Argh! Not even lunchtime and you’re already scrabbling around for fun things for baby to do? Don’t worry… I know there are only so many episodes of CBBCs you can watch before the mum guilt creeps in, so here are 5 cheap and easy ways to help pass the time.
1. Fill a treasure box
Nope, I’m not talking about pirate treasure and pieces of eight. A treasure box can be anything you want it to be. All you need is to fill a small box or basket with a handful of random items.
You can choose small toys, balls, teddies, rattles, and also household bits and pieces, such as sponges and hairbrushes. Whatever you can find – just make sure to give them a wash first!
You then simply clear the playmat, present baby with their treasure box, and sit back as they take their time picking out and exploring each item (and probably giving it a chew for good measure).
For babies who aren’t yet sitting, you can do the hard part for them and tip the basket on its side, so it’s easy for them to reach into whilst lying on the floor.
2. Play with food and water
Whatever stage of the weaning journey baby is on (even if they haven’t started yet), food and water activities offer great opportunities for sensory play.
Putting a small amount of water on the highchair tray and letting baby have a bit of a splash is great fun. For younger babies, this can be adapted for tummy time by putting some water on a baking sheet just within arm’s reach.
Why not let baby explore the fruit bowl too? An apple, orange and banana all smell and feel different. However, if you would rather not give baby full reign, why not present each item in turn and let them touch and smell it while you explain what it is? You can also try this with tea bags and raw vegetables.
3. Get your kitchen utensils out
You may not think it but, to a baby, your kitchen is filled with wonder worthy of hours of childhood playtime.
Beyond the classic wooden spoon and saucepan combo (always a noisy favourite), try offering a whisk, a pastry brush, a metal spoon, and a spatula. Choosing different textures makes for a fun and varied experience – just be wary of anything you’d rather didn’t end up in baby’s mouth.
4. Have a go at toy rotation
As I discussed in my previous blog, toy rotation is the simple art of holding back toys and only putting out a select few each day. It’s a great way to keep the playmat fresh and interesting – without buying new toys – and can even give you the chance to enjoy a hot (yes, hot!) cup of coffee while your little one explores their “new” toy collection.
Want to find out more? Take a look at 7 Toy Rotation Ideas Guaranteed to Rejuvenate Playtime
5. Get creative with a cardboard box
I imagine that children have been playing with cardboard boxes ever since they were invented – that’s 1817, according to Google!
Not one to mess with a classic, here are some ideas for making good use of that spare cardboard box the next time an Amazon delivery arrives:
From the smallest…
Instead of putting them straight into recycling, hold back a selection of small boxes for the playmat. A tissue box, small cardboard box and empty box of tea bags are all different shapes and sizes for little hands to explore.
To the largest…
There’s lots of fun to be had with a massive box before carting it off to the tip. Why not cut off one side and add some windows for an instant playhouse? If you’re feeling extra creative, you could even use the leftover card to create castle turrets or the wings of a rocket ship.
Once finished, perhaps it becomes a reading nook for story time, or you take some favourite toys inside to play. Whatever you do, make sure it’s a fun and exciting place to be. You could even get out some fairy lights and blankets to make it extra cosy.
And everything in between…
Here are some more activities that are perfect for medium-sized boxes:
- Sit baby in the box and push them around them room. You could try this with younger babies too simply by laying them on their tummies and tearing down the sides so they have a better view.
- Sit or lay baby down in the box with some balls. They’ll be fascinated by how they rebound off the sides and might even start to throw or kick them out as they explore.
- Fill the box with small toys, tape it up and cut some holes in the side, then watch as baby puts their arms through the holes to retrieve their mystery items.
So, there you have it, 5 cheap and easy ways to keep your baby entertained at home. Enjoy!
Looking for more inspiration? Why not sign up to an online baby class? Not only will you get to learn new skills (including massage techniques, yoga stretches, and songs) to keep baby entertained, you’ll also be added into a WhatsApp group, so you can share your experiences with other parents. Click here to see the latest courses and start dates.
Blog post provided by Refreshing Stories: Copywriting Service & Marketing Communications Consultancy