Are you looking for ways to entertain your baby all day? The following baby playtime activities will keep your active baby busy from 3 months up to 18 months. Many of these fun activities can be even done at home using accessible materials.
Why are baby playtime activities essential?
Not only do playtime activities keep your baby busy, but they have also been proven to stimulate their brain development.
Baby Playtime Activities: 3-6 month age group
Simple grasp & play
Did you know that babies are born with a grasp reflex? When you place your finger in your
baby’s palm, their fingers naturally curl around it. For simple grasp and play, both homemade and store-bought toys are appropriate. Paper towel tubes are good examples of homemade grasping toys. Store-bought rattles make excellent toys too. Prop your baby over a pillow or lay them on their side. If your baby can sit with some support, hold them in a seating position for a few minutes. Watch as your baby notices their toys when they reach out to grasp them. This playtime activity develops hand-eye coordination.
Activity gyms encourage babies to move and strengthen the muscles in their arms, legs, stomach, back and neck. Add brightly-coloured yarn to your baby’s activity gym to stimulate their growing vision. You can also buy yarn-crocheted baby gym toys!
Sensory Baskets for Babies
Gather items already found in or around your home to make a sensory basket. Sensory baskets engage all your baby’s senses, teach independence and are easy to make. Babies should use sensory baskets when they can sit up on their own. If your baby can sit up but needs support to sit up for longer, you may choose to hold them in a seating position as they play with a sensory basket. Keep an eye on your baby even if they can play with their sensory basket on their own. Finally, remember to select basket items that are clean, large enough and free of sharp edges. Be sure to pick a sturdy, well-sized basket. Remember that variety is key with sensory baskets as you follow some of these ideas:
1. Fruit and vegetable sensory basket.
Put a few fruits and vegetables in the basket. Your baby will enjoy the different colours and textures of the fruits and vegetables. Examples of appropriate fruits and vegetables include: apples, avocado, bananas, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, oranges, et cetera.
2. Fabrics or textiles sensory basket.
Use fabrics or textiles such as the baby’s blanket, scarves, kitchen towels, burp rags, washcloths and even a ball of yarn.
3. Utensils sensory basket.
Use different shapes, sizes and kinds of utensils to keep your baby excited. For example, mix wooden utensils with metal ones and smaller utensils with larger ones. Ensure not to involve any cutlery or sharp edged utensils.
Easter Eggs in Water
Fill a plastic storage bin with water, put in a few colourful plastic Easter eggs and place it on the floor. Let your baby play and splash in the water. This rich sensory activity will soothe your baby as it involves the senses of sight, touch and hearing. You may spread a towel under the storage bin to avoid making a mess on the floor. Consider adding food colouring to the water for a nice visual appeal.
Run a feather across your baby’s stomach or feet soles. The tickling sensation will make them giggle. Give them a feather too that they can play with. Feather play engages their sense of touch.
Blown-up balloons will excite your baby and get them moving as they play with them. Playing with balloons engages the touch and hearing senses. Add marbles inside the balloons to create fun sounds.
Mix cornstarch with water to create a taste-safe slime that will delight your baby’s sense of touch.
Put ice cubes in a bowl for your tiny tot to play with. The cold touch and the sound of the cubes knocking together will excite them.
Take your infant outdoors:
Spread a soft blanket on the grass for your baby. They can lie on their tummy. Touching the grass and feeling the sun on their skin is a great experience for your baby while absorbing vitamin D.
Baby Letter Grab
Sit your baby on the floor facing the fridge. Place magnetic fridge letters at their eye level. They will have a lot of fun reaching out for the colorful letters. You can use a high chair if your baby needs seating support.
Baby Playtime Activities: 6-9 month age group
Googly Eyes Sensory Bag
Fill a Ziploc™ bag with hair gel. You can use coloured hair gel. If the hair gel is colourless, you may use it as it is or add food colouring or paint mixtures to give it colour. Put in a handful of googly eyes. Seal the bag with superglue. When the superglue dries, your baby will love the feeling of the gel as they move the googly eyes around. This playtime activity enhances fine motor skills.
Your baby will enjoy looking at him/herself in the mirror. This activity teaches facial recognition. They may reach out to the “baby” in the mirror and laugh.
Baby music bin
Place items such as spoons, toys and plastic containers in a metal bin. You may make a homemade rattle by putting some rice in an empty plastic bottle, for example. Your baby will enjoy banging these items together to create their musical masterpiece!
Water Play on Tray
Babies love water! This playtime activity is easy to set up. Put some water in a tray. Add a few floating objects like boats, plastic cups or sponges. Let your baby play and splash.
Find an old Tupperware lid that you will not use again and poke holes into it using scissors. Run ribbon strips through these holes. Knot both ends of each ribbon so that they do not slip out of the holes. Your baby’s fine motor skills will grow as they pull at these knots. They may also enjoy biting at the lid and ribbons since they might be teething at this age.
Mysterious cardboard box
Place some of your baby’s favourite belongings like toys or books in a cardboard box. Wrap it with newspaper or wrapping paper. Allow your baby time with it as they learn how to rip it open. They will enjoy the sound of the paper ripping as they unwrap it. Finally, they will be delighted to find their belongings inside. Your munchkin will exercise their motor skills and learn to appreciate their belongings through this playtime activity.
Baby Playtime Activities: 9-12 month age group
Mini Colorful Sensory Bottles
Fill a clear plastic bottle with water, oil and food colouring. You can also add assorted objects like beads, buttons, marbles, glitter, and uncooked pasta, rice, and beans. Use super glue to secure the lid if you’d like. Your baby will love looking at the mixture of colours and items as they play with the sensory bottle. This playtime activity is excellent for stimulating your baby’s visual development.
Hands-on edible paint
Edible paint will allow your baby to have a lot of fun without you having to worry about some of it getting into their mouth. Fingerplay is ideal when using edible paint because it tends to be thicker than regular paint. Your baby will love the feeling of it on their hands and the colours on the page! This playtime activity is great for sensory development. The easiest edible paint recipe requires just two ingredients: plain yoghurt and food colouring. Mix the two ingredients into separate containers depending on the desired colours. You may put the paint in the fridge for 30 minutes to increase the cold sensation.
You will need foam letters for this playtime activity. Dip them in water to stick them to the window. Your baby will enjoy reaching out to grab them while on the high chair. If your baby is Teething, they might also chew on them to relieve their discomfort.
Use a kiddie pool for this playtime activity. Set down a shower curtain liner beneath the pool to prevent your floor from getting too wet. Fill the kiddie pool with warm water and fun floating toys for your baby’s maximum sensory stimulation. If your baby cannot walk steadily, be sure to support them as they enjoy the indoor pool.
Bubble wrap art
Wrap bubble wrap around paper towel tubes. Allow your baby to dip these in paint and roll them over spread out paper. This activity encourages creativity, self-expression, concentration and hand-eye coordination. You can choose to use the hands-on edible as paint described above!
Playdough offers countless sensory and motor skill benefits for your baby. Use playdough to develop your baby’s growing sense of sight, touch, strength and communication.
Baby Playtime Activities: 12-18 month age group
Fit small-enough toys into an empty tissue box. Your toddler will be excited to pull out and inspect each of the toys.
Animal tape rescue
Tape several toy animals on the back of a baking tray. This unconventional playtime activity will keep your toddler very busy as they try to “rescue” the animals by removing the tape. It will also enhance hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and decision-making skills.
Soft obstacle course
This playtime activity is appropriate for a crawling baby and enhances their motor skills. Create an obstacle course using cushions, pillows, blankets and soft footstools. Hide one or two balls inside and task your baby to get to them.
Open & Close basket
Find a basket with a lid. Fill it with items that can open and close such as small bags and containers. Your toddler will open the basket and find even more items to open and close inside. This playtime activity will satisfy your baby’s natural curiosity, keep them busy and develop their fine motor skills.
Wet chalk playtime
Instruct your toddler to dip regular chalk into a container of water as they draw on the pavement. Wet chalk has an exciting gummy texture that opens new creative possibilities for your toddler.
Hot & Cold explorations
Use the weather and everyday objects to teach your toddler the difference between hot and cold. For example, demonstrate that coffee is hot and a refrigerated soda is cold. This playtime activity stimulates your toddler’s sensory exploration. It is also a necessary safety lesson.
How do I entertain my baby all day?
You can entertain your baby through the fun and affordable baby playtime activities described on this list.
How can I stimulate my baby’s brain development?
The baby playtime activities described above stimulate your toddlet’s brain development through sensory stimulation and motor skills enhancement.
How do I keep my active baby busy?
Playtime activities keep your active baby busy by satisfying their curiosity and exercising their body and brain.