Are you an expecting or newborn parent and have questions about COVID-19? Click here.

Newborn

Missing Baby Classes? 10 Sensory Play Activities to Stimulate Your Baby at Home

There’s nothing better than seeing your little one smiling, giggling, and having fun with a new activity! With baby classes not as available this year, and with parents being at home much more than usual, you may have reached the point where you’re running out of ways to entertain your little one.

From classic games to creative playtime fun, we’ve put together 10 of our favourite activities to give you some inspiration, and help you to support your baby’s development from home!

Baby playing toy dinosaur

 

1. WATER PLAY

Babies and toddlers love playing with water; and moving in water is a whole different sensory experience for your little ones. Although it might look like they’re just splashing water everywhere, water play has plenty of benefits. Water adds resistance, so when children make movements in the water, whether clapping their hands or kicking their legs, water palat helps to develop their coordination and strength.

 

2. READING

It’s never too early to start reading to your baby, and whilst they won’t understand what you’re saying at a young age, listening to you before they can talk will give them a feel for the sounds, rhythms, and inflections of your voice. This will introduce your little one to language and prepare them for future reading and learning. The best part is cuddling up on the sofa - sharing books is a great one-on-one activity for bonding!

If you’re unsure about which books are best for your baby, there are lots of online resources that can point you in the right direction, including the BookTrust Website and Words for Life.



3. FEEL THE DIFFERENCE

Find a selection of objects with different textures, such as a silky top, a baby brush, a rubber ball or a flannel. Give them to your baby one at a time so that they can explore the objects with their hands and feel the difference between them. 

Make sure you keep a close eye on them, as there’s no doubt they’ll want to put them in their mouth!

 

4. BUBBLE BLOWING

Bubbles can bring endless entertainment for babies, it’s also a great way to work on their developmental skills. Blow some bubbles up to the sky and your baby will focus on the bubbles and follow them with their eyes, improving their visual tracking skills. If they’re a little older, narrate the process, talking about which bubbles are big and which are small, where the bubbles are going. To make your little one giggle, you can even try popping them with different body parts or in different ways, such as with your elbow, or clapping your hands.

baby in bath with rubber duck

5. BATH TIME FUN

Introducing games in the bath can be a great way to learn.  All you need for this game is a little water pistol. Point to one of your baby’s body parts and tell them what you’re pointing at, then squirt it with the water. In time your little one will start giggling and naming the body parts too.

 

6. MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

This one is a great game for improving coordination and developing listening skills once your baby is able to sit up. Set up an array of turned-over saucepans, give your little one a wooden spoon, and let the noise begin (maybe save this one for after your morning coffee though!).

 

7. PAPER SCRUNCHING

This activity requires minimal effort and materials. All you need to do is scrunch up some paper, show your baby how it rustles and hand them the paper to play with. Your little one will be intrigued by the rustling noise and texture of the scrunched up paper. 

Watch your baby carefully with this activity and don’t use newspaper, as they’ll want to put it straight in their mouth.

 

8. TUG OF WAR

It’s amazing how strong a baby’s grip can be; whether it’s hair pulling or necklace pulling, babies like to hold onto things! Give them one end of a tea towel, hold the other end yourself and vary pulling and releasing. See who wins and have a laugh with your little one. These gentle tug of war games will help to improve your baby’s strength and will help with your baby’s grip when it comes to holding pencils and crayons in the future.

toddler looking in mirror

9. MIRROR FUN

All you will need for this game is a baby-safe mirror. Show your baby their reflection in the mirror, then ask, "who is that?” Let them look into the mirror and see their changing expressions and movement.  Repeat with your own reflection, a sibling's reflection, or various stuffed animal's reflections. This will help with visual, social and emotional development.

 

10. ONLINE BABY CLASSES

If you enjoy the routine or you are missing the structure that baby classes bring, online baby classes may be a good place to turn. There’s a class for everyone, whether it’s a music group or a baby massage. Some classes even have a community for those missing the social aspect of attending baby classes!

 

Do you have any fun baby games to share? Share them with us on our Instagram page!