a few exciting ways to help your child meet their daily activity quota.

7. Animal Imitation

Ask your child to imitate some of their favorite animals. This is one of the best baby physical activities, as it is an effortless way to get your toddler moving. Your child may walk on their knees and hands or even roll around to mimic a dog. Encourage them to use their whole body as part of this exercise. Greater activity levels lead to greater exercise.

8. Playing Follow-the-Leader

Exciting baby physical activities also include the game follow-the-leader, where they must pay attention to your moves and copy them. Pick simple actions to engage your child’s gross motor skills, like crawling, stomping, jumping, and touching their feet.

9. Hitting Balloons

Blow up some balloons, and tell your little one to keep them off the floor by hitting them before they can touch the ground. This baby exercise will encourage them to run as they chase the balloons, which is an excellent aerobic activity.

Keep Your Baby Healthy With Help From Abiie®

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