Wake windows are getting longer, it’s getting dark at 4:30 pm, the days are tiring and your baby is getting more active.
What can I do with my baby? What toys do I need? What activities can I try? I get these questions all the time so I have put together a list of simple and fun ways to play with your baby.
Age Appropriate Toys
Babies explore the world around them mostly with their mouths, which is why everything seems to go straight into them. I like to give my daughter a variety of different toys that she can easily hold and put in her mouth. Here are some of our favourites:
I recently stumbled upon Little Cheeks, a Canadian mom-run company. My little girl is definitely teething and LOVES her bear right now. The teething toys are free from harmful chemicals, silicone and very easy to clean.
Does your baby go straight for the tags? Mary Meyer is great and designs toys with tons of TAGS that are safe to chew and suck on. We have a bunch! I also really like the ones with the little silicone “handle” so my daughter can easily grasp and chew on them.
I love exploring Etsy and supporting Canadian shop-owners. I found this amazing crinkle tag blanket and it has easily become a favourite in our house.
Play scarves, in my opinion, are a must have. They are open-ended, meaning there isn’t just one way to use them. The play possibilities are endless. Play scarves are great for peek-a-boo and for encouraging your baby to reach and grab. As your child grows up they are wonderful for imaginary play and dress up.
Try this! I like to put my daughter’s toys out around her in a circle. This allows her to reach for whatever she is in the mood for at that moment. I like to let her choose and give her some autonomy. Lots of floor time is also very important at this age.
I always say, children are never too young to start reading and exploring literacy. Board books are great because babies can touch the books and grip them without ripping any pages. Here are the ones we read on my Amazon storefront. Whenever my daughter seems to be getting fussy, we go straight for a book.
You don’t have to have a good voice for your baby to enjoy your singing. Babies are stimulated by music and like repetition. It’s very calming and soothing. Add some shakers to make the experience even more memorable. You can make your own shakers using different recycled materials you may have in your home. Just add some dry food or beads. Pinterest has lots of examples.
No-mess sensory play is quick and easy. Stick a ziplock bag to the floor, the wall or to the highchair. The beauty is that you can essentially put anything into the bag. Water and sequins, paint (use two primary colours!), gel and pompoms. Click here for some examples.
Tissue Paper Kicking
My daughter loves to kick her legs so I like to provide her with plenty of opportunities to strengthen those leg muscles! Try placing tissue paper on the side of your couch. Tuck it under the seat cushion, lie your baby on their backs and let them kick the tissue paper. My daughter loves it! The tissue paper makes a great sound and encourages your little one to keep kicking! I also place bells around my daughters ankles for the same effect and she enjoys that too.
Water play is my favourite form of sensory play and you have lots of things around your kitchen that you can use. Fill a shallow tupperware or baking tray with water and let your baby splash around with his/her hands. Add things like measuring spoons, sponges, funnels and cups. Let them explore and try to dump and pour. Water play allows babies to learn about ‘cause and effect.’ You can also let your baby play with ice as it melts and slides around on a cookie sheet. We tried this recently and it was a hit!
One of my favourite activities! I am very passionate about outdoor play and the benefits of connecting with nature and breathing in the fresh air. Each season offers so much beauty, especially fall. Recently I took my daughter on a nature walk and I let her touch and smell the leaves. I pointed out the beautiful colours, the animals and the crunching noise the leaves made when we walked through them. Nature is everywhere and ignites all of the senses. If you are looking for something to do, get outside and explore!
I recently read about Home Tours on Lovevery and have been doing them ever since with my little one. We like to turn the lights on together, roll up the blinds and look at the trees in the backyard, we look in the mirrors and turn on and off the faucets. Home Tours require no flashy toys and instead expose your baby to real life things and experiences.
Tip – when choosing toys for your baby, think about the textures and different sounds that are possible. Engage the senses! Provide play experiences that expand on what your little one is already doing. If you notice your baby is stacking toys, provide plenty of opportunities to do that. Loves bath time? Spend a few extra minutes in the tub splashing around. If your baby likes tummy time, get on the floor and play on your tummies! You can also check out my Amazon storefront for some of our favourite toys.
Reminder – many of these activities can be done at any age. Children of all ages can benefit from nature walks and outdoor play. Sensory play is extremely important for toddlers and fostering a love for reading at a young age will hopefully inspire a love for literacy later on in life.