I love my babies more than any in the world. Don't get me wrong. However, between the time when they are about 3 months old until about 10 months old I just kind of look at them and think 'What in the world do I do with you now?'. This is about the time when they are awake longer than they are asleep, which at first seems like it will be SO much fun! Until you realize, ummm...babies can't do much. Oh, you can start holding a rattle? Awesome! Oh, you can start getting the rattle to your mouth without hitting your eye first? Awesome! Oh, you can hold your head up during tummy time without crying 2 minutes into it? Even more awesome! (are you catching my sarcasm?) I love love LOVE watching the learning new things every day and how all of a sudden they have acquired new fabulous skills, but sometimes I admittedly get slightly bored.
So, today I am going to share some fun things you can do with your baby so that if nothing else, it helps Mommy from going stir crazy!
Read, Read, READ
Instill the love of reading early! My oldest son loves to read and we started literally the first day he was home from the hospital. Once John was old enough to start grabbing books out of my hand to chew on them, I would give him one book to chew on while we read another book that I held. We have books in pretty much every room of the house for the kids so if we need a change of pace we just grab a couple books and start reading.
Brad is reading to John on his first day home from the hospital!
When the babies are young, don't feel like you have to read the actual words. Just point out one or two pictures on each page and move along to the next page. If you can, try to find books that are pretty simple and not too much illustration. You can also talk about how you read left to right and how to turn the pages in order. Dr. Jim shares tons of ideas HERE for early literacy...he is AWESOME!!
Also, check into story times at your local library. I have been to about a dozen different libraries between all the boys and some are drastically better than others. If you don't like the one closest to you, check into any other libraries within driving distance and see if you like those any better. Most libraries have story times specifically for babies and the ones I like the best do lots of singing, signing, baby exercise, and rhyming along with reading an actual book. Again, if you start early, the babies will learn how to behave during story time and will enjoy going each week!
(**Shameless Plug** I helped throw a cute book themed baby shower for my sister. Check it out HERE and you can buy invitations HERE!)
'Painting' with Baby Food
Once your baby is old enough to eat baby food (about 4-6 months), you can let your baby 'paint' with baby food. This is just some fun sensory play for them. Put them in their high chair and dump some baby food on the tray. Show the baby how to 'finger paint' on their tray with the food. They will most likely just play with the food and smear it around, but I bet they will enjoy their first painting experience! I love letting the kids do this (even when they are much older using pudding) because it is ok if they eat the 'paint'!
Everyone does art projects using hand prints and foot prints. But what about a tushie print?? I posted about how I did this with Matthew HERE.
Sing and Dance
Another way I fixed a little boredom is by putting on a kids CD with catchy songs. Then I would just lay the baby on a blanket on the floor and sing along to the music, adding silly arm movements. Sometimes I just did the arm movements and sometimes I moved the baby's arms along with the music. I checked out CDs from the library and if I liked them I most certainly did not ever copy the songs onto my computer. Never. John's daycare used to send home a CD twice a year with songs they used in school and they are still my favorite CDs to use with Thomas now. I also LOVE Laurie Berkner so check out her songs too!
I would also carry the baby as I danced around the room. They always like that, but they were all SO big that I couldn't do it for very long. My arms would eventually break off. :)
Take a House Tour
So, you know how you are supposed to always be talking to the baby? So much that you sound like a crazy person talking all the time? Well, sometimes I would just carry the baby around the house and give them a little tour. It was a lot of 'this is the dining room where we eat our holiday dinners', or 'this is the messy closet under the stairs that really needs to be cleaned out', and 'hey! look at this laundry that is piled up in the laundry room!'. Sometimes just having a change of scenery is all we need to wake ourselves up a little!
Take a Nature Tour
My dad's favorite thing to do with the babies is to take them outside and look at nature. He would just literally walk around the yard pointing out plants, trees, grass, bugs, etc. He would take their hands and have them feel the bark on the tree and the leaves as he talked about them. He has done this with all three of my kids, along with all of my nieces. It is so cute to see!
Crawl around with Baby
For some reason, all three of my boys have LOVED if I crawl with them. They crack up every time. I can pretend to chase them, pretend they are chasing me, or pretend to race. Any way I do it, they have a huge smile on their face and they let out huge squeals of laughter.
Once baby can crawl (and even older kids like this), make a 'Pillow Mountain'. We pile all the pillows we can find, including couch cushions, and climb up and down the mountain. Obviously I would only use 2 or 3 pillows for a young baby, but the toddlers can handle all the pillow you have. The fun will last until someone gets hurt. :) I posted more about our fun times HERE.
The Man in the Mirror
My babies have loved looking at their reflection. So when we get bored, we head to a mirror for a little fun. Sounds boring, but the babies love it. My favorite thing is watching Thomas look at me and then look at my reflection, and then back to me. It is like he is trying to figure out how there are two of me all of a sudden! When they are older, the boys love putting on hats, scarves, and gloves in the mirror. Using the mirror is also a good way to stop them from crying if they get hurt or are a little fussy.
Head to the Mall
When John (my oldest) was a tiny baby, my big weekly event was to go to a new mom playgroup, go walk around the mall (which was across the street), and treat myself to lunch in the food court. I don't think I went out any other day that week because I hadn't yet figured out how to take a 4 week old nursing baby out of the house easily! As he got older and I added another kid to the gang, I love taking the boys to the mall. The malls near me have relatively nice play areas that the boys love. They are padded so I wasn't worried about the boys getting too hurt and babies can sit or crawl around easily. We would sometimes to eat lunch there too or sometimes head back home. I hardly ever shopped with the boys (they have no patience for it!) so it was just a nice morning out without spending too much money.
John made a new friend at the mall- she loved him!
Some other random ideas:
- take a walk around the block (I even picked up running with Matthew because he didn't mind relaxing in the jogging stroller for 30 minutes!)
-sit outside on a blanket in the nice weather
-go to the park and let the babies swing for a bit
-put on a Baby Einstein DVD (which I did sparingly but John loved them!)
-play with flash cards
-teach them sign language (John loved learning to sign and Matthew didn't care for it)
-put them in their bouncy seat and let them watch you bake/cook and you can talk about what you are doing
-join a playgroup for babies
-walk around places like Target so the babies can see all the bright colors (don't spend too much money!)
-look at big construction trucks if they are doing work near by (the boys loved watching trucks if there was construction in our neighborhood)
-put plastic ring toys in and out of old wipes case
Check out these two sites for tons more fun and easy ideas:
Hopefully some of these ideas will help you in playing with your baby. Be sure to leave a comment with your favorite activities to do with your baby! I would love if you stopped by my blog or if you became a fan on facebook!!Miss Me? Follow Along on Instagram