Learning Land

Newborn Playtime

My little man slept pretty well at the beginning of his life, but around six weeks, he developed reflux, and this left him awake a lot more during the day. He was no longer a good sleeper, and definitely did not sleep the “normal” amount of hours that newborns typically get. It was at this time I thought, now what? Below are ten activities that I did on a regular basis for the first three months of little man’s life. I know that some of them are very basic, but hopefully you see a few new ideas for you to try!

  1. Play mat – This saved me! Little man loved his play mat. I could hang anything I wanted over his head for him to grab at, and it had a piano at his feet that he could kick. The play mat came with toys that hung down, but I changed these things out every now and then. Toys are fun to hang, but my little man loved different ribbons as well! Keep in mind if you do decide to use ribbons, make sure they are secure, and please don’t leave your baby alone.
  2. Bubbles – Bubbles are great at any age, just watch where you blow them. My little man did not want them anywhere near him, but liked to look at them. Who doesn’t love bubbles?!
  3. Scarves – Such a simple thing became my little man’s favorite toy. I bought colored scarves, but any lightweight scarf will work. You can use the scarf songs, I found at the following links below, or just wave them around. I would toss, twirl, and wave a scarf, and little man loved it! He also liked playing peek-a-boo, and feeling it on different parts of his body.
    Scarf songs:
    Jbrary
    Preschool Express
    Adventures of a Bookworm
  4. Lap sit rhymes – I would lay little man on our bed (which he loved to be on), and then sing/say the rhymes. Most of them want the baby to be sitting on your lap (hence lap sit rhyme), but if your baby doesn’t have head control yet, it’s not a good idea. So I would just move his legs and arms. Some of the ones we used were:
    “Roly Poly”
    “Bumping up and down on my little red wagon”
    “Pat-a-cake”
    “A smooth road”
    “A bouncing we will go”
    “The grand old duke of York”
    “This is the way the ladies ride”
    “Wheels on the Bus”
  5. Read – Any book is great, but my little man especially liked touch-and-feel books. I would take his hand and touch each picture, letting him feel the different textures.
  6. Sing & Dance – I love Disney and musicals, so little man hears a lot of these songs, but any music will work, just put it on and gently bounce and twirl around. Add some rattles for extra fun! Little man loves rattles!
  7. Tub time – My little man hated bath time until he was able to be put in the tub. So get your bathroom nice and warm and both of you get in together! Little man was able to explore the water differently when I was holding him!
  8. Tummy time – That dreaded tummy time! Little man hated it! When he was not screaming, he did enjoy mirrors! He also loved looking at black and white pictures! So get on eye level and talk to your baby while they look at things!
  9. Sensory play –
    •  Sight – Black and white pictures are great for newborns to look at, and help them explore their sense of sight
    •  Smell – Smell bottles. I use empty spice jars and essential oils for this, but any bottles and smells will work. Just waft the smells toward your baby.
    •  Touch – Touch & Feel books, sensory bags, or household items
    •  Hearing – Rattles, musical toys, and any music your baby likes
    •  Taste – Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can really do here yet; although we did let little man take a few licks of an apple! Also, babies explore everything by mouthing it (I’m sure you’ve noticed!), so I guess that kind of qualifies as tasting. I’m not sure that it taste like much though!
  10. House tour – I did this in my house because it was winter, but outside would be nice too. Just walk to different places and point out and talk about different objects as you pass them. This is a great activity for building language development!

 

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