The Ultimate Guide – Activities for Muscle Development in Your 0 – 3 Month Old

Activities That Will Build Muscle Development in Your Child


Activities that may seem so normal and basic actually play a crucial role in your baby’s muscular development.


Muscle development doesn’t just mean arms and legs. Baby’s are building up all of their muscles, even their eyes, ears, and mouth.


Here are 15 activities you can do with your baby to help them build up their muscles; as well as give you an opportunity to bond with your baby.


Tummy Time:


tummy time


Tummy time strengthens muscles in the neck, shoulders, arms, and belly.


A boppy is a great tummy time tool. Place baby belly down in the center of the boppy with their arms over the top.



When your baby is fresh and new it is best to do tummy time with the belly to belly technique. Lie down on your back with a pillow under your head and then put baby’s belly on your belly.


Softly talk to your little one to get them to look up at you.


You can also try tummy time on your lap. Place baby over your knees.


Rock your knees back and forth or up and down very slowly. Pat or stroke their back to help soothe them.


The most common spot for tummy time is on the floor.


Make sure its still a fairly soft surface for your baby’s comfort. When baby’s first start practicing tummy time they still have little control of their muscles and their head will quickly fall when you least expect it, so make sure there is a soft landing!


I would not do tummy time on hardwood floors. Lay your baby on a rug or folded quilt.


Only practice tummy time until your baby gets upset. This is hard work for a baby and they will tire easily in the beginning.


Rolling Over:


Around 2 months, if your baby has a strong control of their neck muscles, you can start practicing rolling.


Rolling is a milestone that comes at very different times for each baby. Some babies will start showing signs of being able to roll as early as 2 months and others will be closer to 6 months.


Babies will roll in their own time, but it’s okay to help show them how it’s done.


You can do this by giving them plenty of time to play on the floor on their backs and their tummy. Encouraging them to reach across their body will encourage them to learn to roll over.


A play mat is perfect for encouraging your little one to roll over. 



Some babies might even skip rolling and go straight to sitting or crawling to get around.


Sitting Up: 


This is another activity where you want to be sure your little one has strong neck control, and as long as they do start showing them how to sit up.


Practice this by sitting them down in front of you so that their back can rest against your stomach.


As they get better at sitting on their own they will no longer need you for support.


Reaching and Kicking: 


reaching out


This is my favorite activity! Watching your baby get excited and kick their feet is so fun.


My little girl is always kicking and laughing and it’s so cute!


That playmat that I mentioned above is her favorite way to build her muscle strength.


Turn kicking into something super interesting by giving your baby something soft to kick or something that makes noise when they kick it.


If it’s a hot summer day try putting some water at their feet. You can do this with a cookie baking sheet and then lie your baby down to where only their feet will touch the water.


Practicing reaching with your baby by showing them an object (bright colored or black and white objects work best) and take their hands to show them they can touch it.


Soon they will start reaching for the objects all on their own!


Holding onto Objects: 


Once your baby has started reaching for objects they will soon be able to hold onto them.


This is when rattles become a lot of fun because your baby will realize they can make noise by holding and shaking the object.



Look at Contrasting Images/Things: 


As a newborn, your baby can only see about 8-12 inches away from their face and they can see black and white images best.


Once your baby recognizes your face and starts following you with their eyes give them black and white images or objects to look at and follow. Black and whiteboard books are perfect for this!



Experiment with Colors: 


experimenting with colors


As your baby grows and maybe seems to be bored with black and white images and objects, mix it up and use some bright colorful images.


I know my little girl loves yellow and hot pink because she responds to those colors the most.


These blocks are great for exposing babies to color and will be a perfect toy for years to come. 


Baby Stretches: 


Stretch your baby’s arms up and out to the sides. Then stretch your baby’s legs down.


You can do this one at a time or both arms/both legs at the same time.


Baby Exercise: 


Exercise is fun once your baby has control of their neck muscles.


You can lay them on their backs and then pull them up to a sitting position by holding onto their hands. We call these baby sit-ups.


You can also hold them up and let them stand on their feet to help strengthen their legs muscles.


Of course, tummy time is the best exercise for your baby at this age to help them strengthen their necks and begin to learn how to put their arms and legs underneath their tiny bodies and later on begin crawling.


Following Light: 


A baby’s sight is something that doesn’t fully develop until 6-8 months.


When your baby is fresh out of the womb to 1 month they will notice light, shapes, and movement.


Have fun shining a flashlight around a dark room to see if your little one will follow the light. Never shine the light directly in their eyes.


Following Sound: 


Getting your baby to follow the sound of a rattle is a fun activity to working on the neck muscles too!


Lay your baby on their back looking up and shake a rattle or make a noise to the side of their face to see if they will turn their heads.


Slowly begin practicing getting them to turn there head from one side to the other by following the sound.


Blowing Bubbles: 


You may notice your baby blowing lots of spit bubbles. You’ll actually want to encourage this!


Blowing bubbles is an important step in your baby learning to talk.


This activity helps strengthen their jaw and lips which will be important for speech development.


If your baby is a slobbery mess, just get them some cute bibs to match and protect their outfits.

Mirror Time:


Babies love babies! When they first see themselves in the mirror, they won’t know that they are looking at themselves.


The Bright Start Sit and See Mirror is great for playtime with young babies.



Your baby will most likely start talking to the baby in the mirror.


Mirror time lets them focus on an object, practice conversation with coos and giggles, reaching and touching.


Change of Scenery: 


Finally my favorite!


Something as simple as showing your baby the world they’ve been born into.


Give them a tour of their new home. Take them on walks through the neighborhood they’re going to grow up in.


If you’re stuck in the house and they’re getting fussy it’s possible your baby is bored. Turn them around and give them a new view, or set them in a new spot.


What activities are you doing with your baby to help them with muscle development and motor skills?


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newborn tummy time and motor skills for newborns

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