Play ideas for a 3-6 month old

Those first few months with a baby often blend together – the days and the nights, the constant feeding, the physical care – paired with the awe and incredulity that this tiny human is suddenly part of your family… the adjustment to life with this new being is definitely jarring and all-encompassing.

As we become slightly more adjusted to the idea of being a parent, we start to wonder (more and more), “am I doing it ‘right?‘” 

There are so many questions, so much to consider – is this normal? Am I doing that wrong? 

In those early days, we spend so much time caring for a baby that we often find ourselves wondering whether we’re doing enough for our her development. There are so many suggestions for gadgets and tools that are thrust upon us as new parents that it’s hard to imagine we could possibly have everything we need to ensure her brain, body, and social abilities are adequately stimulated…

Many of us face the prospect of going back to work after the first few months, which can bring on a whole host of additional emotions. Whether or not this is something you face, and regardless of how you’re grappling with it (there is no shame in wanting to go back to work – just as there is no shame in wanting or needing to stay home), there is no such thing as a perfect parent. 

Parenting truly is the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter where we come from, what language(s) we speak, what our socio-economic bracket: all parents face the grand responsibility of raising humans. There is no magical equation, no minimum necessary budget (or number of hours) we must spend with baby stimulating activities or materials… 

Here’s the thing: you already have everything your baby needs from you. It’s in your home, in plain view. It’s just a matter of maximizing the materials you use and the interactive time you spend. Here are three simple play ideas for you and your 3-6 month old baby.

simple play idea: Blanket play!

Materials you need: a blanket, towel or sheet and a partner (make it a smaller scarf and scratch the partner)

Instructions:

Simple Play Idea: Naked time

Materials you need: a yoga mat and/or a waterproof pad (Chux or puppy pads work great!)

Instructions:

  • Grab a yoga mat, a waterproof pad, turn up the heat and let your baby lay around naked!
  • Babies learn primarily through movement, and their ability to roam freely, explore their environment, and take in all kinds of sensory information allows them to experience the world and what it means to “become human.”
  • Whether you follow this up with a massage or you’re simply inspired to wait a few extra seconds or minutes after removing a wet diaper, your baby’s body and your close attention, talking about what he’s doing, singing him a song, performing a finger play, talking about body parts, or simply sitting next to him chatting while folding the laundry is a wonderful way to spend a few minutes! 

Simple Play Idea: bubbles

Materials you need: bubbles!

Instructions:

  • Grab some bubbles and blow one onto your wand, letting it stick there.
  • Bring it close to your baby (within 10-12 inches) so she can see it up close. This creates a focal point for her – something interesting on which she may focus her eyes. 
  • She may extend her arm to attempt to reach for it  – at which point she can pop the bubble herself. You can reinforce that action by exclaiming the word, “POP!”
  • Take turns popping bubbles, and encourage your baby’s motor skills (reaching, grasping), cognitive skills (engaging in activities that support “cause and effect”), sensory skills (she must perceive how high to extend her arm, she is visually stimulated by the bubble, and auditorily stimulated by your words), and communication skills (the vocabulary you use, the turn-taking skills you model)

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