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Babies are adorable! They’re squishy and squeely, smiley and babbly. But what can you do with your baby all day long? Some days, it can feel like we’re just staring at each other, nursing, then staring at each other some more. But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can get out of that rut, and play with your baby!
Here are my top 15 ways I play with my babe:
- Dance- This is great for any age baby. If they’re too little to sit or stand on their own you can move their arms and legs around on the ground, or simply hold them in your arms and dance around the room to different tempos of music. If they are old enough to sit or stand on their own, you can still help move their arms and legs, but allow them to get moving on their own as well! Toddlers love joining in on this one!
- Have a conversation- Babies love to listen to you talk. Talk in higher and lower pitch voices and at different speeds to really engage them. Not only is it entertaining, but it’s helping to develop language skills as well!
- Tummy Time- Now that Mayla is 10 months, we don’t really do this one, but for those of you with younger babes, this is key. Some babies love it, others don’t, but it’s so important to help engage their muscles. If your babe doesn’t like tummy time, try singing, reading, or conversing with them as they lay there.
- Read a Book- This one may sound obvious, but reading is so important. No, they won’t understand all the words or be able to follow along, but it helps them develop so many skills such as language skills, cognitive thinking skills, and enhances memory. Set them up for success now! Plus, they’re sure to love the colorful illustrations! Have a really young baby? Grab a book with bold black, white, and red illustrations as that’s what they can see best!
- Go for a Walk- Going for walks is another easy way to “play” with your baby. The fresh air, nature sounds, and smells are good for both of you. Every time we’re having a fussy day, if we walk outside, tensions instantly relax.
- Rattles- Babies love rattles. Try shaking it on one side of their head to get them to turn in that direction. Try again on the other side. For slightly older babies, you can even try behind them and at different angles to help them become aware of where sounds are coming from.
- Box Play- One of my favorite activities is using an old tissue box and putting different items inside. Kiddos love taking out and putting things back in. It also helps them start to learn about cause and effect. Better yet, use items in your box with different textures to help them learn about their sense of touch.
- Sensory Boards- Like the textures we talked about above, use a piece of wood (or something of the sort) and glue on items with different textures. You can go to a carpet store and get samples of different textures of carpet, use different grades of sandpaper, different tiles, etc. to create the perfect sensory board for a babe. Not sure where to start? Believe it or not, somewhere like Home Depot or Lowes is where I got most of our items, but you also may just have them lying around at home!
- Imitation Games- Babies are observing everything. Make faces or sounds at your baby and see if they can mimic you. Another favorite of mine is getting out pots and pans or tupperware and hitting it with spoons. My babe loves to try to also make “music” like mommy by imitating the hits on the pans.
- Blow Bubbles- This is a fun one that my toddler can help with. Bubbles are cool looking. I think so, my toddler thinks so, and guess what, my baby thinks so also! They’re cheap to buy or you can make them yourself. Blow them around your babe and watch their eyes light up as they try to grab them, only to realize they pop once you touch them! You’re like a magician to a baby!
- Water Beads- I’m all about sensory play. There’s so much research to back up the benefits of this type of play with babies. Water beads are another favorite of ours because our toddler loves them. Where my toddler can play with them just in a bowl, my 10 month old puts EVERYTHING in her mouth. For her, I put the beads into a ziploc bag (now that she’s older and smarter, I even double the bag up). She loves to maneuver and push the beads around inside the bag.
- Finger Paint- Like I said above, my babe puts EVERYTHING in her mouth. Finger painting with real paint wasn’t a great idea for us, but boy does my little girl love to eat! Strip your babe down, stick them in their high chair and put some baby food puree on the tray. It’s so much fun for them to “paint” all over their tray, and because it’s baby food, mama doesn’t have to worry if baby stops for a mid-play finger snack. Depending on how messy your babe is, this one may require a bath, but that ok because….
- Give them a Bath- I know some kids like these more than others. Both of my girls adored bath time. I love taking a wash cloth, filling it with water, then squeezing it out on their tummies, close and then far away. They love to watch the water as it falls. Once they get slighter older, they can even play with bath toys like rubber ducks, or bath gears that are safe to chew on as they get nice and clean. I also like to give my girls tummy rubs and sing to them in the bath to help get them nice and relaxed before bedtime.
- Follow the Leader/Chase- Once your babe can crawl, this is a really fun one. Get down on your babes level then crawl away, slowly enough that they can semi-keep up. My sweet girl loves to follow us around the house like this. Then, once she starts crawling a different direction, we crawl-chase her. She loves trying to “get away,” but loves being caught because that means extra tickles!
- Peek-a-Boo/Patty Cake/Nursery Rhymes- Games like Peek-a-Boo and Patty Cake, as well as other nursery rhymes are great at this age and as they grow. Not only are you helping develop things like cause and effect and language skills, but it’s just another way to engage them in some simple, fun play.
There ya have it! These are my most favorite ways to play with my babes. Some of them may not seem like play to you, but trust me, once you see your baby laughing, cooing, and engaging with you while doing some of these simple activities, you’ll thank me! Some can obviously be done while they’re younger and others, you may have to wait until they’re a little older, but all are easy ways to engage and play with your baby.
That’s all folks! What are some fun and easy ways you engage in play with your little one? Let me know in the comments! And as always, follow Motherhood Unmastered on Instagram for the latest and greatest!
All my love,