10 Baby Play Ideas

baby play ideas

This list of 10 simple ways to play with your bub is in response to two recent reader requests for play ideas for young babies, from around six months of age.

1. Blocks: Wooden blocks which fit into small hands and are light enough to stack (and knock down!) easily are a great investment.  Immy still plays with the set we bought her as a baby now at age five.

2. Fabric squares: Cut 4 or 5 squares of fabric to represent a range of textures – velvet, fur, cotton, tulle, etc. Pop them into an empty tissue box or baby wipes box and your bub will have a great time pulling them out. Small, colourful silk scarves work as well.

3. Music making: Babies are fascinated when an instrument responds musically in response to their touch. Small, lightweight maracas, bells, rainsticks and tambourines can be followed closely by drums and a xylophone. You can make your own shakers quickly and easily from a small plastic water bottle partly filled with rice or something similar.

4. Books: Cloth books and board books are just right for arms, hands and fingers which aren’t yet able to turn pages gently. My girls have both loved the ‘That’s Not My…’ series (each page of the book includes panels of texture) best of all.

5. Raid the kitchen cupboards for a pot and spoon to bang, pot lids to clash or plastic cups to stack. For sitting or mobile bubs, you might like to allocate a low drawer to kitchen containers and utensils which your bub is allowed to play with.

6. Balls: Choose balls of different sizes, colours and textures for lots of rolling fun. Balls are especially popular with babies who are starting to crawl. Standing babies might like to experiment with ramps and rolling.

7. Commercial toys: Immy’s favourite commercially produced toys were a yellow Fisher Price bus and set of Little People which I bought pre-loved from Ebay.  My girls both also enjoyed pop up type toys – the type where an animal (or other character) would pop up in response to  pushing, turning or sliding a button. Chunky linking rings are also good for many months of play with young babies.

8. Outside: Babies love being outdoors and it is the perfect place for sensory development with great textures, sounds and sensations to experience. Take a few toys outside and find a shady place on the grass for them to play and explore or pop sitting babies up with a shallow basin of water to splash in.

9. Treasure baskets: Collect together a simple basket of everyday objects into a baby treasure basket. You can find more ideas for treasure baskets here, here and here.

10. You: Once she was sitting in a high chair, Immy loved to be sat alongside where either myself or Dad 101 were preparing food or doing dishes in the kitchen. We would talk to her about what we were doing, sing together, give her new foods to taste or everyday objects to explore as we worked. Babies learn from watching and communicating with you as you go about everyday chores.

What would you add to this list of baby play ideas?

baby play ideas

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  1. Jane Agius says:

    And bubbles!!! Blowing bubbles for them but also my kids loved when I filled my sink with water I would make sure I made lots of suds and fill a bucket with bubbles and give them the bucket on the floor with a ladle and assorted containers while I washed the dishes :)

  2. This isn’t exactly relevant, but that baby is ADORABLE.

    Belly B

  3. Christie @ Poppy Seed Baby says:

    Great list Christie! My little Poppy is almost five months so looking forward to some of these ideas. Right now her favourite play toys are frills on my tops and my face! Especially if I lean over her while she is lying on the floor :)

  4. I have no idea what I’d add to this list! As a baby Erin wasn’t interested in “playing” at all. I’ve lost count of the number of hours I spent trying to encourage her to play with her toys so having a full term baby without sensory issues is a whole new ball game! I’ll definitely be trying some of these with her–Erin will probably enjoy them too.

    OH! I do have something to add! Empty plastic bottles, Abi’s fascinated with them. If I put things like coloured rice in them and glue the lid on she’ll play with them for ages :D

  5. My girls all loved simple Steiner inspired knot dolls.

    And we have a whole heap of those “that’s not my…” books that have been very well loved over the years.

  6. Cecilia Ko says:

    I pasted different coloured cellaphane papers on the window fir the sun to shine through and the reflections projected on the wall and floor were colorful and created interest for my son.

    Filling empty mineral bottles with different colored water for aesthetic and sensory stimulation. When the sun shines through the bottles, it creates interesting patterns on the floor and wall. My son was fascinated by the reflections.

    Filling a tub with balls and let your child sit in them. This helps to create vusual, and sensory awareness.

    Hang different lengths of colored ribbons (some with bells and some without) from the ceiling for visual and auditory stimulation. The babies can pull, hit, swing the ribbons and bells.

    And fabric squares are really interesting for babies!!

  7. some fabulous ideas here, i especially like the fabric box idea

    also, jane’s comment about bubbles – think this is a simple but wonderful activity for babies and toddlers. and blowing the bubbles is a great way for mum to embrace a bit of calm

    and you have music instruments which I love but also just putting on music and having a bit of a dance keeps my little one entertained, even when not quite crawling or walking, bubs can have a bit of a bob or even dance around the room in your arms…(again, i think this was as much about a stress release for me as it was fun for my boys!)

  8. I’m delighted to see that several of the things I instinctively did with my babies way back in the 70’s are listed here.

  9. these are all great ideas. I love the ideas in the comments too. Thanks for sharing. I’ve linked up to your post on my weekly favorites here:

  10. Great post and ideas. I love the fabric squares. I posted about a few ideas on my [url=] blog [url]recently, such as… My infant son loves to climb so I set large couch cushions or pillows or even my legs on the floor for him to crawl and climb over.

    He also really enjoys pushing things (like balls) through tubes or holes.

    You could also try a bin full of large noodles or other natural objects for sensory exploration. Create some [url=] pudding paint [url] for an art and sensory activity. I posted about this, also, on my blog a few weeks back.

  11. Marj Bryen says:

    Include ideas for tummy time. As a pediatric physical therapist I have seen children with delayed development due to poor strength in neck and back muscles since they spend so much time on their backs and in carriers. Once children develop good head control development occurs on their own. Encourage parents to get down on the floor at eye level and stimulate the child to keep head up and reach for toys, push up on arms and move into sitting and back down to their tummy. Place toys out of reach and encourage the child to move forward to get toys.

  12. I would love to know what brand of blocks are shown in the photo. I am looking for fun blocks for my daughter.

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