Are you quickly running out of ideas for things to do at home with your baby?
Finding ways to entertain your baby can be challenging at the best of times but with the onslaught of yet another national lockdown, many of us are feeling fed up and out of ideas.
We’ve got some quick and easy ways to entertain your baby at home, using what you already have in the house!
11 ideas to play with baby this lockdown
1. Treasure baskets
Treasure baskets are a really easy way of giving your baby opportunities to explore sights, sounds, smells and textures and they are so easy to put together!
Gather interesting items from around your house and place them into a shallow box or basket. Choose a shallow box or basket to put the items in so that your baby can easily access them.
You could include:
- A baby hairbrush
- A spoon
- A CD
- A shower pouffe
- An empty tissue box
Treasure basket play can be done from just a few months old and you can select and show the different objects to your baby. Shake them, move them, brush them over their hands.
When your baby is sitting independently then the fun can really begin! Let them explore and take out the items in their own time.
2. Homemade soft play
Soft play centres may have once been at the bottom of our list of places we want to spend a morning, but now we miss them desperately and would give anything to be back amongst the squishy blocks, ball pools and screams of delight.
Making your own soft play at home is really easy, and while it may not look professional, it can have many of the same benefits as visiting the real thing.
Pull the sofa cushions onto the floor, throw a blanket over two chairs back to back to make a tunnel and you’re ready to go! Your baby can crawl, shuffle or cruise over, under and around the objects, building their muscles and honing their gross motors skills.
If your baby is pulling to stand or cruising then consider placing some items at chest height to encourage practising this skill. Try a footstool, low chair or heavy box.
3. Taste-safe painting
Want to give painting a go but worried your baby will try to eat the paint? This is the ideal solution!
Add a few drops of food colouring to natural yoghurt and mix to create taste-safe baby paint! Use on paper to create a masterpiece or just put into a shallow tray to let your baby squish and slide it between their fingers. Sensory perfection!
4. Sensory class
If you haven’t tried an online baby class yet, you’re missing out! Without the real deal, many mums feel they have missed out on one of those fundamental parts of maternity leave. While the online classes aren’t quite the same, they are still lots of fun for both of you.
5. Smell pots
Smell pots are so quick to make and will provide an interesting sensory experience for babies from new born right up to one year and beyond.
Clean out a few used herb or spice jars and fill each with a different smelly delight! You could try:
- Lemon slices
- Coffee beans
Don’t screw the lid back on but instead mold a piece of tin foil over the top of the jar, securing it with an elastic band. Poke a few small holes in the foil.
Now hold near to your baby’s nose and watch for their reaction! Older babies will enjoy holding and smelling each different pot themselves.
6. DIY shakers
Make a musical shaker in minutes with this simple DIY. Simply use an empty drinks bottle (make sure the inside is dry) and fill with rice, dried pasta, beads or buttons - anything that makes a noise. Screw the lid back on securely and shake away!
7. Lap rhymes
Lap rhymes are a fantastic way to bond with your baby, spend quality time together and improve their core strength and stability.
Sit on the sofa with your feet on the floor and sit your baby on your knee. If you have a younger baby, hold them under their arms, supporting the back of their head with your fingertips.
Older babies can hold your hands and work on their balance at the same time!
Bounce and rock your baby back and forth or side to side while you make eye contact and sing. Remember that your baby doesn’t care if you have a terrible singing voice!
The changing tone our voices when we sing actually allows babies to tune into what we are saying, developing their early language skills.
Some favourite lap rhymes:
- Humpty Dumpty
- Row Your Boat
- The Grand Old Duke of York
- Pop Goes the Weasel
If the weather is on your side, head outdoors for fresh air that will benefit both you and your baby.
While you are walking, talk to your baby about the sounds you can hear and point out things you can see. Stop under a tree and allow your baby to look up and watch the swaying branches. It’s nature’s mobile!
9. Oobleck messy play
It can be hard to find messy play that is suitable for babies but Oobleck is easy and safe to use with babies from around 6 months onwards (when they are sitting confidently).
To make oobleck, mix cornflour with water to make a gloopy paste. You can add a few drops of food colouring if you like.
Pour into a shallow tray or dish and let your baby explore the texture with their hands and even their feet. Fair warning, this can get messy but cleans up easily and is worth it for the experience!
This game is a classic and for good reason. Your baby will love the game of peekaboo and it is guaranteed to elicit smiles and giggles.
Use a muslin or sensory scarf if you have one and place it gently over your face. Pull down and say, “Peekaboo!” Now hold the muslin in front of your baby’s face and do the same.
Older babies will be able to reach out and try to pull the muslin or scarf down themselves and may even try to cover their faces up again!
11. Dark den
This activity is perfect for dull days and dark winter nights and also works brilliantly if you have toddlers or pre-schoolers.
- Turn two chairs so their backs are facing one another and throw over a blanket or sheet to make the den.
- Gather a few light-up objects from around the house. Torches, fairy lights, baby light projectors and light-up toys will all work well.
- Turn down the lights and draw the curtains to make it extra dark. Turn on your light-up objects and let your baby explore.
Young babies will enjoy laying on their backs and gazing at the lights while older babies can select and explore each object in turn.
Get Lockdown Support With EasyPeasy!
Looking for tips, expert advice and playful games to help you through lockdown? We've got you covered with the EasyPeasy parenting app!
Created to support the parents of 0 to 5 year olds, EasyPeasy is full of tips and ideas to keep your little one busy. You can expect practical advice, playful games and more to help you connect with your child.
Plus, there’s extra content from partners Scouts, LEGO and NCT, and you can share your own tips through the new parent community sharing feature!
Click below to head to to the app store!