WHAT IS REACHING?
Reaching is one of the first skills where your little one intentionally engages with their environment. It generally happens around 4-5 months but can happen as early as 3 months.
A few things have to happen for your little one to successfully and intentionally reach:
- They have to see something that interests them
- They have to move their hand (or foot) towards the item which involves being able to lift their arm (or leg) against gravity.
That means they have to have the strength in their muscles to reach. In the beginning, their reaching isn’t very accurate because they haven’t yet developed the control to be precise, but this improves over time with practice.
HOW OTTEROO HELPS YOUR BABY PRACTICE REACHING (MUCH EARLIER)
REDUCED GRAVITY: By using the Otteroo, you are making it easier for your little one to practice reaching earlier. Because they are in the water, they are able to take advantage of the buoyancy and eliminate some of the effects of gravity!
FLOATING OBJECTS & OPPORTUNITIES FOR MORE FEEDBACK: By having objects that float in the water with them they can begin to engage with the object sooner. For instance, in the beginning it may not be intentional but if they have an item floating in the water with them and they come into contact with it as they are moving their arms (or legs) in the water, they are getting feedback from it. If it makes noise even better!
If they come in contact with it more, they will continue to get the feedback so they will begin to intentionally try to find it so they can have the desired feedback. If it’s something they can grasp onto then they will learn that they can grab an object.
Each of these interactions encourages more repetition (aka practice) which develops their strength and control.
ACCESS TO DIFFERENT REACHING POSITIONS: In the Otteroo they also have the benefit of being able to float on their back or their belly which changes how they are reaching. On land, reaching on the belly takes longer because they have to be able to support and shift their weight to free up their hand. In the water, they can just practice the reaching in different positions.
They will still need to gain the strength and stability on land, but they will have already built the desire to reach and interact with their environment as well as practiced control and precision!
Depending on what you want, you can use this concept to let them just have fun and explore, or you can begin to do more purposeful play with them. Stay tuned for some more ideas for purposeful play!