Educational Toys And Tips For
Teaching Baby to Crawl

Encouraging and teaching baby to crawl is possible. And many parents want to know what they can do to encourage their child to master this particular baby development milestone. Now, what I specifically like about using milestones is that they're a kind of easy measuring tool to gauge how a child's physical development is doing.

It also gives me a rough idea of the other milestones my child should have mastered at a particular age.

When Should Babies Crawl?

We normally expect babies to begin crawling at around 7-11 months. So, if you're evaluating your baby's crawling, have a look at the statistically analyzed data of thousands of when other babies start to crawl. Results are summarized in the table below.

When do baby start crawling - a summary table of relevant ages

Is Crawling Really Necessary?

There are still folks around debating whether a baby should really crawl, but many parents by now know that this activity is one of the major milestones infants should master.

It's a key period when your baby becomes stronger, learns the surroundings, improves visual skills, improves physical abilities… and ultimately gains valuable perceptual skills.

In due course most babies naturally master crawling. But many times it just doesn't happen… or s/he is slow to master it which may be for a number of really good reasons.

We often find that babies with poor head control mostly don’t like lying on their stomachs. And good head control is one of the key skills every child must have before thinking about teaching baby to crawl.

So, if head control is mastered later than expected, our baby may very likely be a bit slow in mastering most other physical developments too.

I’ve often seen that once parents start to worry about their baby’s development, they anxiously start seeking information and help… especially about teaching baby to crawl. How can they help and encourage their child's development? What exactly should they do? And what not to do.

Teaching Baby to Crawl - Basics

Very little information is generally available about teaching babies to crawl. However, there are a few proven techniques professionals use to get this done. One of the very first things almost all of these techniques focus on is to encourage your baby to be more tolerable to lying on her tummy.

Over many years I've tried and successfully used so many different ways to encourage and stimulate babies. But there is one technique that I found to work very well, is safe to try and can be done by all parents..

The 5P Baby Crawling System

It's a logical 5 Step System to help baby crawl in no time. Let's look at the 5P steps individually…

P - Position on tummy. The very first thing any baby must master before there's any hope of learning to crawl… is being comfortable in the tummy lying position. You'll get great results doing this if you talk to and play with your baby when she's on the carpet or any other soft mat.

A few such soft mats are highlighted in the photos below..

Caterpillar plush play mat
Caterpillar plush play mat
Plush play mat
Elephant shape plush, flexible & foldable mat
Baby foam play mat
Baby foam play mat

P - Put together a roller. Roll an ordinary bathroom towel into a "sausage". Of course, you can also buy any other type of roller. They're soft cylindrical shaped toys... preferably solid. You do get inflatable ones, but solid ones normally last much longer and can also be used to get teach your child to sit and walk.

Let's take teaching baby to crawl even a bit further. The main idea is to raise your child's upper body from the ground to free the elbows and arms for the next step. For this purpose a so-called wedge cushion also works very well.

I’ve also successfully tried a few other variations of a roller which have all given great results. Some of these options are given below.

Tummy time pillow
Tummy time pillow
Early Years roller
Early Years roller
Inflatable farm roller from Infantino
Infantino farm roller

P - Position the elbows. This step requires you to do something. Gently hold your baby by the elbows and draw them towards her body. It will almost seem as if your child wants to lie on her elbows. Continue to provide support.

Foam wedge
A foam wedge is another option for raising baby's upper body off the floor.

P - Position on roller. Gently position the "sausage" under your baby's upper body… arms hanging over the front of the "sausage". The towel "sausage" or roller supports the upper body - NOT her stomach - with her elbows just touching the carpet. It should slightly raise her upper body thereby allowing her to discover the surroundings. Make sure her elbows touch the carpet - they must not be hanging in the air.

A few other options I’ve tried with equally good results when teaching baby to crawl are pillow wedges, activity mats, prop pillows and lounging cushions as illustrated below..

Tummy time mat
Tummy time mat
Infant lounging cushoin
Lounging cushion
Fisher Price play wedge
Play wedge
A tummy time mat can be used, but make sure baby's elbows are slightly tucked in and touching the mat to copy the crawling position Even a lounging cushion can be use. However, ensure that baby's elbows touch the floor to duplicate the crawling position by adequately flattening the cushion A play wedge for learning to sit

P - Perform in front. This is the most important step. Get down on the floor directly in front of your child and face her. Now, let your baby look at your face while you talk to, amuse and encourage her. Many parents also found this crawl mirror a great help.

There are so many other helpful toys and aids – all of them colourful.

Ladybug activity mat
Ladybug activity matt
Prop pillow
Baby Einstein prop pillow
Activity mat
Bright Starts activity mat
Ladybug activity mat - see how baby's focus is on the floor mirror while keeping her in the tummy lying position. A prop pillow provides lots of built-in things to focus baby's attention. Note in this case that the roller is too high - elbows should be on the ground. Deflate roller. This activity mat also focuses baby's attention on the mirror, thus encouraging tummy lying position.

I usually suggest to parents that if they want to buy a particular toys to encourage crawling, that should preferably also be used for further development stimulation – toys like texture toys, rattles – in fact, any other small learning aid with do.

The idea is to encourage your child to endure longer sessions on her tummy. Your baby must focus on you or on the toy and to spontaneously develop a sense of using both elbows and legs for support. If it's done right, you'll soon see her supporting herself on both knees and straight arms... ready to crawl.

The power of this 5P System lies in raising your baby's upper body to look at her surroundings... all while lying down.

Isn't There An Easier Way?

OK, now I have already had a few parents tell me that this 5P technique takes time and effort. It's not easy and they don't always have enough time to try the technique. "Isn't there anything else I can do?", is quite often the question.

Of course there is!

Teaching Baby To Crawl From A Sitting Position

Ok, let's say this 5P technique still doesn't work. What else can I try?

Some babies just don't like to spend time on their tummies. One of the techniques that take a bit of time, but gets results, is shown in the following photo. Here’s how it works:

Getting from sitting to crawling position

Encouraging baby from sitting to crawling by using an educational toy.

Notice how this baby is encouraged to stretch for the brush while supporting his body… and almost bearing full weight on his left knee and arm. The aim is to encourage assuming the all-fours crawling position.

This little boy is also encouraged to perform the same weight bearing exercise and ultimately getting into crawling position... this time by cleverly positioning the V-Tech Move and Crawl ball.

Put your baby in a sitting position. Place any colorful toy or plaything on the floor, slightly in front and to either his left or right.

Let's say you're standing behind your child, looking in the same direction as your baby. And let's say the 12 o'clock position is straight ahead. Then you need to place the toy roughly in either the 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock position (the photo illustrates how this is done).

If you place the toy outside your baby's reach, he will have to stretch and support his upper body with the other hand.

You will notice that the little boy in the photo almost gets into a crawling position. And his full attention is on the brush. He doesn't even know he is using his elbow and left leg (half crawling position) to get to the brush!

More Tips for Teaching Baby to Crawl

There are a few basic things I believe parents should know about teaching baby to crawl.

Almost all babies, in due course, will master this milestone... even if you do nothing at all.

There are a few activities which you can safely encourage your baby to do which we've found most helpful for teaching baby to crawl.

And then there are also a few educational toys and tips which are very helpful for teaching baby to crawl. Here are a few ideas...

Tummy time mirror
Tummy time mirror
Lamaze texture caterpillar
Lamaze texture caterpillar
Floor mirror
Floor mirror

Lastly, not all crawling is really deemed to be 'crawling'. Stated differently, there is a 'best' or 'most preferred' way to crawl. It's advised that babies do it correctly.

Teaching Baby To Crawll >> Baby Toys