Play time at home can be super fun! Especially in the dead of winter when its too cold to do much more than walk to the car and back or in the hot hot North Carolina summer months when getting outside is tricky with a tiny baby.
Here are some ideas to try:
1) Play with recycling! Paper and plastic cups make great stacking toys and so do cardboard boxes. Waterbottles in the recycling bin? Rinse them out and create a sensory toy by re-filling it with about 1/3 vegetable oil, 2/3 water and glitter. Advertisements come in the mail? Let baby rip them up for a fun fine motor skills moment. Remember to supervise and watch for choking hazards!
2) Puff ball games! If you find yourself at the dollar store, pick up a pack of puffballs and try a sensory or fine motor skills game. Use straws and blow a little air in baby's face and on her skin. Blow on the puff balls and see if your baby will chase them or pick them up. She may throw the puffballs back or just grab at them, depending on the age of your baby. As baby's grip gets stronger, help her try to pick up the puff balls with a wooden clothespin or a pair of tweezers for an added fine motor skills challenge.
3) Pipe cleaner fun! Pipe cleaners make great weaving toys with a colander. Let your baby or tot practice poking the ends into the holes. As your baby gets older, you can try this with strings and shoelaces too! Pipe cleaners also make great fun when you are out and about. Stow a few in your bag and if you find yourself in a long line or waiting at a restaurant, bring them out and help your child make shapes or twist them together.
4) Make a Drum! Those boxes we were stacking earlier and your new sensory bottle can double as drums too! Give your baby some chop sticks and maybe a pot for a higher pitched sound and have endless noisy fun! You can use almost anything as a drum - so get creative! When you bang the drums with your child you are teaching him rhythm and turn taking!
5) Playdough! When your tot gets to the age that they're not putting things into their mouth as often, you can use playdough for so many great sensory experiences! Squeeze it, poke it with a fork, use cookie cutters to make shapes and then play pretend games with them. Find other objects around the house to make different textures pressed into the playdough. Again, this is your time to show your baby how you can be creative too!
6) Mail Games! Did you get an ad in the mail you were planning to recycle? Try letting your tot have it for a while first. Young babies love to try to rip the cardstock, and paper magazines make fun sounds! Older babies will be able to play mail man by crawling or walking over to a box and putting the mail inside. Us this game to practice one and two step directions with your child! Take turns being the mail man, delivering the mail, opening the mail box. Shoe boxes or small shipping boxes are great for this game!
Do you have other creative ways that you play with your young children? We'd love to hear them! Email me us or Share them in the comments below!