Activity Table

An Activity table can be a very useful tool to help with several developmental skills. If you don’t have one or do not wish to get one, read through the ideas below for ways to use other items in your home for similar results. Pictured here is an example of standing with an ottoman instead.

When purchasing an activity table, check to make sure that the legs are removable.  For sitting activities, remove two legs and let the table sit at an angle.

1.) Place your baby with the table to his/her side and encourage him/her to rotate and play with the toy. You can vary the positioning with this and you can even play in front but help your baby into side sit for this.

Skills we are hoping to improve with this:

—rotation through the trunk

—crossing midline with arms

—luring to side sit

—working part of the sequencing for getting in and out of sitting

—overall trunk strengthening

 Adaptation: Use a pillow or other other surface slightly higher than the ground and baby safe and place toys on top to attract them to turn their upper body and rotate to play. You can use the “Mommy Chair” concept as well with toys to the outside of your legs.

2.) Place your baby  on his/her tummy with table in front. Use the table to lure your baby to lift his/her head and press up with arms. You can assist your baby to bend one knee/hip up and reach with that same side arm to play. Even if your baby only tolerates this for a few seconds, keep offering this position over and over with small rest times until your baby can tolerate the position for longer time periods. Although sleeping on the tummy is discouraged, playing on the tummy is crucial to your baby’s development.

Skills we are hoping to improve with this:

—head control

—arm strengthening that will help improve hand skills and overall arm functioning

—speech and feeding improvement with  development of shoulder, arm, chest, and abdominal muscles as well as the tongue falling forward and stimulating more sounds.

—upper trunk strengthening

—eventually pushing all the way up and attaining all fours to begin crawling

—this positioning leads to independence with getting into and out of sitting

Adaptation: Same position with your baby but just angle a baby safe mirror or other toy in front to encourage them to push up. Assist them gently at the shoulders, if needed.

3.) Take all the legs off the table and place baby on all fours facing the toy. You can also do this with two legs off the table as well. Lure to activate the toy and assist your baby to shift weight to one side to lift opposite arm to reach the toy and play.

Skills we are hoping to improve with this:

—reaching from all fours to increase strength and balance

—full neck extension with resulting improved head control

—stabilization of the all four position as well as dynamic stabilization–meaning your baby can not only hold all fours but move and play in this position. This leads to confidence, strength, and balance for beginning crawling.

4.) With all the legs on the table: Standing and pull to stand activities

Skills we are hoping to improve with this:

—hip and leg strengthening

—standing balance

—cruising skills

—hand play in standing

Adaptation: Same positioning with your baby and place a book or toy to activate in front of your child as they play.
5.) With all the legs on and the table securely on all four legs
Help your baby stand at the table to activate toys. Help your baby learn to cruise (walk sideways) around the table. Your baby may have trouble getting around the corners, just be patient and they will get this.
One great way to work like this is to place your baby over one knee and let him or her stand or sit and help them go up and down to play. Only give the support that they need so that your baby is learning to hold his or her body up while playing.
Adaptation: Do this at a couch or ottoman with a toy on top.
More ideas and information can be found in my books that are available HERE:

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