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Pre-Crawling Activities

Do you have a 6-12 month old who is not yet crawling? If so, this post will give you helpful exercises to help your little one achieve this milestone. A child may begin crawling on their belly (army crawling) as early as 6 months, and on their hands and knees (quadruped crawling) around 8-10 months. Some babies skip army crawling and go straight to quadruped crawling. Try the following exercises with your little one to help them prepare for crawling on their hands and knees:

Kneeling at a Support Surface

Have your baby kneel at a low surface (bottom stair/similar height object) while playing with their favorite toys. Initially you may have to kneel behind your baby and use your knees to stabilize their knees in correct kneeling alignment (legs folded directly under them, not spread out to the sides) or stabilize their knees as in the picture below.

This exercise helps babies practice the crawling position with their arms elevated, making it a little bit easier to get used to. The lower the surface used, the harder it will be.

Hand-Opposite Knee Taps

Start with your baby lying on their back with their legs straight. Bring one arm all the way above their head so it is straightened up by their head and resting on the ground. Bring the raised arm’s hand to tap their opposite side knee and then re-extend the arm and leg so they are straight again. Repeat 20 times with one arm and leg, and then 20 times with the opposite arm and leg. Remember to straighten out your baby’s arm and leg after each tap. One of your hands should be holding your baby’s hand while your other hand is holding right below their knee.

This exercise helps develop the coordination and reciprocal movements needed for crawling.

Pivoting on Stomach

When your baby is in tummy time, place toys in a circle around them to encourage them to pivot. Try to get them to pivot to both the left and right directions.

This activity helps encourage the trunk movements required for crawling.

Quadruped Position

When your baby is in tummy time, pull upward and backward at their pelvis to pull them into a kneeling position with their hands still bearing weight on the ground. This will look like the hands and knees crawling position (quadruped). If they collapse their arms when you pull them back into kneeling, apply a slight upward force on their pelvis/trunk to encourage them to lift back up onto their hands. Stabilize their knees in good alignment just like in kneeling play and hold their pelvis as needed to keep them in the crawling position. Place visually attractive toys in front of them or have another person visually engage them from the front.

This exercise will help your baby gain the strength and stability needed before they begin to move forward in this position to crawl.

Sitting Balance

Place your baby in sitting on an unstable surface such as a firm pillow (or balance disc if you have one) and give them a toy to play with. Make sure you sit behind or in front of them and be ready to catch them if they start to fall over. Try to have your baby sitting so their whole body is on the pillow with no body part touching the ground.

This exercise works on increasing core strength which is vital for efficient crawling. Strong core muscles help keep your baby stable while they move their arms and legs to crawl.


The content in this blog should not be used in place of medical advice/treatment and is solely for informational purposes. All activities/exercises posted in this blog should be performed with adult supervision, caution, and at your own risk. Big Leaps, LLC is not responsible for any injury while performing an activity/exercise that has been posted on this blog. If you have any information on the content of our blog, feel free to contact us at


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