Babies Walkers 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

Rolling over is one of the first motor skills milestones that a baby achieves. Rolling is the first step in developing postural control and is also important as it engages the part of the brain responsible for developing the neural pathways between the left and right hand sides of the brain that will help with later coordination and the development of higher motor skills.

On average, babies tend to first roll from tummy to back between 2-5 months, from back to side between 4-5.5 months, and from back to tummy between 5.5-7.5 months

Equipment required

  • mats


  • Two to three weeks

How it works


What to do in the class

With background music, work through a variety of the moves suggested below to help prepare babies for rolling.

Roly Poly


For very young babies

When setting your baby down on the mat, place their bottom on the floor and lean them slightly to the side. They will automatically try to adjust their heads which will help to strengthen their neck muscles. Pick up and repeat but this time lean them the other way. This movement can be practised at every nappy change!

With babies on their backs, gently lift their legs into their chest to form a rounded position. Babies need to develop a good balance of extension (that “arching” position, learned in tummy time) and flexion (that “tucked” position, learned in playtime on the back). So lots of tummy time will also help to develop muscular control to enable the baby to roll.

For older babies

With the baby on their backs, practice to music a rocking movement from side to side, if the baby is a little older taking this a little further to allow the baby to complete the roll themselves. Try to let the babies complete most of the roll themselves rather than doing it for them as they need to use their own muscles to complete the move in order to learn it. Use a small prop such as a rattle to encourage the baby to roll towards it. It will also take a bit of practise for the baby to learn how to free their arm once they have rolled.

With the baby on their backs rock legs from one side to the to other, then try to encourage the baby to reach with their hands to alternative legs. Younger babies are naturally conditioned to keep their bodies in line, but from about 4 or 5 months babies should be encouraged to try segmented movement like this.

For babies that are already rolling

Use props to encourage the babies to roll from front to back, back to side and back to front.

What to do in a nursery setting

This exercise needs one to one interaction