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Original Issue

Doorway to freedom

The 7-month-old baby has reached the threshold to real independence—complete mobility. The move over the doorstep is accomplished first by motion in a single direction. But as the baby enters a new environment of multiple playthings and busy people, he must depend more and more on his ability to move over and under, toward, away from and around these obstacles. Exercises for the 7-month-old, as René Pouteau shows (above), are designed to boost the baby's interest and ingenuity alike by adding new dimensions of skill to the strengthening process (SI, May 2 et seq.).

Handstand on shins gives baby his first introduction to uncertain support, puts shoulder muscles to new test. Baby's straight back indicates his readiness for more.

The arch stretches abdominal muscles and improves flexibility of back. Baby soon learns to do this exercise by himself.

Cantilever aids abdominal muscles, helps to develop strength in thighs and knees, a vital safety factor for sports.