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Play ideas to strengthen your baby’s leg muscles

Strengthening your baby’s leg muscles is giving him a head start to achieve gross motor skills. Learning to use and control our muscles happens sequentially from our heads down, so those large buttocks and leg muscles will be the last to lose their jerky, uncontrolled movements. But that doesn’t mean you can help your baby enjoy practicing his goal-kicking moves.

Sometime between 6 and 12-weeks, your baby might start kicking his legs off a surface while on his back. You can expect bigger movements when he is excited and providing a few sensory experiences will encourage more movement and better control.

One simple way to start early is to take advantage of your baby’s need to push against something with his legs by placing your forearm against his legs to see if he will push away from your arm.

Another really fun way is to tie helium-filled balloons to your baby’s legs. Kicking is a great exercise for his hips, too (think of bicycle kicks and the way his legs will move once crawling).

It will take a couple of months for your baby to fully understand that his feet and legs are part of his body. This understanding is the first part of him doing more and more with his legs and feet, making them stronger, but you can help him discover his feet by letting him wear rattle socks.

Working those leg muscles will be a whole-body exercise giving your baby strong core and neck muscles - all important to help him reach an upcoming major milestone - rolling over.

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