baby with push-toy in grass

Explore the space in front.

Baby drags push-toy behind her when walking.

Explore the space behind.

toddler pushes toy near edges of a wall

Explore the edges of the space.

A baby plays on the grass at a park and bends her ankles more because of the uneven terrain.

Navigate the uneven terrain.


When babies play with push-toys it develops their awareness of the space immediately around them.  By focusing their attention on the moving object at the end of a stick they train their focus to be a bit further in front or behind them.  This skill is important for baby safety because it trains the child to notice when a stair in coming up in front of them or if a toy is lying in their path that might cause a fall.  This awareness is key for developing advanced skills later such as riding a bicycle.  When riding a bicycle a child must keep constant attention on the space in front of them (where they are going) as well as the space around them (so no one runs into them).  Baby develops a clearer sense of the space around them as they also discover the edges of the space.  The edges define the space.


Exploring space both inside the home and outside, at a park for example, develop strength in muscles as well as spatial awareness.  The uneven terrain at a park requires more movement of the joints and more strength in the muscles to navigate.  A gradual sloping hill, an edge of a sidewalk next to the grass, a stair, or a metal plate are examples of changes in the terrain that a baby may encounter in an outside play environment.  Each of these requires more demand on the muscles and joints to change the level (on a hill or a stair) or to move from one texture to another (sidewalk to grass).  The open space at a park invites baby to travel a lot and explore which is wonderful motor skill development.




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