In home play ideas to entertain your 6-12 month old

It’s challenging being indoors day after day for anyone during this pandemic, but it’s probably harder for you than for your baby. Babies are pretty adaptable, and as long as they have you, they have everything they could possibly need. But it certainly helps to have some ideas to keep them amused, stimulated, and distracted for those moments when they’re restless or unsettled.

Play for babies doesn’t have to be complicated to set up, and you don’t need to buy expensive new toys. Even just at home, the world for them is vast and fascinating. It’s the items around the house that hold the most interest for them, so fun can be found in the least obvious places.

Let’s have a look at some easy in-home play ideas to keep your 6-12 month old baby amused:

Play with fabric scraps or scarves Fabric and scarves are colourful, tactile, fun, and easy to grab and manipulate. You can hide them under the play mat for your baby to search for them, or use them to play peekaboo, throw them in the air, and swish them around.

Play peekaboo From about six months, when separation anxiety can start to appear in your baby, playing this game demonstrates that a little separation followed by a happy reunion helps to build their trust and comfort.

Edible finger paints Making edible finger paints is easy using only two ingredients: yoghurt and natural food dye. Ensure that yoghurt is safe for your baby to eat first (over six months), as in they should have eaten it at least three times prior without any reaction. Use Greek yoghurt (or any other dairy alternative) without any added fruit or sweeteners, and add a drop or two of natural food dye.

Edible playdough Here’s a simple recipe using only a few baby-friendly ingredients from your kitchen…because let’s face, everything ends up in their mouth!

Cardboard box What you can do with a cardboard box is only limited by your imagination. Tip a big one on its side, and hang fairy lights, or ribbons or toys from the top, and let your baby sit or lie in it. Head to Pinterest for a ton of fun ideas!

Stacking blocks Show your baby how to stack blocks and then knock them over. Count them, talk about their sizes and colours to enhance their language development.

Posting box Using a shoe box, ice cream tub, or any container with a lid, cut a few holes in it and show your baby how to ‘post’ toys or household objects, such as pegs and jar lids.

Action songs Songs such as ‘The wheels on the bus’, ‘If you’re happy and you know it’, and  ‘Head, shoulders, knees, and toes’ are lots of fun and will build their language development, increase their attention span and social awareness, whilst teaching them about body parts.

Treasure basket Fill a laundry or toy basket with random objects from around the house. Raid your kitchen cupboards for containers, colanders, utensils, and cups. An old purse, a hairbrush, a packet of wipes, an empty lotion pot. Babies love exploring anything new! (Just ensure there are no small parts and you always supervise them).

Baby fort Make a fort with a blanket and some chairs, and then fill it with teddies and toys. Snuggle up inside together to chat and read some books.

Bonus tips to playing with your baby during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Try to think of this time at home as being safe inside, rather than stuck inside. 
  • Let your baby help and watch with household chores. Babies just love to be around their grownups, so don’t feel you need to do all of the housework when your baby sleeps.
  • Move your baby from room to room with you to vary their surroundings.
  • Take them outside to play in the backyard if you have one, and let them play in the dirt or sand. When the weather’s nice, take a load of toys outside and a mat or play on the grass for a fun sensory experience.
  • Getting outdoors is incredibly important for both of you, so remember you can still go outside for a walk around the block.

 

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