Did you know crawling is not just great for a baby’s development? – kids of all ages should be crawling, with both mental and physical benefits to be found in such a simple activity. In fact, adults can benefit too, which is why you may see football players and even military crawling as part of their training. Physical therapists often use it as a part of rehab exercises for patients and it’s also used for kids of all ages through gymnastic programs.
Crawling is traditionally believed to be important for developing babies’ gross motor skills and contributing to early brain development and, after that, it’s often the case that we never crawl again as we age!
Here are some of the benefits of crawling, reminding us that it should be something our children are encouraged to do as part of their week:
- It strengthens the core, back, shoulders, hips, and hands
- It helps form new neural connections in the brain and engages both sides of the brain at once
- It improves hand-eye coordination and body awareness
- Weight bearing through the hands and arms on a flat surface helps develop fine motor skills and can increase stabilisation for tasks like handwriting
- It helps to reset the central nervous system and relieve stress
If you want to introduce crawling into your kid’s activities, here are a few ideas – and why not get down on the floor and join in with them!
Try crawling around on your hands and knees with your child as an infant would. You can set up obstacles to crawl around, over and under to help keep it interesting or even have a crawling race!
This is where you keep your knees off the ground and only the hands and feet make contact.
To do the Gorilla Crawl, start standing with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Then bend over and reach your hands out on the ground in front of you. You will shift your weight forward to your hands on the ground and then jump your feet forward outside your hands.
Once you’ve jumped your feet close to outside your hands, you will again reach your hands out and place them in front of you on the ground before jumping your feet back outside your hands.
For this crawl, you need to stay as close to the ground as possible and rest on your forearms instead of your hands.
This is where you flip the crawl in the opposite direction. Squat on ground, place hands behind you, and lift your hips off the ground, face up towards the sky. Start “walking” using hands and feet.
This can be trickier that you think. Try to reverse your crawl and see how you go.
Crawling is such a simple activity – and so many benefits!