Activities for Babies

Find creative games and activities to help you entertain and stimulate your 0 to 1½,-year-old child.

A Reading Checklist: Birth Through Age Six

A Reading Checklist: Birth Through Age Six There are many ways to encourage your child to become involved in reading. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help stay on track: For Babies (Six Weeks to One Year) Do I provide a comfortable place for our story time? Is my child happy to be here? read more

Beanbag Toss

Beanbag TossTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Large laundry basketPlastic sandwich bags or old socksPackage of dry beans Directions read more

Blow a Kiss

Blow a KissTime 5 minutes Materials None Directions You can teach your baby to give a gift of love as you blow a kiss to her and encourage copying blowing a kiss by spreading open your arms and saying, "Blow me a kiss." Extensions Help your baby copy you and blow a kiss back.Blow kisses to each other in front of the mirror. read more

Buzzy Bee

Buzzy BeeTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials None Directions Communications can be fun when they are silly. While holding your baby on your lap, move your fingers around in the air and make a buzzing sound. Make thebuzzy bee land on your baby's tummy with a tickle. Repeat for as long as your baby is interested. Extensions read more

Calm Down

Calm DownTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials None Directions To get your child to listen to you, get down on their eye level and speak slowly while making eye contact. Keep what you have to say simple and short. Extensions The next time you are shopping and see a child fussing about something, talk quietly to your child about her behavior. Practice making eye contact with your child by a silly game of staring into each other's eyes. read more

Can You Hear Me?

Can You Hear Me?Time 5 to 10 minutes Materials Large pieces of furniture to hide behind Directions In this variation of peekaboo, you hide behind a piece of furniture. Call your baby by name, grabbing their attention before you pop out. Extensions Play this game by calling from a nearby room. Play this game using a large bath towel to cover your head. Peek out from the side of your baby's bed after naptime. read more

Change It

Change ItTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Cupboard with safe items that can be removed Directions To engender curiosity and safe exploration, make it a habit to put heavy breakable items in overhead cabinets and safe objects in the lower ones and encourage rummaging through them. Good low level candidates include pots and pans, cookie sheets, small canned goods, bottled items, paper bags and small boxes, potatoes. Extensions read more

Climb Aboard

Climb AboardTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials None Directions By positioning yourself on the floor in a playful position, you invite a decision to participate.While lying on the floor, call your crawling baby to come play with you.Let your baby approach and initiate the rest of the game, such as climbing on top of you. Extensions read more

Early Conversations

Early ConversationsTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials None Directions Babies are fascinated with faces and voices, and your first communications are through the sounds you make and the nearness of your face. It doesn't matter what you say, as long as you are up close and personal, so chatter away Extensions read more

Echo Excitement

Echo ExcitementTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials MailboxDirections While you are out on a walk, stop at your mailbox, lift up your baby, and as you open the lid, shout inside. The echo is terrific and will bring surprised looks and more calling and echoes. It is likely that this will become a favorite destination for walks. Extensions Take turns hollering into the mailbox.Sing a simple song into it. read more

Floating Catch

Floating CatchTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Variety of lightweight scarves of different colors and patterns Directions As you sit on the floor together, throw a scarf into the air and catch it in your arms as it floats back down.Throw another scarf and tell your baby to hold out her arms so that it falls there.Continue playing with both of you catching scarves. Extensions read more

Fun with Faces

Fun with FacesTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials None Directions It is always fun for your baby to explore your face. Put your baby's hand on one part of your face or head, such as your nose, mouth, chin, ear, etc. and say what it is. Extensions Take turns going back and forth between the baby's body parts and yours. Talk about what you are doing. Use a stuffed animal or doll to point to body parts. read more

Icebergs

IcebergsTime 15 to 20 minutes Materials Empty half-gallon milk cartonHand-sized plastic objectsShallow baking dish Directions read more

It's Playtime, Baby! 12 Simple Developmental Activities to Try with Your Tot

Stumped on ideas for how to play with your baby? These fun and easy activities help stimulate your infant's development — and bring on some adorable smiles and giggles. And remember, much of your baby's learning in her first year will happen naturally as you talk, read, make faces, and interact with her every day. Please share your baby's favorite simple playtime activities in our comments section below. read more

On a Roll

On a RollTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Small baby blanket Directions Babies learn to roll over on their own and don't need to be taught, but you can help to strengthen the muscles involved by laying your baby on her side and providing support from behind with a rolled up blanket.Lay down adjacent to your baby and encourage reaching for you. Eventually, she will topple forward and be able to do so at will. Extensions read more

Peek-a-Boo 101

Peek-a-Boo 101A child's first year of life is filled with so many developmentalchanges. In their first months, babies explore with their eyes, ears, hands,feet, and mouth. At about seven months, babies begin sitting alone -- freeing uptheir hands for more active and exciting exploration. Look out -- pretty soonthey'll begin crawling.Who's calling me? read more

Pile Them High

Pile Them HighTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Flat empty boxes from shoes, cereal, etc. Directions Deciding where to place things makes this activity fun and is an early lesson in balancing. Show your baby how to stack the boxes and then hand them to him, one at a time, encouraging and assisting with the stacking. Extensions read more

Pillow Fun

Pillow FunTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Small pile of pillows Directions This activity needs little more than your encouragement to provide giggles and smiles. Pile the pillows in the middle of the floor and put your baby on top of them.Fluff the pillows around her body so it feels soft and talk about what you are doing as you play. Extensions read more

Playing with Baby

Playing with Baby Q-tip Don't feel as if you always have to be "on." Both you and your baby will have "down times" and you need to respect these moods by providing calmer, quieter activities. Timing is everything. Your baby will be most responsive to your playfulness when she is both alert and unfussy. If you try to play when your child is hungry or tired or sick or upset, both you and she will gain nothing but frustration. read more

Playing with Your Baby

Playing with Your Baby Your baby will love it if you take some time to play games with her in your lap. You don't need to do much. She will find these simple exercises endlessly entertaining: read more

Pointing Power

Pointing PowerTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials None Directions Everything has a name, and it is fun to hear the words. Teach your baby to point at objects so you can say what they are. It will quickly become a game to your baby. Extensions Reverse the game by asking, "What's that?" as you point to objects. Play this game in the car as you look out the windows. read more

Silly Stuff

Silly StuffTime 5 minutes Materials Common household items Directions To encourage the development of humor, notice what your baby finds funny and repeat it.Try shaking your head and talking in a funny voice. Generally, anything out of the ordinary will make babies laugh as long as it is not startling or loud. Extensions read more

Sticky Fun

Sticky FunTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Duct tapeHand-sized objectsA sheet of contact paper about 2 feet long Directions This activity will surprise and mystify your baby. Lay the contact paper out on the floor sticky-side up and tape it down around the edges with duct tape.Place the objects on it and lift them off together. Extensions read more

String Along

String AlongTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Hand-sized objectsA piece of thick yarn 2 to 3 feet long Directions Something as simple as grabbing for a toy helps to teach your baby how to control the environment. Tie the object or toy to one end of the piece of yarn and put the other end in your baby's hand.Demonstrate pulling to bring the item closer. Extensions read more

Texture Crawl

Texture CrawlTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Safe articles with interesting textures, such as a rubber floor mat, carpet samples, silk scarves, chenille rug, bubble wrap, a piece of corduroy, velvet, satin, sticky side of a piece of contact paper, etc. Directions Your crawling baby will love feeling these interesting articles if you scatter them across the floor. Get down on the floor and explore them together, using words like cool, smooth, and bumpy to talk about what you feel. read more

That Makes Three

That Makes ThreeTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials 3 medium-sized items such as a washrag, yarn ball, small cup, or set of keys Directions Hand control is still developing, but with this activity you throw in decision making as well. Sit on the floor with your baby and put an object in each hand.Offer a third object, and let your baby figure out how to put down a toy in order to pick up another. Extensions read more

Touch Tour

Touch TourTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Safe common household items Directions Treat your baby to a bird's eye view of the world and a chance to touch things too high to reach. Carry your baby around at your eye level and name each object as you touch it. Include things like wall hangings, raised letters, doorbells, and stone or brickwork. Extensions read more

Tummy Time

Tummy TimeTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials None Directions Playing from the tummy position allows for a different view of the world. Although it is recommended that babies sleep on their backs as a precaution against SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), your baby can still benefit from exercise in the tummy position while awake. Lay your baby on his tummy and get down on that level, making faces and noises to encourage raising his head, which strengthens the neck and upper body muscles. read more

Unwrap It

Unwrap ItTime 10 to 15 minutes Materials Empty box wrapped in paper Directions Babies love to unwrap boxes, and you can cater to that joyful activity by wrapping a few to be torn open. Extensions Enclose small favorite belongings like blankets, books, or toys.Substitute the newspaper comics for wrapping paper.Wrap a few pieces of cereal or crackers inside. read more

Water Play

Water PlayTime 30 minutes Materials Wading or plastic tub with a few inches of waterWaterplay equipment such as empty squeeze bottles, plastic cups, boats, funnels, balls, floating objects, plant sprayer, sponge or dish rag, etc. Directions read more