20 Exercises for Babies Under 1 Year Old

Exercises for babies under 1 year old are very important to stimulate both motor and cognitive development. Here are some exercises you can do with them.
20 Exercises for Babies Under 1 Year Old

Last update: 23 April, 2021

Children don’t have the same learning pace, and this must be respected. However, we can help them by stimulating their abilities, with exercises for babies. These exercises boost their psychomotor and cognitive development.

It’s important to involve all parts of the body equally, and always do it very carefully without ever forcing babies. We must choose the right time to perform these activities so that they’re willing to pay attention.

Here you can find some exercises adapted to each month of the child’s life, as we must adjust to their abilities and skills. Take note of them!

Exercises for babies between 0 to 3 months old

In this section, we’ll focus on those exercises that we can do with babies in their first 3 months of life. These should be gentle and are aimed at improving their mobility. They also target their ability to discover new sensations, by becoming familiar with their first stimuli.

  • Massage their hands and feet. We can use our hands or a feather to stimulate them with various stimuli.
  • Play with their fingers and toes, picking them one by one.
  • Lying on their back, grab the soles of their feet and bring their knees to their chest. You can do this 5 times with each leg and then increase the frequency.
  • Lying on their back, show them a brightly colored object about 30 cm from their eyes, and move it so that they follow it with their head.
20 Exercises for Babies Under 1 Year Old
  • Again, lying on their back, bring their right hand to their left shoulder very gently, and repeat this with their left hand on their right shoulder. Afterwards, you can cross both arms over their chest.

Exercises for babies between 3 to 6 months old

As the baby grows, the exercises will have to be adapted because their motor skills will improve little by little.

  • On their back, you can bend one leg while extending the other, and help them turn on the side of the extended leg. Repeat with both legs.
  • Face down, place toys in front of them for them to try and pick them up.
  • Hold their hands and clap with them.
  • Lying on their back, take their little hands and slowly pull them up until they’re sitting.
  • Lying on their back, take their legs and do the bicycle movement with them.

Exercises for infants between 7 to 10 months old

Now the exercises will have other objectives, given that their physical and cognitive characteristics have improved.

  • Let babies take food with their hands and put it in their mouth to notice the different textures. We have to provide foods with which babies don’t run the risk of choking, like soft and squishy things.
  • Place objects in a row and ask them for some of them. Guide their hands until they take it, then gently take it away and praise them for having achieved it.
  • Teach them to call for a family member. For example, “call daddy”, and when they do, clap for them. You can keep doing this until they call and look for you.
20 Exercises for Babies Under 1 Year Old
  • If they’re starting to crawl, you can crawl with them. It’ll help them a lot if you motivate them to follow you.
  • Show them pictures of animals and make the corresponding sound for each one. Then, ask them to do it as you’ve taught them. For example, if you show them the dog, tell them: “woof, woof.”

Exercises for babies between 11 to 12 month old

These are some of the recommended exercises at this stage.

  • Use the same toy for various activities. For example: “catch the ball”, “throw the ball”, “kick the ball”….
  • Play music on a loudspeaker and put their hands on top of it so they can feel the vibrations of the music.
  • Place them in front of a mirror so they begin to identify their own appearance. Soon they’ll laugh and touch their reflection.
  • In a bucket with sand, let them pat and smooth out the sand inside; let them touch it and experiment with it.

These are some of the exercises for babies between 0 to 12 months old that can help you improve their motor and cognitive development. It’s important to adapt to their abilities and limitations, and to look for the right time to do these activities. We should never do them when the child is tired or unreceptive.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.