With everything going on in the world at the moment many of us are spending more time keeping safe at home. With little ones in the mix, there are so many fun and educational activities to be had - but sometimes it's a little overwhelming with where to start.
Here at Bubnest HQ we have been loving all the extra time with our bubs and wanted to share with our beautiful Bubnest community some of the fun, play based and developmentally appropriate activities that our little ones love!
0 - 3 Months
Although your little one is only new to this world, there is so much they begin learning once they enter the outside world. The best way to connect with your baby when they are so young is by engaging their senses - touch, sight, smell and hearing. Keep in mind that your newborn baby can't see colours just yet, and that they are very near sighted. At around 3 months of age they will begin to reach out and have more muscle control, prior to this newborns are very wobbly with their movements. They also may have delayed responses to sounds or actions, or they may not even respond much at all so don't be disheartened by this - you're doing an amazing job just being there for your baby!
- Tummy Time - position your little one on their tummy and shake a soft toy or baby rattle in front of their face. So great for building strong upper body muscles!
- Baby Wearing - pop your little one in the carrier (make sure it's suitable for little ones under 3 months of age) and wear them around! Skin to skin and being so close is so beneficial for their development.
- Dancing - you can do this using gentle motions whilst baby wearing
- Singing - nursery rhymes or putting on your favourite music are both perfect for this! It's comforting and is great for bub to start learning the difference between a variety of voices and sounds.
- Activity Gyms - pop your little one down on a playmat, or padded surface, with an activity gym above them. This is so great for their visual attention and hand-eye co-ordination.
- Taking in the environment - carry your little one around and just talk to them, show and tell them what is happening around them - such as the birds signing in the trees or their brother playing with his toy car
- Peek-a-boo - with a soft, gentle and breathable fabric (such as a scarf), gently tickle it over your babies head and then pull it away saying 'Peek-a-boo'
3 - 6 Months
Between this age group your baby is still so little, however they aren't so new and they are much more physical and alert. Perhaps they have learnt to roll around, or even start manoeuvring themselves by pushing and pulling. Many babies will be babbling, can see colours and objects much further away, will be able to sit up and are becoming increasingly busy. They will also be learning alot through using their senses and observing their environment.
- Reading, Singing and Talking - soft books, nursery rhymes, putting your favourite (and appropriate) songs on and of course just chatting with bub about things that are happening and what you're going to do together. These activities have proven to promote acquisition of sounds, words and language along with social and communication skills
- Upright Play and Supported Sitting - whilst your baby is learning how to sit it's great to sit them on your knee, or in your lap, and place toys around them and close by for them to reach and grab and play with!
- Outdoors in Nature - so simple, but such a wholesome activity for your little one. Let them explore the different texture of grass, listen to the birds sing, watch the trees sway in the breeze
- Messy Play - you can DIY your own Baby-Safe Finger Paint and Edible Play Dough - how awesome is that?! Your bub can get creative whilst having a full sensory experience and working on their fine motor skills
- Bubbles - all babies LOVE bubbles! You can lay baby on their back, tummy, or sit them up (if they've mastered this skill) and blow bubbles around them, close enough for them to reach out and pop.
- Action rhymes - Rhymes such as Round and Round the Garden or Row Row Row your Boat are great fun and good for sensory input
- Tickles - most babies LOVE being tickled. You can tickle under their chin, their feet, and blow raspberries on their belly too! Sneaking up to them gently and making the activity more suspenseful adds an extra layer of fun and laughter
Now your little one has surpassed half a year. Wow - they are growing up fast! By now your bub can firmly grasp and hold items, is beginning to learn spacial awareness, and loves exploring. Some babies are busy crawling around, standing and cruising furniture, know how to use verbal and action cues to request what they'd like, and are far more alert. These are quite big milestones so always remember to encourage bub with lots of positive comments, big facial movements and by cheering and clapping. Other babies are still really chill at this age, they aren't too interested in moving too fast, and they'd prefer to watch the world go by.
- Photos - a great way for you both to connect with loves ones during a time where we can't physically be with them all. Show your bub a variety of photos and tell them who each person is in them as well as explain a little about that person and what's happening in the photograph
- Pots and Pans - let's get noisy! Don't be afraid to give your little one the wooden spoon to hold and pots and pans to bang (preferably older ones as they may get some dents)
- Hide and Seek - crouch down behind the couch, table or behind a chair and call out for your baby to find you. Once you see them close carefully jump out and go 'boo'
- Aeroplane - gently hold your baby up above your head, looking at them, and make zooming flying sounds - you can also play this whilst carefully 'zooming' around the house
- Block stacking - your baby now has the ability to grasp items and a good amount of hand - eye coordination skills to stack large blocks on top of each other. You can sing 'build them up, build them up, build them higher' and then have fun by knocking the tower down!
- Obstacle Course - create a fun, gross motor skill building, obstacle course. You can do this by putting together safe items to climb over, under and through. You can use boxes to crawl through, pillows to climb over.
- Water Play - either in the bath, in a bucket, or at a water play table! This is a fun way to spend an hour or two. You can add bubbles, food dye, toys, ice and even glitter to the water to make it exciting. Just remember to ALWAYS supervise your little ones when they are in, around, or playing with water
- Copy Me - sing action rhymes and encourage your baby to follow the cues. Songs such as Open, Shut Them or Twinkle Twinkle are great fun and easy to start with
Almost a 1 year old! Your baby may be walking, or close to it, by this age, as well as saying their first words. They'll enjoy singing along with you and will have really mastered alot of the actions they're familiar with. Exploring is something else they will love doing and climbing might be a fun new skill they are trying to master! Messy play and arts and crafts are also fantastic fun activities for their fine motor, sensory, social/emotional and communication skills. Puzzle games are also important for cognitive skills.
- Posting Letters - cut a long and narrow horizontal hole in the top of a shoe box. Cut out pieces of paper (or coloured cardboard) that will fit through the hole and encourage your little one to post them
- Simple Peg Puzzles, Shape Sorters and Stackers - these are great games you can buy from the shops that encourage development of fine motor and cognitive skills
- Fill it Up - get a small box that your little one can carry/hold and place safe items from around the house, or toys, inside it. Let your little one take them in and out and arrange or rearrange them
- Box play - use a box to create a Car or a Bus, perhaps even a Castle your little one and you can have fun with!
- Blanket Cubby House - use blankets from around the house and create a cubby house where your baby can hide in. Make one big enough for you both to lay down in whilst you read or play games together
- Making Music - use items around your home to create musical instruments. An empty bucket turned upside down is great for a drum and you can even make DIY rainsticks
- Ball Games - using a medium sized soft ball you can gently roll, throw or kick the ball to your baby. Encourage them to do the same action back! Don't expect them to have great hand eye co-ordination just yet, but remember the more your practice the more they will learn
- Chase and Tickle - you can play chase with your bub, even pretend to be a crocodile and that you are going to catch them and 'eat them all up'. Loads of fun and laughter to be had!
- Mud Play - with DIY Baby safe (and edible) Mud. Endless hours of fun and if your baby puts EVERYTHING in their mouth - at least you know this is a little more tasty for them