It’s been a surreal time for many new parents either giving birth during lockdown, having a tiny newborn at home with little contact from others or not being able to attend the social baby groups you may have normally been able to. I’ve had lots of requests for ideas for baby play with really little ones so here it is! I’ve put together my top 10 super simple ideas for playing with your newborn to 6 months old. And the best bit is you don’t need to spend a fortune, they’re simple baby play ideas with things you can find at home!
I don’t want this blog post to make you panic that you should be setting up activities for your newborn – I can assure you for the first few months at least I just did lots of feeding, cuddles and nappy changes. It was all I had the strength for! But equally, if you are feeling like you want to begin to actively play with your baby and start to stimulate your baby then I’m here to help you.
You are probably already doing more than you realise to aid your baby’s learning and development! At this stage they really just need lots of singing, eye contact, cuddles and talking to them. Here are some really simple ideas to play with a newborn:
I really recommend that you invest in some sensory scarves. They can be used in so many different ways and are a great place to start when thinking of baby play ideas. You can also check out other items I recommend for baby sensory play here.
Baby play ideas at home:
- Peekaboo – using your scarf cover your eyes and then remove the scarf saying peekaboo! You can also loosely cover their eyes, or other body parts, e.g. their tummy, sing to them “Where’s your tummy gone? Boo! Here it is!”
- Tie your scarves to a coat hanger so that they dangle down. Hang them from a tree and watch your little one stare in delight as they blow in the wind.
- Spray your scarf with a tiny bit of water from a spray bottle, this will give it a new sensation for them to feel. Scrunch the scarf up, float it in the air above their head or use it to softly stroke them.
- Create your own black and white high contrast images. Did you know, just after birth a baby only sees black and white and their colour vision develops around 4 months old? Use white card and a black felt tip to draw some simple shapes and images for your baby to look at.
- Create a black and white contrast spinner. Using toilet roll holders, use black felt tip to draw patterns on the outside then thread through some string. Tie the string on their bouncer, play gym or anywhere you want your baby to lie underneath! They will have fun watching the toilet rolls spin round the string and will begin to try to reach out.
- Tie ribbons to your baby gym, black and white ribbons are great for tiny babies. Wave the ribbons around as this will develop their visual tracking. You could add metal spoons to the bottom of the ribbons so that as they touch they make a new sound!
- Place acrylic mirrors in places your baby goes regularly so they begin to see their reflection often, e.g. next to the changing mat and by their play gym. If you have hand held sized mirrors you can use these to play peekaboo too.
- Use feathers to gently tickle your little one. Sing nursery rhymes as you tickle them.
- Place a foil sensory blanket or crinkled up newspaper under your baby’s feet so when they kick they hear the noise and feel a new sensation.
- Use disco lights and fairy lights to light up the room! Babies love this and it’s really calming. You can place them in an upside down see through plastic box to create a DIY light box too! Or you could make a sensory den by covering a play tent with a sensory foil blanket and putting your lights inside! Glow sticks are great for light play too, but for tiny babies pop them inside a plastic bottle and let them explore the light inside the bottle.