7 Ways to Spice Up Your Baby’s Tummy Time 

By: Brita DeStefano

Tummy time - you’ve heard it from the parenting books, from your pediatrician and probably social media too – you need to be doing it with your baby every day. But how does an overwhelmed and exhausted new parent fit yet another thing into their day? And what do you do if your baby doesn’t cooperate? As a pediatric physical therapist and self-proclaimed Milestone Magician, I’m here to share some of my tips & tricks with you. Here are 7 physical therapist approved ways to spice things up and take your baby’s tummy time from protests to productive in no time. 

7 ways to spice up baby's tummy time by Brita DeStafano


Take it outside!

When the weather’s nice, consider adding a whole new sensory experience in the mix by bringing your baby’s blanket outside for tummy time. Let them feel the grass and leaves with their fingers and toes and soak up the sunshine or feel the wind in their face. For extra spice, you could even blow bubbles.

Switch it up!

Have you always done tummy time on baby’s play mat? Try switching it up. New locations you could try include the bathroom, the kitchen, the nursery, the laundry room etc! Each new location will have different sights and sounds and sensory experiences for your baby. 

Elevate it!

Tummy time doesn’t have to be on the floor. Try setting your baby on the table or the couch while you sit on the floor or in a chair face to face with them. Try tummy time up on their changing table after a diaper change. This is a great way to ensure you don’t forget to do it throughout the day. 

Add water!

Use a tummy time water mat, water in a ziplock bag, or just a bit of water in a baking pan or muffin tin. Let baby splash in it while on their tummy. Play around with different temperatures of water, adding ice cubes, or placing toys in the water. 

Read books!

Reading doesn’t have to always happen at bed time. Try propping a board book up during tummy time and reading to your baby. 

Use your body!

Babies often crave the connection and regulation they get from being held. Use your lap or your chest to do baby’s tummy time to switch things up. You can also carry baby with their belly over your forearm and walk around to give them a different view point. When using your lap or your legs, you can vary the angle to make it easier or more challenging for baby.

Skip the clothes!

Finally, strip those clothes off. Naked tummy time (with or without diaper) gives baby the opportunity to get novel sensory input to their whole body. Just utilize a washable or wipeable surface in case of any accidents!

Remember, tummy time is a beneficial activity for your baby to master, but it’s not the only important position for their development. Give your baby a variety of play positions throughout the day including back play, side lying, tummy time and supported/held upright. If your child is struggling with tummy time, reach out to a pediatric physical therapist for support. 



Want to learn more about appropriate baby milestones, child development, baby head shapes, and tummy time? Join us Tuesday, March 15th at 12:00pm PT for an Instagram live with Brita as we answer all your questions (and ours too - because we have a ton!) 

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