Development of Play: 24 Ways to Explore with your Baby
Help your baby develop by helping them explore and play. Here are two dozen different activities we and other kids activities bloggers have done with their infants to help connect and interact with them. Looking for something for the tots? Check out our post on Activities for One Year olds or our Baby Play board on Pintrest. There were so many great ideas!
Building Blocks are a versatile toy that will take you through babyhood into the preschool years. Newborns like to bat at the blocks, growing infants like to chew on them or bang them together. Crawling babies love to knock stacks over and tots like beginning to make piles/stacks.
Help your child experience different textures with a collection of brushes. We made a pair after reading the post by Make, Do and Friend and my 12m old loves being stroked. Consider making “wands” with feathers, ribbons, cotton balls and whatever other supplies you have around the house.
Play with mirrors. Babies love to watch themselves and other children interact with a mirror. This is a fun game for a one year old – it is so much fun watching them discover themselves.
Bath time can be a great time for interaction. Add blowing bubbles to their tub experience and lather on the lotion after your child has been dried off.
Play fetch. This is mu hubs favorite baby game. During tummy time put something on the edge of their reach for them to get, then, when they are crawling throw it so they can go get the item. When your child is a tot they will begin throwing items for you to go get.
Jiggle and Bounce. Babies love to be jiggled. Hold them up in the air or bounce them on your knees. It is sure to get a smile every time.
Infant Play Activities
Baby Sensory tubs are great place for discovery. Babies learn cause and effect as they interact with a variety of objects. Play with large dried pasta noodles.
Help your infant develop core muscles. Help them roll onto a ball, exercise with them by holding them against your legs as you do crunches/leg lifts.
Make a “chewable” sensory bin for your baby using old hair scrunchies. It was a one year old activity “hit”.
As infants learn about the world around them, they begin to play pretend. Have fun with your infant by feeding and being fed pretend foods.
Fingers and toes mesmerize small tots. Consider learning some finger plays to entertain your child.
Make music. Look in your recycle bin, look for any cardboard tubes, old formula cans, an empty tin, cover it and allow your children to explore sounds as they bang with a variety of objects.
Babies language development is rapidly growing even before they are able to make words. Help their vocabularies by singing rhymes with your infant.
Help your infant develop language skills through motor control over their tongue. Stick your tongue out at your newborn, they will start sticking it back at you. This was our infants first interactive “game”.
Explore textures with your child and a collection of scraps in a discovery box. The Imagination Tree has a wide variety of suggestions of things to put in your basket/box to keep it full of surprise for your child.
Infants and babies love to be surprised. Think of ways you can pleasantly surprise your child – you can come up behind them and give them a kiss, or peek your head out of a door at them. My infant loves to have us blow raspberries on his belly.
Help your baby develop fine motor skills and improve their pincher grasp as they pick up pom-poms and drop them down a tube. This will keep your tot engaged for awhile (at least it did mine).
Teach your child to differentiate with two separate types of items with this infant activity. In Learn with Play at Home, they had a collection of blocks vs balls for their baby to explore. You could do the same activity with animals vs cars or dolls.
Water. Do your babies love to splash? Mine do! Make water play a fun post-meal time game for your toddler. They help soak off the grime between their fingers and the crevices of the highchair all while learning about cause and effect.
Give lots of kisses! Nose kisses, butterfly kisses & raspberry kisses are some of my child’s favorite ways to be loved.
Babies love to learn how things work. In this busy kids activity, Give your child a box of straws and a colander. It is so much fun to watch them discover how to thread the straws through the holes of the colander.
Play chase with your baby. Young infants love it when you exaggerate your movements as you are coming towards them. Once your child is mobile chase them and then give them a hug when you “catch” them.
Help your child learn to identify body parts by touching their eyes, or nose, or toes and saying what they are. Help your child touch your body “parts” and identify them.
Activities for Kids:
Like this post but are looking for activities for other age groups of kids? Check out our other age sets:
Activities for One Year Olds
Activities for Two Year Olds
Activities for Three Year Olds
Activities for Four Year Olds
Activities for Five Year Olds