Even during ‘normal’ times, it can be difficult to know what to do to entertain your baby at home, especially if they are in a grisly mood! With many of our social opportunities such as playgroups still closed and an increase in lockdown measures again, what can you do with your baby at home? Here are six ways that you can enjoy time together AND develop your baby at the same time.
Babies love music and it can also be very good for you, the parent, to have some favourite songs on in the background too. Whatever your chosen musical genre, pop on some tunes and why not grab some shakers, bells or even baby-safe pots and pans to make some noise together! Open the Kindermusik App and chose some favourite children’s songs to play long with – if you are a regular Kindermusik family, you will have albums and albums of music to choose from at Kindermusik Online. For tiny babies, you can tap all over their body with a shaker or just your hand. For older babies, why not encourage some turn taking by swapping instruments or toys
As well as playing instruments, why not get up and dance? Dancing releases those feel good hormones and has many benefits for your baby. Moving them up, down, left, right and round and round can stimulate our baby’s vestibular system, a sensory system that wakes up the brain and provides it with information about motion and our orientation in the space around us. Located in the inner ear, the vestibular system also helps your baby to balance, stabilise their head and maintain posture; all necessary skills for sitting, crawling and, eventually walking!
All babies (and toddlers!) love a lap bounce! Pop your baby on your knee facing you and sing a favourite song together, bouncing to the rhythm as you go. After a few simple renditions, why not add some variations. Maybe you could sing it slowly – watch their reaction as they make sense of the new tempo. Then sing it quickly to get some giggles and smiles. Here are some other ideas:
- Sway left and right instead of bouncing
- Row forwards and backwards
- Match the ups and down of the melody with physical ups and downs e.g. Hot (up), Cross (down), Buns (up).
- Add an element of surprise e.g. Humpty Dumpty fall over at the end.
Challenge the senses
Find some interesting materials and create a treasure box for your baby to explore. Hunt around your home to find different fabrics or materials (wooden spoons, large stones or ribbons) for your baby to enjoy. Assume that they will naturally mouth everything they touch so do make sure items are big enough not to choke on and always stay with them while they explore, name what they are playing with and boosting their receptive language. For small items such as beads or sand, why not create some simple sensory bottles for them to shake and look at safely. Check out our previous blog post for more ideas.
Peekaboo is an age-old favourite! You can do it simply with your hands or find a scarf or piece of fabric to hide you or your baby under. Take turns to find each other or hide a favourite toy. You can even Peekaboo (and many of the other activities listed here) on Zoom or Skype with a grandparent! Explore more peekaboo ideas and a FREE song download here.
Read to your baby
Whatever their age, your child will benefit hugely from being read to. In the early days, babies will develop their vision by focusing on bold pictures whilst also learning to discriminate your voice from the other sounds around them. As they get older, they will develop fine motor control to turn pages and start to make sounds that will later try to speak. Find out more about literacy and reading with you baby in our blog post.