April 1, 2010 • Posted by Vivian Manning-Schaffel
Depending on where you live, volatile April weather can put a damper on outdoor baby fun. If you are one of those folks stuck inside for what feels like the umpteenth time, here are some indoor play suggestions that will stimulate your baby's mind and keep you entertained.
Birth to 3 months
It doesn't seem like a baby at this age is capable of much but eating, sleeping and pooping. And you are right - for the most part. But there are many fun ways to play that engage their senses.
Song & dance
Singing and dancing with your baby is a great way to sneak in some exercise while introducing them to the wonder of music. Hold them gently and slow dance, or sling 'em and swing 'em (with neck support of course!) and get your groove on. Baby doesn't care if you can carry a tune; they just love the movement and being the source of your undivided attention.
It's always an option to bust out a bevy of rattles and stuffed animals and goo. But just taking baby through the house and naming various colorful objects can get them interested in the world around them. Point out images in paintings, or hold up basic, harmless household objects, and say what they are aloud. Sure, it's way too early for them to retain and repeat, but babies just love to check out new and colorful things they haven't seen before.
4 to 6 months
This is the age when true physicality begins, as baby learns how to grab objects, sit up and roll over. They are also starting to look you in the eye, smile and giggle -- meaning you can get a chuckle of approval out of them once in a while!
Babies never tire of this classic game. Place baby in a bouncy seat or swing and use a scarf to hide your face and say, "Where's mommy?" - "There's mommy!" Or lower a hat over your eyes and lift it to say "Peekaboo!" The more dramatic your gesture, the more entertaining for baby.
Interactive songs like "This Little Piggy" are great tools to engage your baby through song and touch. The easy rhythm of this song, combined with the tickling, guarantees a good giggle fest every time.
Time for baby to hit the floor and exercise - for tummy time that is! Spending at least 10 minutes a day on their tummies helps babies develop the neck and upper body strength they'll eventually need to sit up and crawl. Lay down with your baby on a blanket or mat on the floor and encourage them to look up, or roll from side to side.
7 to 9 months
By now, your baby is increasingly active, working hard at developing both large and small motor skills. They are likely to be sitting up, grabbing and maybe even crawling.
Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere
To a kid, there's nothing more magical than watching bubbles float around. Bubble solution is really inexpensive, and blowing bubbles around your baby a great (and clean!) way to keep them entertained during a long afternoon inside.
Make some noise
Baby has gotten proficient at grabbing at things they find around them, so let them have at it in a controlled, safe way. Sit them up in the middle of a bunch of rattles, shakers or pots and pans. They are endlessly fascinated with their ability to make sounds, and it's equally as fascinating to watch them.
Sit your baby close to you and roll a soft, plush ball toward them. Make funny noises to draw their attention to the ball, or just say, "Here comes!" Eventually, they'll figure out how to grab the ball and maybe even roll it back your way.