a baby plays with her hand on her foot

Donna Eshelman shows baby how to bring her feet together.

A baby plays a developmental activity of clapping her feet.

A teacher shows baby a game with clapping her feet.


One of the most important motor skill connections in the development of a baby is the discovery of touching the feet with the hands.  Usually baby first learns to touch her right foot with her right hand and left foot with left hand.  Later, she discovers how to reach across her midline (the line diving her body in half between right and left sides) and touch her right hand to her left foot or her left hand to her right foot.  She will enjoy this new skill and hold her foot and move it around.  Sometimes she will grasp one foot with both hands as she bends and straightens her leg.


You can entertain baby with some developmental play by clapping her feet together.  When you bring the feet together with a clap, make a funny sound the moment the feet touch.  You can also make a facial expression such as a big smile with wide eyes to show her this is an important moment when the feet touch.  This means that you will communicate the importance of the moment the feet touch through many senses–through touch with your hands, hearing with your voice, and sight with your facial expressions.  Baby will be both intrigued and amused.  This is a new sensation–bringing both feet together in the air.  Touch the feet together, then OPEN and CLOSE the feet.  Soon you can involve her hands and place one hand on one foot as you play this game.  Continue making sounds and facial expressions as you touch her hand to her foot.  This brings her attention to her hands and feet and increases her proprioception of these body parts.  Although she may not clap her feet together herself, she may explore the contact of her hands to her feet.  When you have no toys with you, this is a wonderful activity for baby play.

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