The days with a baby can feel mundane one moment and magical the next. Hidden inside the everyday activities are the momentous milestones or the grumpy minutes.
Filling every moment until bedtime can sometimes feel like scaling Mount Everest. For filling those times, or creating more of the magic and less of the mundane, we’ve put together our list of activities to do with babies at home.
Read on and you’ll find sensory activities for babies and things to do with babies that perhaps you hadn’t thought of before.
1. Explore textures with jelly
If you need to get on with things in the kitchen, and the baby is at post-weaning age, then pop them in a high chair with some different coloured jelly on the tray. Your baby will love squelching and squishing in this sensory activity for babies.
2. Give baby a massage
Whilst there are plenty of baby massage groups around the country which you can go to, there’s no need to confine baby massage to a class. Watch a few YouTube videos and then get down to some wonderful bonding time together.
3. Make and play with sensory bottles
Pop down to the high street in search of baby toys, and you’ll come home with a wallet considerably lighter. However, many favourite baby toys can be made at home, including sensory bottles which will keep your little one mesmerised.
4. Play with pompoms
Definitely one for careful supervision, but get some decent sized pompoms and a few toilet roll tubes then your baby will have lots of fun ‘posting’ and moving the pompoms from place to place.
5. Make salt dough hand and footprints
If you’re up for making memories then a simple and cheap way is to make some salt dough and have fun making hand and footprints. Your little one will enjoy exploring the texture of some spare dough.
6. Blow bubbles, and let baby pop them!
Bubbles and babies go together like a perfect jigsaw! Blow bubbles past your baby’s face and watch as they become elated trying to pop them.
7. Finger puppet play
A baby needs lots of communication before language development can really take off. A fun way to do this is pop on some finger puppets and make up a jaunty story of fun and wonder. Don’t worry, your baby doesn’t need you to be a thespian, and no one is watching!
8. Make and play with edible finger paint
That first piece of artwork is one to be cherished, but babies are fans of putting everything and anything in their mouth. Get around this and let them have some mucky painting time by making edible finger paint.
9. Have all-important tummy time
Perhaps one of the most important things to do with babies, especially when they are particularly young, is to have plenty of tummy time. Make this an activity in itself. If your baby is reluctant then pop them on your chest. Sing and chat, and soon your baby will be keen to push up and engage.
10. Play with rattles
It may have been done for hundreds of years before but that’s with good reason. Babies just love shaking things, the noisier the better! Make your own if you like.
11. Play peek-a-boo
There comes a stage when playing peek-a-boo is absolutely guaranteed to bring out the beaming gummy grins and giggles. Babies don’t have the same concept that you’re still there (even though you’re hidden) as older children, so are surprised and delighted time and again by this simple game.
12. Sing nursery rhymes
Again, you don’t need to be X-Factor worthy, your baby just delights in your voice. Uncover some old favourites such as Wind the Bobbin Up, or the Wheels on the Bus, and get going with the actions. Your baby will love you even if you can’t sing in tune!
13. Kick a balloon!
This is perhaps one of our favourite activities to do with babies that they just love but isn’t an old classic. Loosely tie helium balloons around their ankle with the balloon a couple of feet above. They will kick and jiggle and take huge joy from being in control of their own source of entertainment.
14. Let them explore a ‘treasure’ basket
Take a walk around your home and round up a bunch of baby-friendly household objects. Pop them all together in a basket and let your baby have a whale of a time exploring different textures and items which aren’t just plastic toys. Balled up socks, whisks and pine cones are all firm favourites. Don’t forget to supervise!
15. Do painting with trucks and cars
Babies are experts at getting mucky. They love it; they revel in it. Pop to a charity shop and buy some cheap plastic cars. Then use baby-safe paint and a huge sheet of paper and let them create some patterns with the wheels. Possibly one of our activities for babies to be followed by bath time!
16. Dance in the kitchen
Your baby just loves to be close to you, and dancing will release the endorphins you need to stave off the sluggishness of pulling a milky-all-nighter. Pop on your favourite tunes, and get bouncing around the kitchen. You’ll both soon feel better.
17. Play with sound toys
Sometimes you just can’t beat their favourite toys. For under-ones these are likely to be toys that light up, pop, ping and whizz and likely playing an adult-irritating tune.
18. Take a bath
Who says bath time has to be at bedtime? If your baby loves a bath and you know it’s a calming time then use it at other points when baby gets fractious. A change of scene and some splashing can do wonders for everyone’s mood.
19. Have a garden or lounge picnic
Babies love to explore. Sometimes they may even be a high chair refuser. Now the nicer weather is here, lay out a rug in the garden and present finger food in reach. If British summertime fails you, what’s stopping you from having a picnic in the lounge?
20. Pop them in a cardboard box!
No, we don’t think you should store them away until a day when they aren’t teething and don’t have colic. However, if you’ve had a delivery and got a cardboard box to hand you’ve a ready-made plaything that will make baby’s day. Pop them in it with a few favourite toys and watch them having fun whilst you enjoy a cuppa.
21. Read a book
Babies are never too young to be read to. Babies particularly love board books which have lots of different textures that they can touch and feel. Soon they’ll have their favourites, and the anticipation when you pull them out is palpable. Don’t forget to leave these favourites out for the babysitter so that you can go out and have a break.
22. Blow raspberries
Later in childhood you’ll be telling them not to, but for now nuzzle down to their gorgeously soft tummy and blow a raspberry. They will giggle and squeal, and fairly soon they’ll be doing it back with great delight.
23. Scrunch up paper
If you’ve watched a baby at presents giving, you’ll know that usually the paper holds more allure than the gift inside. Capitalise on this and give baby some scrunched up paper just for fun. Do watch them though – gummy sucks can cause the paper to fall apart so have new sheets on hand to replace with.
24. Look at photos
The human face is just wonderful for babies, particularly when it’s the face of the people they know and love. Look at family photos pointing out who people are and what they are doing.
25. Bake, and give them a spoon
If you enjoy cooking and baking, then get baby started early. They can ‘help’ with rolling, mixing or simply banging a pot next to you. Soon they will be your sous chef!
Things to do with babies at home needn’t be expensive or complicated. Now is the time to bask in low-key entertainment. Sensory activities for babies are particularly important as they explore their world. Have fun and keep going until bedtime, you’re doing a fantastic job.