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10 Tummy Time Toys Occupational Therapists Love

Sep 18th, 2021 | by Samantha Berger, MS, OTR/L

Samantha Berger, MS, OTR/L

September 18th, 2021

It’s no secret that tummy time is important for your child’s development, but here’s the why and the how. By spending time in a prone (belly down) position, your child is working to strengthen the muscles in her upper body, including her arms, neck, and chest as he or she attempts to push themselves up off the ground to engage with their environment. 

Tummy time promotes development of proper spinal curvatures and helps to prevent plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome). The strengthening of her proximal musculature is a precursor for head control and trunk stability. Weight shifting in prone to reach toward preferred objects is a precursor for rolling and crawling.  

10 Baby Tummy Time Toys Recommended by an Occupational Therapist

Although tummy time is important, it is also often a non-preferred position. While there are positioning modifications that can support improved tolerance for tummy time, we also recommend the use of highly motivating and engaging toys to encourage tummy time or equipment that offer opportunities for sensory input. Some of our favorite tummy time toys include: 

1. Water Play Mat

Offers visual, tactile and proprioceptive (movement) sensory input

2. Floor Mirror

Offers visual sensory input

3. Bubble Machine

Offers visual and tactile sensory input

4. Soft Activity Book

Offers visual and tactile sensory input

5. Suction Cup Wonder Wheel

Offers visual, auditory and tactile sensory input and encourages targeted reaching 

6. Height Adjustable Ball Drop

Encourages targeted reaching, grasp and release with an interactive cause and effect relationship

7. Musical Mat

Offers auditory sensory input with an interactive cause and effect relationship

8. Suspended O-Ball

Offers visual and tactile sensory input and encourages targeted reaching with increased support for development of grasp (plus the ball won’t roll away making it a hands free option for mom or dad) 

9. Pop-Up Toy

Offers visual and tactile sensory input with advanced dexterous skill to activate cause and effect pop-up 

10. Soft Blocks

Offers visual sensory input with high contrast colors 

Additional Resources from the NAPA Blog:

About the Author 

Samantha Cooper is a pediatric occupational therapist at NAPA Center-Los Angeles. When not engaging her clients through play, Samantha can be found balancing her love for ice-cream with spin or barre classes or trying to cuddle her dog, Cassidy, who would much rather have her personal space.  

About NAPA Center

At NAPA Center, we take an individualized approach to pediatric therapy because we understand that each child is unique with very specific needs. We embrace differences with an understanding that individualized programs work better. For this reason, no two therapeutic programs are alike. If your child needs our services, we will work closely with you to select the best therapies for them, creating a customized program specific to your child’s needs and your family’s goals. Let your child’s journey begin today by contacting us to learn more.


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