Baby’s minds are like little sponges. Growing and learning at a rapid rate every single day. That’s why baby play is so important for their early development, but we often struggle to come up with ideas of what to do with them (granted often babies do love to play with the same toys over and over again!). I’m Lauren, an Early Childhood Educator and a mother of two so I know all about this stuff! Here are some of my favourite baby play ideas from my blog Teacher Types. Fi I’ve got your little Starfish in mind while I’m writing this guest post for you! xx
Teething Toy Basket
No doubt parents of babies have experienced the grumpiness of a teething baby – I remember gathering all of the teething toys in the house that I could find and offering them to my little man in this treasure basket. Teething babies just want to chew on everything! Check out the great teething toys from Jack and Izz as well (I know Fi has written about them before – HERE!).
A baby safe mirror on the floor during tummy time is a great way for babies to begin developing their sense of self. You could also attach one to a wall low to the ground for baby to look at him or herself during play time (this is a popular Montessori technique).
So fun! Great for babies who can sit, or even if they’re still a little wobbly the balls will cushion their fall. Balls are the ideal size for little hands to pick up which is another skill your baby can practise while hanging out in the ball pit.
Cars on a play mat
My little man loves cars (this probably started at around 9 months). We have a great collection of the Fisher Price Little People range and he loves watching them roll down a ramp. I also wanted to mention these gorgeous play mats from Ecoviva – (http://ecoviva.com.au/) – they are soft and quishy, double sided and so comfy for babies to play on.
Zip Lock Bag Painting
What a great way for babies to explore paint without the mess! You could also use shaving cream or hair gel for a squishy sensory play experience.
Posting in View-tainers
Now these might be suitable for older babies or toddlers who are not in the putting-everything-in-their-mouth phase (or under close supervision from you of course), but they are the niftiest little containers (hubby tells me you can get them from hardware stores). They have a flexible lid with a slit in it ideal for posting popsticks or pom poms in. Then tip them out and repeat!
I love rainbows! And babies do too! The colours of these hand kites (from Mini Minds (https://www.etsy.com/shop/minimindsaustralia) are a delight to the senses. So fun to play with and swirl around.
We always seem to have these ‘Kinder Surprise’ containers around the place, and they make the best maracas. Just fill them with rice and tape between two spoons. Babies naturally flat their arms around which is why rattles are such a popular baby toy.
Have you ever left your baby with access to a packet of baby wipes and seen them pull them out one after another? That’s the idea behind these material balls. ‘O-balls’ are ideal and I just cut up some material scraps to fill them with.
This post wouldn’t be complete without my personal favourite – discovery bottles (we use the plastic Voss water bottles because they’re just so pretty). Discovery bottles allow babies safe access to materials they otherwise wouldn’t. Fill them with a variety of materials – water or not, get creative and your baby will explore their senses of sight and sound.
Sometimes less is more when it comes to baby toys. You’ll find that with only a few toys out at a time, your baby is more likely to actually play and engage with them, rather than just looking at one object for 3 seconds before moving on to the next. Try doing a toy rotation, or get out a different box of toys each week, create some different themed treasure baskets based on colour, texture, sound or nature. Or if you’re still looking for some fresh new ideas – just head to Pinterest and search ‘baby play’ haha!
Lauren and I have done a guest blog swap Minecraft as an Educational tool HERE at Teacher Types.