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Creating new engaging activities for your baby may be challenging, but that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. There are plenty of amazing baby play ideas that don’t come in a subscription box and are extremely beneficial for your baby’s development. Plus, you may already have a lot of these items sitting around your house, so no need to run out and buy anything right away. These are simple yet fun play ideas that are amazing for a baby’s development and fun for you too.
All you need for this play idea that is great for baby’s development, is a handful of medium to large-sized magnets and a baking sheet. Please pick your magnets carefully and make sure that the magnets don’t have small removable parts. Find different sized magnets that have varying colors, designs, and shapes. If you have magnets that include water or a glitter element, that’s even better! Try to incorporate as many options as possible as that is best for your baby’s development.
Once you’ve chosen your magnets, stick them to the baking sheet and introduce them to your baby. Show them how to pull the magnets off the baking sheet, slide down up and sideways, and how they don’t fall off. Knock on the magnets, click them together, bang them on the baking sheet to introduce sound, etc. If you have a magnetic fridge or other appliance you can use that as well, but a baking sheet is perfect for babies who cannot sit independently yet.
Hide n’ Seek for Baby’s Development
There is the hide n’ seek you play as a child and as you got older you got better at hiding spots and finding the person hiding quicker. You can also play hide n’ seek with a baby, which is a simple yet great activity for your baby’s development. There are two simple ways to play, by either hiding yourself behind something or hiding an object behind your back or something else, it is great to change it up as well. Out of sight out of mind is all your baby needs for this activity to be engaging.
It is great to start off hiding behind a simple swaddle or small blanket and slowly reveal your face, eventually as your baby gets older, they will pull down the blanket to find you. You can also hide a small toy in your hand or behind your back and watch your baby look for it, as they get older you can hide behind a piece of furniture and even your baby so they have to turn to find you.
Button, Button, Who’s got the button?! This simple childhood game has actually been around since the 1800s and can be made into the perfect play idea for a baby’s development. The original game involves two teams across from each other and the captain passes the button to someone on their team and the other team has to guess who has it in their hand. This is obviously a bit too much for the younger babies, so you need to modify it to fit the age of your baby.
Start off by showing your baby the button and then switch hands and try to get them to guess which one it is in. Ask them to show or point to which hand it is in and when they get it right, be overly excited. This will help keep the momentum going and keep them engaged. Remember, that with any of these play ideas for your baby’s development each activity may only last a few minutes before your baby loses interest. No need to keep pushing your baby as they may be ready for another activity in less time than you think.
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Ice soup is exactly what it sounds like and although may sound boring to you, this simple yet interactive play idea is amazing for a baby’s development. Take a large container or bowl that is shallow (think plastic containers, bowls, or even a muffin tin) and fill it with water and ice. You can add food coloring to the water for extra pizzaz, color variety is great for baby’s development!
Then provide your child with items to help transfer the ice, such as smaller containers, cups, slated spoons, etc. This activity is best done, outside on a hot day as the water will be very chilly and your baby is sure to get it everywhere, including all over themselves.
One of the best things about a baby is that you actually do not need a ton of toys or gimmicky items to keep them happy or aid in a baby’s development. Furthermore, you can find so much stuff you already have in your house that makes it perfect for play and a baby’s development.
This is a favorite activity that literally just takes you walking around your house to find the perfect items to fill their treasure basket. Think of it like this, what is something your baby grabs for or has an interest in but is not a toy? You only need 4-5 items for each basket so your baby doesn’t get overwhelmed with too many options at once.
Here are some perfect examples, just make sure they are age appropriate for your child:
- Plastic straw
- Various small plastic containers
- Plastic and wooden spoons
- Kid utensils
- Paper plates
- Plastic cups
- Baby Toothbrush
- Empty bottles
- Tissue box with a few tissues to pull out
- Random Items:
- Baby books
- Small plush toys
No need to overthink this one, just make sure the items you choose are kid-friendly and an appropriate size for their age!
Okay, this one is the messiest activity by far, but also one of the most fun and great for your baby’s development. Ideally, do this on a warmer day where your baby can be outside in just a diaper. It is easiest to start with finger paints (you don’t have to buy special finger paints if you don’t want to) and place a few colors on a paper plate and sit baby in a cardboard box or on a large piece of paper and let your baby go wild with the paint! If you can, try to not limit what your baby can do with the paints, just make sure all paint is washable, and plan on a bath right after this activity.
Read More: Best Educational Baby Toys
Shake It Up
Baby’s love to shake things and make noise, hence why rattles have been on the market for decades. It is surprisingly simple to make your own homemade rattles that create different sounds, shapes, and stimulation for your baby’s development.
Items you need:
- Empty containers (water bottle, tin can, plastic eggs, etc.)
- Fillers (uncooked rice, dried beans, dry cereal, etc.)
Simply fill each container with a different filler (feel free to mix and match fillers for extra variety) and tape very well. Give it to your baby and enjoy their little smiles and giggles!
Fun with Felt
As you are holding your baby and trying to accomplish a task, your baby is most likely grabbing at your hair, earrings, basically everything and anything within their grasp. Although this can be annoying at times for the parents, it is critical for the baby’s development as they are learning to grab, pick up and use their fine motor skills.
There are multiple ways you can have fun with felt with your baby, if your baby is under a year, a felt necklace they can take apart is perfect for their little fingers and your baby’s development. Luckily this is a relatively easy thing for you to make on your own, even if you are not super handy. Hands-on as we grow, has a great easy-to-follow guide on how to make your own felt necklace at home.
Crinkle and Crush
Baby’s love random sounds and even better when they can produce sounds themselves, which is why crinkle and crush toys are a hit and great for a baby’s development. This is due to the sensory overload they get when they are able to touch, feel, grab, “eat” and hear the sounds coming from the toy in their hands. This crinkle book is a baby favorite as the tags are also great for a baby’s development. Simple toys that go really far are great in the car too!
Or if you are feeling a little crafty and want to take your hand on the DYI toys, you can purchase this crinkle material and make your own toy for your baby’s development. Whether you want to be super creative and break out the sewing kit or just want to make crinkle balls your baby will get a kick out of the crinkle material. You can even put a piece down during tummy time and place it just out of reach to encourage your baby to move their body, which is key for your baby’s development.
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By now you have noticed a trend, you don’t need a lot or any super expensive products for your baby’s development or to keep them stimulated. As babies grow and get older, but maybe can’t crawl yet, it is imperative for them (and your sanity) that they have the right amount of stimulation. Sensory bags are simple to make and you might even have stuff on hand to make them, or a simple trip to the craft or dollar store for fillers will do.
A simple way to make sensory bags at home is in ziplock baggies with various items. These items should be different colors, shapes, sizes, and materials. Think-water beads, feathers, puffballs, paints, glitter mixed with a little water, straws, etc. the possibilities are endless. If your baby is not yet sitting independently, simply tape the bags onto carboard for sensory tummy time. Just make sure you have your eyes on your baby as eventually, the bags can break!
Although you may wake up some days wondering what you are going to do with your baby all day, you don’t have to make it super complicated or spend a ton of money. There are so many easy, economical options that are great for your baby’s development and will give you a few minutes to enjoy a cup of hot coffee or get the dishes done. Plus, you might even find new activities your baby enjoys just by trying out new things that you may have at home or can purchase for less than $10!
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on 7 Easy & Fun Actives For Toddlers.
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