This post is by regular contributor Kylie Gardner of Octavia & Vicky.
I have lots of fun playing actively with my three year old daughter, “Pebble”, and find it easy to think of fun things for her to do to keep active. Finding active ways to play with my three month old, “Rocky” is a little different. Babies can’t do anything much, right? Wrong!
What are some of the things that a one to four month old baby can do?
- Turn his head
- Turn towards the direction of sounds
- Begin to push up on his arms
- Grasp small objects for a short time
- Reach towards things
- Kick his feet
Try these active baby play activities to help your baby develop both his fine and gross motor skills;
- While baby is laying on his back use rattly or jingly toys to gently make sounds near one side of his head until he turns towards the sound. Change sides to encourage him to turn the other way. Big brothers and sisters love to help with this one.
- Place baby in different positions and places, both inside and outside, and chat to baby about what he can see and hear. For example, place baby in the pram outside while you hang out the washing and chat about the birds and the flapping clothes, or prop baby in a baby seat next to you while you wash the dishes and chat about the water swishing and the dishes clanging.
- Support baby on your lap and sway, rock and bounce along to nursery rhymes, or your favourite playlist. This will help to encourage his balancing skills. Some of our favourites are Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Humpty Dumpty and Rock a Bye Baby. Or if his big sister is choosing….. Gangham Style (also known as “Gum Nut Star”!
Pushing Up with Arms
- While baby is laying on his tummy hold up a colourful, noisy toy to get his attention. Lift the toy slowly to encourage him to push up onto his arms to see it.
- Lie baby down on a rug and place your hands on the soles of their feet. Gently push back on their feet as they kick at you and chat to them about their strong legs and big kicks.
- Try making some simple Jingle Jangle socks. Gently shake baby’s feet so that they hear the bells jingling, and encourage them to kick on their own.
- Put a small amount of water in a bath tub, just enough for baby to splash in. Hold them securely and encourage them to kick the water to make it splash.
Grasping and Reaching
- Gather items from around the home to create a baby treasure basket like this one. Make sure that you choose objects appropriate and safe for your baby’s age. Sit on the floor with baby in your lap and hold the treasure basket in front of him. Explore the treasures with your hands and chat about them. Encourage baby to reach for the items and grasp them.
Baby Play Tips
- Choose play times when your baby is happy, for example, straight after a feed or sleep.
- Look for tired signs. When baby starts to fuss or turns away from you, he might be getting tired and need a break.
- Chatter, chatter, chatter – talk to baby about everything!
- Always supervise babies on their tummies and when playing in or with water.
- Keep small choking hazards away from babies.
Looking for more activity ideas for your baby? Check out the ebook Zero to Two: A Book of Play.