"One of the most thrilling achievements for a child is learning to move himself through space to get to a desired object. Infants have many different ways of doing this—backwards, tummy on the ground, sideways, creeping, crawling, rolling, lifting tummy alternately with arms and legs. This is important work!
Sometimes a child grunts or yells as he works, or falls asleep for a few seconds between “push-ups.” The child enjoys the process of experimenting and learning as much as he enjoys the final success of being able to crawl. We can help the child in this valuable work by not interrupting him as he works and by offering balls and toys that roll at a slow pace, are interesting to look at, touch, feel and listen to. If the toy moves too far too quickly the child will give up, and if it does not move at all there will be no challenge." - Montessori Philosophy and Practice, The First Year - Crawling, Pulling Up Standing, 2009-2010 edition of The Joyful Child, Montessori from Birth to Three.
At five months, Otto has lots of different ways of getting around. His favorite is the roll and pivot, he can use it to get almost anywhere fast and he can get across an entire room. Lately, he has been getting up on all fours and rocking, rocking and then launching himself forwards. Previously he would creep forwards slowly until he would run into something like his mirror or shelves. From birth, we recommend the child has lots of free time in a movement area or on a movement mat. I also recommend lots of time with the child's legs and feet free from clothing. If you haven't already, now is the time to ensure the child has access to interesting toys and materials that promote movement.
What toys promote movement? Toys that can move, but not too fast. We use lots of play-mats in our home, or rugs or carpet surfaces, most balls will not roll far. If you have hard floors some balls will roll away too far and too fast for the child. Some cylinder rattles and the interlocking discs are perfect as they will often move just out of reach of the child - providing an incentive for movement!
The toys we currently have on our playmat to promote movement include:
- Puzzle Ball with Bell
- Woven Ball with Bell
- Crochet Sensory Ball
- Brio Bell Cylinder
- Interlocking Discs
- Teething Ball
- Small Bell Rattle
- Ball Cylinder.
Many of these are also toys that we use to promote hand to hand transfer, so they have multiple benefits! The balls and cylinders with bells also provide a nice auditory stimulus. Otto loves to put things into his mouth and often gets frustrated when they won't fit, so the Skwish, Interlocking Discs, Teething Ball, and Small Bell Rattle are extra satisfying to reach.
This stage in development is incredible to watch!