Rolling and crawling give babies their first taste of having the independence to explore their environment and choose their own activities. Keep reading to find out how the skills for rolling and crawling emerge, and what games you could play to encourage skill development.

Building blocks for rolling

Learning to control the head in a prone position

Simple rolling

Learning to rotate the trunk with increasing upper body strength and body awareness

Advanced rolling

Moving into more advanced rolling, requiring different gross motor skills and locomotor abilities


  • Rocking from side to side while laying on the back

    Babies have an innate tendency to rock from side to side until this becomes a roll onto the tummy.

  • Learning to control the head in a prone position (on the tummy)

  • Growing body awareness and the growing understanding of how body parts relate to each other

  • Core stability – having the tummy muscles and strength to successfully complete a roll

  • Rolling from front to back

  • Rolling from back to front

  • Time spent balancing on the side between rolling from front to back or back to front

  • Rolling from back to front and front to back becoming more ‘controlled’

    At this stage, rolling is deliberate rather than accidental.

  • Sequence from lying on the floor to sitting up by rolling


See what activities can help to support this core skill.

See Activities