Fun Activities to Do with Your Baby
As a parent, you are probably aware that playing with your baby is vital, because it doesn’t just involve the fun factor, but is also educational and a perfect bonding opportunity for parents and babies. But, most parents think that they can engage in fun activities with their baby only after they reach a certain age. The fact is that, you can start with the activities right from their newborn stage.
Several researches have proven that babies, right from birth till age three, grow physically, socially, psychologically, emotionally, verbally, and cognitively, and rapidly at that. It is during this critical phase that you can help your baby reach his/her full developmental potential by providing them an invigorating environment.
Will you need fancy materials for these activities? Well, you have most of the materials on hand – your body, your hands, and your face. Yes, you are the best toy your baby could have, so all you need to do is learn some ideas from here, collect a few easily available materials, and start having fun.
Newborn to Three Months
The things that newborn babies do most of the time are sleep, cry, and eat. But, there will be times when they don’t do any of the above and are just there in their bassinet all cute and adorable. What do you do during those times? Here are some fun activities you could do with your baby, from newborn to three months old:
Your baby knows to respond to touch soon after he/she is born. So, one of the first, easiest and best activities you could do with your newborn is give them a soothing massage.
For this, you will need: baby massage oil and a towel.
- Remove all your baby’s clothes.
- Spread a towel (or any other clean cloth or blanket) on a soft surface.
- Pour a few drops of the oil into your palm and warm it up by rubbing your hands together.
- Very gently massage your baby everywhere, turn him/her over and repeat the process. Use more oil if required.
No matter what oil you choose to use, the ones specifically meant for babies or food-grade coconut or olive oil, test for allergies by applying a few drops on a small spot before going ahead with a massage.
It has been found by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that infants sleeping on their back will help bring down the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, they also recommend that babies get a lot of tummy time when they are awake.
You will need: a blanket.
- Spread the blanket on the floor or on your bed.
- Gently place your baby on his/her belly.
- For the first few days, lie down with them and smile and talk to them to keep them engaged and encouraged.
- Start with three to five minutes of tummy time, twice or thrice a day.
- As your baby grows older, place a few books and toys in front of them so they can look at the bright colors and can eventually try reaching and crawling over to them.
Who needs music instruments when you have your mouth! Babies love to hear different sounds; so, put your mouth to use to amuse your little one.
You will need: just your mouth.
- Place your baby in a position where he/she is facing you, either on your lap, on the bed, on the infant seat, or on the floor.
- Make different noises, such as: tongue clicking, kissing, singing, whistling, blowing raspberries, squealing, making animal sounds, and any other sound you can think of.
- You can also use toy musical instruments to make sounds. However, make sure that the sound isn’t too loud.
Three to Six Months
Here is yet another easy fun activity to do with your baby any time of the day. Added bonus: you don’t have to be an expert singer.
You will need: knowledge of a few fun songs or rhymes.
- Place your baby in a comfortable position, close enough to hear your voice clearly, facing you.
- Go for a fun and familiar song and change the lyrics adding your baby’s name wherever possible. For instance, if you choose “Johny Johny Yes Papa”, replace the name with that of your baby.
- Use as much of your baby’s name as possible in all the songs you sing.
During this age, your baby will try and start laughing, and there could be nothing better than hearing your little one laugh. You can add to his/her laughter by noticing what he/she finds funny and repeating the same. This is a great way to develop your baby’s sense of humor.
You will need: easily available household items like sunglasses, hats, mirror, etc.
- Change your look using the different props you have on hand, like your sunglasses, hat, etc. and let your baby see your new look and have a laugh.
- Use the same props on your baby in front of a mirror and laugh with them.
Movers and Shakers
Since your baby will now be moving their hands and legs a lot, this is your chance to make it fun by turning their movements into music and sound.
You will need: fabric-covered elastic bands (like mittens and socks), tiny rattles, bells, etc., needle and thread. Even better, you can buy readymade infant rattle gloves and socks.
- If you’re not buying the readymade ones, sew the small rattles and bells to the exterior of the elastic bands.
- Lay your little one on the bed, on their bouncer, or any place comfortable.
- Wear the bands onto their hands and legs.
- Let your baby move his/her hands and kick their legs and watch them listen to the sounds. As days pass, they will move their arms and legs intentionally just to hear the sounds.
Six to Nine Months
Now that your little one has become stronger, activities like this one let you help develop their fine motor skills as well as inject happiness and security in them.
You will need: your leg and a towel.
- Place the towel on one of your thighs to make it comfortable for your baby to sit.
- Now seat your baby on the towel facing toward you.
- Hold your baby lightly by his/her fingers and balance them on your leg. Then, move your leg around very slowly.
- Let go of one hand after the other, all while properly balancing your baby, in position to catch them in case of need.
This is a great activity to develop your baby’s sensory, listening, and communication skills, and also teaches them to be creative.
You will need: a white or light-colored knit glove and a permanent marker pen.
- Use the permanent marker to draw funny faces on each fingertip of the glove. It would be even better if you have each of those faces represent one family member, like dad, mom, brother, sister, the baby, etc.
- Wear the glove and entertain your baby with your very own puppet show. You can sing the Finger Family Song or make up one of your own.
Baby (Wheels) on the Bus
Remember that famous kids’ song? Now you have the chance to sing it to your baby while having some fun.
You will need: a soft towel or blanket.
- Lay your baby on his/her back on the towel or blanket.
- Sing the song “the wheels on the bus go round and round” and perform the following actions:
- Move your baby’s legs in bicycling motion when you sing the first four lines.
- When you get to the line, “the people on the bus go up and down”, move your baby’s hands up and down.
- For the line, “the wipers on the bus go swish swish swish”, roll the little one from one side to the other.
- And for the “beep beep beep” phrase, touch their nose.
Nine to Twelve Months
During this time when your baby begins to talk (or try to talk), it is important that you stimulate talking in every way you can to develop and improve their communication and listening skills.
You will need: a video camera or a smartphone.
- Place your baby securely in his/her infant chair or bouncer and sit down next to them.
- Set the “Record” function on your video camera or smartphone and start talking to your baby. Make different sounds, ask them questions, and also make some silly talks. Your goal here is to make your baby respond to you.
- In between your sentences, give some time for your little one to respond.
- Once there is enough footage of you two babbling, stop the recording and play it back for your little one to see.
This is a simple game that will help your baby learn about their body parts. You can either find a suitable song to sing, make your own song, or just use your words.
You will need: Baby seat or blanket.
- Seat your little one in his/her baby seat or on a blanket on the floor and sit opposite to them.
- If you are using a song, move your baby’s hand or finger to the relevant body part as you sing the song. If not, do the same while pointing out the parts using words.
- You can also use flash cards with body parts and teach them to point to the respective part on their body.
Babies love different textures and to touch and squish anything and everything. This would be a fun way to let your little one engage his/her senses.
You will need: High chair or booster seat with tray and cooked spaghetti.
- Seat your baby in their booster seat or high chair and position the tray.
- First, make sure the cooked spaghetti (without any sauce) is in room temperature and then drop some on the tray.
- Just watch what your baby does with the spaghetti. Do not stop them from playing around with it. Let them pick it up, squish it, and put it in their mouth.
- Stop them only when they try to throw the spaghetti on the ground or away from the tray and make them place it on the tray again.
Twelve to Eighteen Months
Yes, now is the perfect time to have that much awaited dance party with your little one. After all, all babies have rhythm; all you have to do is crank up some peppy music and kindle the dancer in them.
You will need: sufficient space for dancing and lively music.
- Select a few lively music. Make sure your list includes different genres, from rock and roll to hip-hop and more.
- Select a spacious area where there are no hurdles on the way and bring your baby to the middle of the space. Now, turn on the music and allow him/her to dance any way they desire, in their own pace and rhythm.
- Change the music every now and then and notice how your baby changes his dancing style according to the new rhythm.
- Switch on your goofy side and enjoy making fun memories with your baby.
Your kitchen is a great place to teach your kid a lot of different skills, from motor skills to language development and more. So, why not start with his/her first every baking experience?
You will need: readymade or pre-made cookie dough, flour, rolling pin, cookie sheet, cookie cutter, sprinkles, and oven.
- Flour your kitchen working surface and roll out the cookie dough. Allow your baby to do some rolling too and help them with the same.
- Show your baby how to use the cookie cutter to cut the rolled-out dough and let him/her cut a few.
- Show him/her how to place the cut-out dough on the cookie sheet.
- Now, choose a sprinkle of your baby’s choice and allow them to decorate the cookies on the sheet.
- Bake the cookies in the oven following the package instructions, if store bought, or like you usually do, and allow the cookies to cool.
- Enjoy the finished product with a glass of milk along with your kid.
Playing basketball with your baby is an extraordinary way to develop your baby’s hand-eye coordination and also improves their gross motor skills. So, start practicing basketball with your little one from this age; after all, you never know where the practice may lead!
You will need: a large, lightweight ball, a large tub, basket, or box that can easily accommodate the ball, and ample space.
- Choose a spacious area, inside or outside your house, and place the large basket or box against a wall.
- Stand about a foot away from the box along with your baby and hand the ball over to him/her.
- Encourage him/her to try to throw the ball into the box or basket.
- If your little one is able to basket the ball easily, increase the standing distance a bit more; on the other hand, if he/she finds it hard to basket, get a little closer to the basket.
Eighteen to Twenty-Four Months
Something as simple as a sandbox can keep your toddler happy and occupied for a long time. So, here is an excellent activity for your little bud.
You will need: a large carboard or wooden box (or you can buy one of those readymade sand pits or sand tables), fine sand, some water, sand toys, plastic scoops, spoons, and similar items.
- Set up the wooden box or the sand pit or sand table in your yard and fill it with sand at a depth of at least one foot.
- Throw in the sand toys, spoons, and other items along with a small bucket of water.
- Let your toddler have fun exploring “the beach”, and learn new things using their imagination and different tools.
Very soon, your little one will be writing and drawing; but, the start to achieving that feat is letting him/her scribble on their own.
You will need: large white sheets of paper, large washable markers, and table.
- Place the white sheets and markers on a table and seat your toddler there.
- Sit next to your toddler and together scribble on the paper with the markers. Encourage your little bud to scribble as per their wish and ask them to describe their art.
- Avoid making specific shapes or curves for them to copy. What you need is for them to use their imagination.
- As they learn to hold the pen properly, their scribbles will become perceptible.
Home Movie Theater
Now that your baby has reached this age, he/she is now capable of enjoying full-length movies. So, why not set up a movie theater at home and enjoy some popcorn time together?
You will need: portable projector, projector screen, movies of choice, and popcorn.
- Set up the projector in one of the rooms. Of course, you can use your TV as well. However, a projector will give you more of a theater-like experience.
- Discuss with your toddler the movie they wish to see and get it ready.
- Take with you a lot of popcorn, drinks, and a few other snacks, settle down, cozy up, and enjoy movie time with your little date.
Twenty-Four to Thirty-Six Months
How about induce some creativity and imagination in your toddler while improving their gross motor skills?
You will need: stuffed toys and construction toys or blocks.
- Ask your toddler to choose two of his/her favorite stuffed toys.
- Give them the project of building a home for those toys using their construction toys or blocks.
- Encourage them to create as many living spaces as possible.
- Once done, play with their stuffed toys in their new home.
This is one of the most special activities you get to do with your kid, as it involves everything he/she likes as well as him/herself.
You will need: a sketch book, photos of your toddler and those in your family, pictures of your pet, few of your kid’s artwork, pen, and glue.
- As mentioned, gather all photos and pictures of everything that is valuable to your toddler; this includes photos of him/herself and your family members, photos of your pets, his/her artwork, pictures of their favorite animals, etc.
- Glue each of those pictures on different pages of the sketch book.
- While sticking each picture, ask your kid what he/she likes about the person or thing, and note down that information using the pen on the bottom area of each page.
- This will be your little one’s personal handmade album or book that is a collection of everything significant in his/her life at this stage, and therefore will make amazing memorabilia.
Your little one is capable of doing and achieving great things, and making sure that he/she known about the same will be a huge confidence booster.
You will need: books, pictures, or videos of kids doing different things.
- Before you start with this activity, make sure you select many pictures or videos of kids doing those activities that your toddler knows how to do, to prevent him/her from feeling like they don’t know or can’t do anything.
- Look at the pictures or watch the videos along with your kid and ask him/her if they can do what they just saw.
- Let them demonstrate the same if they like.
- If there are activities that your kid says he/she cannot do, as for the reason. Discuss with them the possibilities of doing those things and that you can teach or help them do the same.