Play and learning go hand in hand, according to The National Association of Education for Young Children. Working play into each day benefits your baby’s social, physical, and cognitive development, but that doesn’t mean it must be structured or stressful to have a lasting effect.
We’ve collected our favorite simple activities to help you plan less and play more throughout your baby’s first year. Each of these easy activities offers rich developmental benefits with little to no prep.
Skin-to-skin time isn’t just for newborns. Babies (and caregivers ❤️) of all ages are calmed by its soothing effects and other physiological benefits. Try it in a bath, during a feeding, or face-to-face during tummy time.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends tummy time for full-term babies starting in their first week, but tummy time can be stressful if your baby doesn’t love it. Try these ways to take tummy time off the floor and make it more enjoyable for you both.
As your baby starts to uncurl from their womb-like position, you may notice they want to push up against anything within foot’s reach. This super simple strengthening activity helps them build their leg and foot muscles.
Your newborn baby’s world is fairly small, and you are at the center of it. Around 1 month old, they begin to show an interest in the sights and sounds around them. Help them tune into their newly developing senses with these four easy ways to play.
Taking your baby on a tour of their home exposes them to rich experiences with everyday objects and situations, enabling language synapses to form in their brain. The best part: zero prep required 😉
Tummy time is the best place for your baby to gain strength for crawling and walking, but keeping it interesting can be a challenge. Try these tummy time ideas to engage your baby’s senses and keep them excited to be on their belly.
Kicking builds the muscles your baby needs for rolling. It also gives them an immediate response to their movements, setting up an exciting feedback loop. Try these four ways to get your baby kicking and learning about cause and effect.
Finding new ways to burn off energy at home requires some creativity and willingness to experiment. For pillow crawling, your baby must use both body and brain to climb to the top of Pillow Mountain and (hopefully) find a nap on the other side ❤️
Fill sensory bags with water, buttons, straws, peas, or anything else you can dream up. Sensory bags give your baby a safe way to examine the small objects they’re so interested in. Do keep a close watch on your baby as they explore, especially if they tend to mouth the bag. This DIY activity takes a little bit of prep, but your baby will love it.
A feeling of success motivates your baby to keep trying to free their playthings from this “web.” This easy activity helps them practice problem-solving and motor skills.
With just water and ice, your baby can compare temperatures, explore solids and liquids, and (of course) splash. Best of all, it works at every stage of development.
Your baby is beginning to understand that things fall out of a tube and stay put in a container, a concept they’ll be increasingly interested in well after they turn 1.
Taking things out of a container and putting them back in is so much fun for your baby, who’s gaining control of their hands. Muffin tins and a few balls (or pom poms) are all you need for this scientific exploration of in and out.
Treasure baskets are a Montessori favorite for good reason. They’re versatile and can be filled with objects from nature or your home to inspire your baby’s natural curiosity for exploring their world.
Music is good for building brains and shifting moods. Turn it up and dance out the wiggles or turn it down and set the tone for sleep. Whatever the time of day, Lovevery has made a Spotify playlist for it 🙂
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