It sounds funny to be writing this post as many will think, “That is such a weird question. Babies are so easy to please!” Yes, that is true. But try being a Stay-at-home-mom 24/7 and you might think differently! I am constantly running out of ideas to keep Cobi entertained, stimulated, involved etc. It seems he is all of a sudden awake a lot more often than he was in the early months. And since babies have a short attention span, bouncing them on your knee singing “The Wheels On The Bus” is only going to last maybe five minutes before either baby, OR YOU, get bored!
1. Bounce them on your knee and sing songs – around 4 months old is when they start to appreciate this! Any song will work, I’ve sung everything from “Glad you Came” by the Wanted to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and he just giggles and giggles.
2. Stack blocks and knock them over. This is actually a great developmental activity and within a few months your baby will be knocking them over themselves!
3. Take frequent walks. Cobi s just about 6 months and so we put him in the stroller without the carseat for the first time and he loved this newfound ability to look out at the world around him.
4. Take tours of your house, go through each room telling your baby all about it, things you love about it, things you don’t love, asking your baby what they like and so on.
5. Play in the grass
6. Have “dance parties” – this has always been one of my favorite activities to do with kids of ANY age. I get a great workout and babies get a kick out of it. Sometimes I will hold Cobi and dance with him, or put him down and he watches me, either way, he loves it!
7. Read books to your baby. I wasn’t sure what age to start reading, but now I think the younger the better! At 6 months you baby will probably try to grab and eat the book and that is great. Just the act of reading cultivates learning and developmental growth; and an interest in literature.
8. Play the opposites game – hold you baby high in the air and exclaim “high!” then drop your baby to the ground and say “low!” Each opposite will be fun for your baby but educational as well.
a. High; low
b. Hot, cold
c. Quiet, loud
d. Tall, short
e. Open, closed
f. Over, under
g. Light, dark
9. Give baby massages. Rub lotion all over their body and in gentle circular motions, move your hands all over. This is especially a great routine for bedtime! I like to sing a sweet song while giving baby massages too.
10. Look at family pictures – go through everyone in your family, extended family and friends. “See there is Grandma – she loves you so much!"
11. Play in the water – this isn’t just for summertime! Babies can experience the fun that water is in your own home. Try putting their feet in the sink and running warm water, they may start to splash!
12. Include baby in your chores – one thing I for sure didn’t want was my son to think that just because he’s here every moment is about entertaining him. Fact is we all have other things to get done. Eventually children will learn to occupy themselves for a time while parents get things done, but as babies this can’t be taught yet. Including them in on your life will aid in molding them into lovely little helpers in the future. One of Cobi’s favorite chores is making dinner. Sometimes he’ll sit in his bouncer chair, or on my back in the baby carrier – the whole while I will explain to him in detail what I am doing. “Oh let’s make some stir fry! Do you know how to cut an onion? Here we go! Remember to always be careful with knives, they’re sharp!”
13. Tummy time – but do it with your baby!! My son loves when I get down to his level and play with him. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort, really all I have to do is lay on my tummy opposite of him and talk to him. He loves every second.
14. Bubbles!! I didn’t even know this, but babies love bubbles even at this age.
15. Include him in on any of your activities with a baby carrier – my son will do almost anything I do when he is in the baby carrier. In the carrier he has the freedom to look around and observe or interact from a safe place and the ability to fall asleep if need be.
16. Take a tour of the yard or neighborhood pointing our trees, colors, the sky and any other surroundings. It may seem elementary to you but babies are a sponge for learning.
17. Try finger painting! It sounds messy and insane to do with a 6 month old, but they will love the colors and texture of the paint. Try doing it outside or on the kitchen floor to make for easy clean-up.
18. Do a baby photoshoot! Cobi finds the camera very intriguing! Some babies also like to pose and smile as early as this age.
19. Encourage pretend play. Take some stuffed animals and make up a story, making them communicate and interact with other animals and your baby. Of course baby may just gnaw on the animals and pull their ears, but it’s a great start to encouraging PLAY as learning!
20. Lastly- love love love!! I never knew how much I would ADORE smothering my son in kisses; funny thing, he LOVES the kisses! He coos and squeals with delight each and every time we kiss him. At 6 months old he’s started kissing back and giving hugs by wrapping his arms around our neck and slobbering on our face. It’s so sweet and who doesn’t love baby love!