Infant Play Activities
You just got home with your new bundle of joy and now you can feel the pressure of making sure you meet all of the demands of raising a child. Between all of the snuggles, feeding, and diaper changes, it is important to let your baby have some tummy time and play time. How do you play with a newborn? Below is a list of eight fun infant play activities you can easily do at home. But first, let us talk about why play is important.
Play is simple. You do not need to run to the store to get the latest and greatest marketing scam. When it comes to baby play, follow the rule of “less is more.” Your child does not need loud music toys, for that matter, any battery operated toy.
Babies learn about the world through all of their senses. When playing with babies think about how to make your child hear, touch, smell, see, or taste something new or different. When you engage their senses through talking, reading, singing, and playing, more neural connections form and development occurs.
Your care and undivided attention is required to ensure that your baby is safe, though these activities will give you a minute to enjoy a cup of coffee or just take a minute to breathe.
Infant Play Activities
The Sensory Bag
(Pictured Above) – This is a versatile activity that can be tailored to any age baby.
What you need: Gallon Ziploc bag and fillers such as water, ice, beans, and/or rice. What to do: Go crazy and use your imagination. Add something fun and colorful, such as pompoms, glitter, or beads. Make sure to avoid sharp objects that might pierce the bag or hurt little fingers. For 0-4 months, tape the bag down on the floor with durable tape (like duct tape) for tummy time. For a sitter or stander, tape the bag to the wall or door and have them play in sitting or standing.
Black & White Cards
What you need: White paper or card stock and a black sharpie. What to do: Draw shapes, stripes, and designs on the white cards. You can paste these cards on a tissue box or shoe box so they stand independently OR just prop them up for something interesting and engaging to look at during tummy time. Pro tip: You can download free templates from Pinterest and print them out! Or use any high contrast books that you have!
The Book Circle
What you need: Board books. What to do: In tummy time, place books around your baby in a semicircle. This is something fun and engaging to look at, It encourages visual tracking as well trunk and neck rotation.
Ribbons or Loofah Hanging from Play Gym
What you need: Ribbon or bath loofahs and a play gym. What to do: Tie colorful ribbons or loofahs to the play gym so they hang down right in front of the baby. They will have fun grabbing and swatting at these fun objects.
White Lights in a Box
What you need: A cardboard box, white lights, and a knife or screwdriver. What to do: Cut off one side of the box to create a nice open environment. Then use a knife or screw driver to make little holes in the top of the box. Finally, poke the lights through the top of the box. This is a very stimulating and engaging environment for your sweet baby.
What you need: A mirror and some toys. What to do: Babies LOVE looking at themselves! Place the mirror on the floor with some different toys and let your baby play on their tummy.
Balloon on the Foot/Hand
What you need: A helium balloon and string or ribbon. What to do: Tie the balloon to your baby’s foot or hand. Watch them kick and play and learn the very beginning stages of cause and effect.
Ducks in a Pan
What you need: A shallow plastic bin or cookie sheet, rubber ducks or other rubber bath toys, a play mat, and a towel. What to do: This is a great activity to extend tummy time. Your baby can splash in the water, grab at the ducks, and just have a great sensory experience. Close supervision required!
These fun infant play activities for babies will help make tummy time more enjoyable and increase how long they can stay on their stomach. This activity list creates a lot of sensory experiences and really fosters opportunities for growth and learning. And remember, keep it simple!