One thing I struggled with for awhile was what the heck do I do with my baby all day. As a new stay at home mom, I struggled to come up with new things to do to keep us busy, as well as continue to build new skills and knowledge. I scoured the internet and talked to friends for things they do with their kids, but I struggled with most of them being for older kids. When they can’t move and can’t sit up on their own it is hard to just sit in one place all day. That’s why I have put together this list of at home activities with baby.

1. Read a book

We are big advocates of reading. My husband and I both grew up in homes that focused a lot on education and reading. I’ve been reading to my daughter since probably before she could even see the book. We hit up garage sales, friends of the public library book sales, and thrift stores to build up a pretty good library at home. We also go to the public library and check out books to change things up once in awhile. A friend of mine is an elementary school teacher and said that parents who read to their children at least 30 minutes a day are usually so much further ahead when they get into kindergarten.

2. Sensory Activities

We started with sensory bags since we had a lot of the items at home to do these. Double up on zip-loc bags and fill them with miscellaneous items (pasta, cotton balls, sprinkles, yarn, soap, paint, cereal, beads, potpourri, glitter, etc.) and duct tape the bags shut well. Let your little one play with them so experience new feelings. Be careful to supervise so they don’t choke on the plastic.

Other ideas are using old plastic bottles and filling them with water and glitter or paint, soap, oil and water, etc., to show different unique views. You can also use old water bottles or jars with lids to do ribbon through similar to the ‘taggy’ toys. Make a hole on both sides, cut a piece of string or ribbon about 4 inches longer than the width of the bottle, thread it through the holes and tie knots on each end. Do this up the bottle for an easy sensory toy.

Another idea is to use a wooden board and mount or attach things to it. I’ve seen automobile themed ones with a steering wheel, gears, MPH/RPM gages. Also ones that use different types of fabric to attach (fur, flannel, fleece, costume and apparel cuts) and they can feel the different textures. 

3. Go for a walk

If it’s nice outside, you can take your little one for a walk. This is a great way to get some exercise, much needed vitamin D, and just a few minutes out of the house! Bonus – it’s exercise for the dog if you have one. 🙂

4. Tummy Time

My daughter hated this one, but the doctors recommend tummy time starting at newborn stage of life. they push you to get up to an hour a day. Get a play mat that works for tummy time too and start building those back and neck muscles.

5. Play Time

Whether it be playing on the floor, in a bouncer, on a play mat, or with other toys, play time is a great way to get babies stimulated and develop motor skills as well as start to learn. Blocks can help with shapes, bouncers and the standing activity tables can help develop muscles, and there are many educational toys out there to learn letters, colors, shapes, etc.

6. Play Date

Know another mom with a baby? Have them come over for an hour or two for a baby play date. If you don’t, check out Facebook Mom groups for your area. There are likely other moms in your area that would love to socialize their little ones.

7. Baby Wear

This was big for me, especially before we had a routine established. Making dinner worked so much better if I could just wear her. You need to be careful if you are doing anything like cooking (be careful of any sharps, steam, hot utensils, etc), and if you plan to do any cleaning be careful for their little limbs.

Baby wearing is a great way to build a bond with your little one that can continue into toddlerhood. It’s also convenient to get them into the habit of liking the carrier so if you need it for any events or a particularly fussy afternoon that you wanted to get something done, you can put them in the carrier and still have your hands free.

8. Make ‘Toys’  Out of Household Items

One thing my mom used to say to me was the best toys were pots and pans. As kids, my sister and I loved getting into the kitchen and going through drawers and cabinets. While this is not safe if your little one is not supervised, as long as there is nothing small enough to choke on, sharp, or heavy/breakable, embrace the chaos and get to playing!

9. Mommy and Baby Exercise

I haven’t tried anything aside from yoga, but there are short exercise videos on YouTube using baby. I’ve seen several that use baby as a weight for squats, lunges, and other leg and glut toning exercises. Give these a try, I’m sure the little one will enjoy watching you sweat. Bonus – you don’t need any weights. 

10. Sing and Dance

They say that music can help build a creative mind, so turn on some music and have a dance party. This was one my daughter loved, whether it be classical music, Disney (I’m a giant child at heart), or country music. I’d just snatch her up and do a little dance with her and sing along. 

11. Baby’s First Art Projects

There are plenty of safe to eat baby’s first finger paints out there. Whether you just let them play with the paint and draw on their high chair table, on a piece of butcher paper, or get handprint and foot print wall art, have fun with this. 

It doesn’t have to be with finger paint. Grab some whipped cream or shaving cream and make a mess. Play with some pasta, sprinkles or other fun foods. Just be careful to watch they don’t eat anything they shouldn’t be.

12. Take Baby in the Pool

If it’s hot out, fill up a baby pool and go ‘swimming’. This was one of my favorite at home activities with baby. We did this with my daughter as young as 12 weeks. She loved splashing. Bonus, mom had to sit in the pool with her to hold her up, and cool off in the hot sun! If it’s too cold out, don’t fret – put on your suits in go sit in the bathtub! Time to splash and play with those bath toys.

13. Talk about Shapes, Colors, Letters, Objects

When you’re playing, just pacing the house, on a walk, or whatever you find yourself doing there is always time to learn. Point things out while you walk outside – tree, grass, car. If you are inside putting dishes away, count the cups as you put them away, or even grab baby’s hand and count their fingers. Point out the colors of things, of what you’re doing. Babies are giant sponges so give them more opportunity to soak it all up.

14. Swing Time

If you got a swing, make sure you use it! Our daughter loved her swing, but I got so caught up in holding her that we hardly used it. Buckle them in for a few minutes and let them enjoy the movement, noise, and mobile if there is one. It’s a great chance for mom to get a few minutes, just make sure to supervise and don’t let them sleep in it.

15. Pull Baby in a ‘Sled’

Whether you use a laundry basket or a box, attach a belt, rope or something as a handle and pull baby around in the house. Or better yet, get an infant sled and take baby out in the snow (weather permitting). Our daughter loved this. Just make sure they are able to support themselves sitting up or have a seat for them to be securely upright. 

16. Play with ‘Garbage’

One of the best things I did was attend a story time at the library where they had a bunch of rolls from industrial paper towels, toilet paper, and old ribbon/string spools. This made for one super fun activity time for all the kids. Just make sure you supervise so they don’t end up eating the rolls.

17. Build a Fort

This is more appropriate for a toddler that can walk, but whether you have an old refrigerator box you can cut a hole in for a door and window, or a blanket and some chairs, build a fort and let your little one play.

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Activities With Baby

This of course is not an all-inclusive list of at home activities with baby, but it’s a pretty good list that we did a lot of in our first year. There are always more ideas out there on Pinterest or even by Googling. I found some of them pretty obscure or things that we’d have to go buy materials for. That is why I put together this list, hopefully you won’t even need to go to the store to get anything for your afternoon art projects or sensory activities.

Hopefully you got some ideas of what to do with your little one here. Let me know what your favorite activity is in the comments below!

-Cassie 🙂

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