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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 12     pa r t 1: u n d e r s ta n d i n g t h e n e e d s o f c h i l d r e n Infant Physical and Motor Development Between birth and eighteen months of age, children experience an incredible amount of both physical and motor skill improvement. An infant who begins by tracking movement with his eyes and reaching for a finger is soon sitting up and grasping small toys. Little fingers that begin by grasping your finger are quickly grasping a bottle and just as quickly grasping a cup. Legs that initially kick and stretch are soon crawl- ing and eventually taking those first wondrous steps. As you plan your day and create objectives for each child, remember to include sufficient time for infant activities that promote physical development. Infants Birth–6 months Physical development before six months of age usually includes learning to push up from the floor and roll over. Infants need time during the day to lie on their backs on a blanket on the floor or outside on the grass. Sit in front of them and encourage them to roll over, and eventually to push up. Kicking and moving their hands and arms develops motor skills and is some- thing that comes naturally to infants. Use many of the activities included in part 2 to encourage nonmobile infants to move their arms and legs. As they become mobile, provide many daily opportunities for infants to wiggle across a safe space—they love moving! These wiggles and shuffles are preparing them to crawl. Place infants on their backs, allowing them space to roll over and move while you sit on the floor facing them. Use the suggestions in this book as well as your own creative ideas to encour- age infants to roll over, then shuffle forward. Offer an enthusiastic response as infants work hard developing these motor skills. Infants 6–12 months Small- and large-motor skills develop separately. For example, an infant at six months may be able to sit in a high chair without support but not be able to grasp small objects until seven or eight months of age. Infants in this age group should be given ample opportunity to sit supported when necessary and to sit unsupported when appropriate. Six to twelve months of age is also the time when most infants begin to crawl. Activities that encourage this skill should be included throughout the day. Ample protected space provides opportunity for infants to move and play. When establishing your daily schedule, look at ways you can offer a vari- ety of activities for multiage groups in an area where you can adequately supervise all the children. For example, create an open and safe space for infants on the floor near COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL