Babies can be tough to entertain! If you are used to carving up your maternity leave days with baby groups, walks in the park with other mums, long naps for baby in the buggy and lunches out, being stuck indoors for most of the day can be tough on you, and tough on baby and their routine.
If you are stuck for ideas, here are five of our favourites for keeping smaller babies (aged 3 – 9 months) entertained…
1. Treasure baskets
Little brains develop by using sensory skills, so grab a little basket or box, and get to work filling it with a variety of interesting objects from around the house. Seashells, pasta shakers, wooden toys, crinkly materials, bath lilies and sponges, different fabrics, pine cones, ribbons, smooth (large) pebbles, rubber teethers and wooden spoons…
Babies will absolutely love rummaging through the basket and playing with the bits and pieces, feeling the different textures and listening to the different sounds. Avoid anything sharp, small enough to choke on or with loose pieces, and don’t include anything toxic in case baby wants to explore with their mouth!
There are lots of ideas on platforms such as Pinterest, and it will keep baby entertained for hours.
2. Create a sensory den
Creative mums ahoy! If you are a fab of Baby Sensory or Bloom classes, create your own sensory play area by making a (safe) den for smaller, non-mobile babies by draping a sheet over two pieces of furniture, and filling it with fairy lights, disco balls and bubbles! Keep a close eye on baby, of course, and make sure they don’t grab any wires, but enjoy watching their little faces light up when they take in the show.
You can even turn your living room into a sensory den by stringing up the fairy lights, disco lights and glitter balls, closing the curtains, turning the lights off and getting the bubble machine out!
3. Salt dough handprints
Take this time to make some lockdown memories with your family. Make salt dough by mixing plain flour, table salt and warm water, roll into a dough and gently squish in little handprints to make treasured keepsakes!
You can add glitter and food colouring if you wish, and finish the designs by painting them when they are baked. There are lots of recipes online, some of which can be microwaved for speedy drying.
We love this recipe and decoration idea by Good to Know…
4. Story time with toys
Babies love listening to their mummy reading them a book, even if they are a little too young to follow the story. To create extra interest, grab some teddies and act out much-loved stories such as Dear Zoo, Monkey Puzzle or The Gruffalo with the stuffed animals. Watch baby’s face as he or she sees their favourite toys come to life – story time will never be the same again!
5. Messy play
If you don’t mind cleaning up mess, grab a dust sheet or plastic cover, and go crazy with trays full of jelly! You can hide insect or dinosaur toys, and let baby squish and squash the jelly as they find the creatures. This one works better for babies aged six months and over.
Shredded paper also works if you are a bit too squeamish, and if you are lucky enough to have a garden you can always take the party outside…
What are your favourite ways to entertain baby at home?