As a mom on mat leave, my #1 survival skill was leaving the house when shit hit the fan. It was my way of hitting the reset button for both me and baby and kept me alive all those months. With this whole quarantine business this was no longer an option. Entertaining a baby for days on end is daunting!
Whenever I feel uncertainty or anxiety rising, my first instinct is to make lists and schedules. I do this to organize my thoughts and to make me feel like I have some control over a situation that’s out of my hands. So let’s get right to it, here’s a list of 10 ways to entertain your baby with home activities. This list is useful for quarantine, mat leave, rainy days, you name it! Have fun!
1. Hello Jello
Prepare a few batches of Jello in different colours. You can set up outside where your baby can play without you breaking a sweat about the mess. Or you can set up a splash mat indoors by taping a garbage bag to the floor, or simply having all this fun directly in the bathtub! Let baby freely explore the texture (and taste) of the jello, touch it, crawl in it, shampoo it into their hair… Extra points if you can leave baby in a diaper for a full-body sensory experience.
2. Shake It
Homemade rattles/shakers. You can use Tupperware, or empty water bottles and food/spice containers. Fill them up with things that make a sound when shaken, like dry pasta, beans, beads, rice, candy, water beads etc. Baby can then play with these and learn to create his own music and sounds. Make sure that the containers are securely taped/glued to prevent choking hazards.
3. Messy Baby
Skills: Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, sensory and tactile senses
4. Bath Pool
Bath time doesn’t only have to be to get clean, it can also be to play! Get in the bath with baby and make it fun. This is my favourite because it also gives us time to bond and have fun together. I show him how to splash, and how different toys do different things in the water. Bring toys that float and toys that will sink to show the difference.
5. Obstacle Course
This one is for babies who crawl or walk. Create an obstacle course using pillows, boxes, blankets, chairs etc. The goal is to make a circuit where baby has to go over and under things. For example, she can go under a chair, and then crawl over blankets . Make sure that there is no way out on the sides, baby must go through the obstacles to keep going. This is a fun activity that you can do multiple times as baby goes back and forth, and usually doesn’t get bored with crawling and exploring.
6. Finger Painting
I posted an edible paint recipe on my Instagram page @beingmaman – it’s in the “Activities” highlight. It was cool because it will actually dry on paper (if you’re sentimental and want to hang your kid’s unique art on the fridge) – but it took prep time and prep can be annoying. So now we’re just using yogurt and food colouring! This is actually a yum kind of edible, and not just edible-safe. This kind of paint won’t stick to paper, so baby can “paint” on a tray, bathtub, or any light coloured surface. You can also introduce some tools like a paintbrush, or for babies like David who put everything in their mouths, a good idea would be to give him a silicone spatula and pastry brush to paint and eat the yogurt with.
7. Water Play
Set up baby with bowls/Tupperware filled with cold and warm water. Put some toys in the bowls to play with. Bonus point if you give baby toys that need to be washed and add in some baby-safe soap. Baby will be happy to play with water and bubbles, and mom gets clean toys out of it!
This activity might seem meh but is actually a new experience for baby. Stick pieces of marking tape around baby and let her experience with removing them and sticking them around. She will get a sensory experience from the stickiness, and learn the cause and effect of removing and sticking the piece of tape. You can also tape a few toys to the floor or on the wall and encourage baby to remove the tape to get to the toy.
9. Cardboard Fort and Sensory Bins
This activity can be fun with older children too. Most of us have been ordering (maybe excessively) from Amazon and other online shops. Build a fort, a tunnel, and personal space box, anything your heart desires really. If the kids are older you can have fun decorating the space and adding cool features (ex: poke holes on top of the box to create a starry night when you turn a light on outside the box). You can make use of smaller boxes to teach baby to put things in and out of boxes, to sort toys by category or colour (depending on the age), and to create sensory bins. Sensory bins are basically bins filled with random (baby-safe) objects you have in the house. As we know, for some reason babies rather play with an old sock than with that brand new toy you splurged on – so fascinate them with the most mundane everyday items you can find and let them explore the bin.
10. Tube Drop
out for anything that can be a choking hazard) that can slide through the tube and let them work on inserting the items and watching them drop out of the tube on the other end.
Skills: fine motor skills, tactile, object permanence
* Object permanence is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, touched, smelled or sensed in any waybaby activitiesquarantine activitieshome activitiessensory activitiesthings to do with baby Alexia Maman