After feeding your baby, burping him, and changing his diaper, you’re left thinking – now what? You could go for another walk with the stroller, but surely there are more exciting things to do with your baby?
From family-friendly movie theaters to teaching your wee one how to finger paint, there are tons of exciting things to do with baby both at home and outside the house.
Some activities, such as enrolling in a baby yoga class, can even expand your social circle and introduce you to fellow mamas. There, you can chat about breastfeeding, teething, and all the other challenges you face during your baby’s first year.
On the other hand, activities such as dancing, singing, or even going swimming together, help you bond with your baby and develop a strong emotional connection.
For mamas of toddlers, I’ve also prepared many activities to help your energetic tot blow off steam and have fun at the same time.
Don’t forget to research baby-friendly activities in your own area as you might stumble upon exciting Baby & Me classes that I haven’t mentioned on this list!
Fun Things To Do With Baby During The First Year
Those chubby cheeks and chunky legs… babies are simply adorable! But since they’re not as advanced as toddlers, it can be hard to figure out what fun activities you can do during your baby’s first year. Here are some fun suggestions!
1. Blowing bubbles
If you’re searching for a fun baby activity that will make your little one burst out into excited laughter, look no further than blowing bubbles!
You can find bubble blowers in the toy section in most supermarkets but if you have extra time on your hands and like DIY projects, you can try making some at home.
Either way, your little one will be absolutely mesmerized by all the soap bubbles and will try to pop them!
2. Finger painting
Even though your baby still hasn’t celebrated his first birthday, that doesn’t mean he can’t create some amazing finger painting artwork!
But, be warned – when babies try to paint, they like to get paint on anything and everything in reach, including your clothes!
Make sure to set up your baby’s art station in an area that’s easy to clean. If you have access to a backyard, I recommend finger painting while enjoying some fresh air.
Some canny parents have also figured out that finger painting in a bathtub (an empty one, of course) is a great way to avoid too much messiness and makes for a quick cleanup.
There are numerous benefits to painting as an activity for babies. It stimulates their imagination and develops creativity, and you’ll love watching your little baby’s face light up at the sight of all those pretty colors.
But the safety of the paint is a number one priority for every new mom. After all, it’s bound to end up in your baby’s mouth (not to mention on his sensitive skin) so it’s important to go with a baby-safe and non-toxic option.
You can also make edible finger paint for your baby by mixing flour, water, and food coloring.
This activity is great for babies who are 6 months old or older – at this point, they have already started eating solid baby food , including meat, so even if they end up ingesting a bit of edible paint, it won’t harm them.
If your baby is younger than 6 months, or still hasn’t started solids, you can still incorporate paint into his playtime. Just put some paint into a ziplock bag, seal it, and hand it to your baby.
He’ll love squishing it in his hands and seeing how the paint reacts to being squeezed!
3. Play peek-a-boo
The classic game of peek-a-boo involves one parent covering their face with their hands (or hiding behind another object), before suddenly revealing their face again, eliciting tons of laughter from their baby.
Even though this is usually considered to be a game for babies, toddlers enjoy it too!
This game is based on the concept of object permanence, which is the idea that an object still exists even though you can’t see it. Babies usually begin understanding this concept from 4 months of age.
There are also other toys that can develop this concept but peek-a-boo is the easiest way to do it!
You can also play hide and seek with the baby’s favorite toys. Hide them under a cushion or blanket and encourage the baby to look for them by asking, “Where’s teddy gone?”
4. Practice tummy time
There’s nothing like tummy time to develop your baby’s gross motor skills which make up the foundation of activities such as crawling, walking, and running.
Although not all babies love tummy time in the beginning, you can make it fun!
Place your baby, tummy down, on a non-toxic play mat , then get in the same position so that you can talk to your baby and make him laugh. Bring some toys for an extra dose of fun.
Even though the importance of tummy time can’t be understated, you should also remember not to push it if you notice your baby isn’t enjoying it.
Your baby should have positive associations when it comes to spending time on his tummy, otherwise, he’ll start crying whenever you put him there.
5. Practice crawling games
Before learning how to walk, most babies crawl to get from point A to point B. This exciting new stage begins between 6 and 12 months of age, although it’s possible for some babies to skip it entirely.
To encourage your baby to crawl and develop those important muscles, he’ll need to stand up and walk. You can try placing a few toys just outside his play mat and encourage him to crawl over to get them.
Another alternative is to get a pack of colorful post-it notes, paste them on a wall, and watch as your wee one makes his way over to grab them.
6. Go hiking
Hiking may be physically demanding but it does wonders for your mental health. What’s more, your baby will love the change of scenery and the fresh air!
Hiking also allows you to meet other parents, socialize, and make new friends, which is something every parent needs.
Most new parents who like to take their babies hiking do so with the help of a quality baby carrier which keeps the baby safe and allows you to bond with your little one.
But before you hit the trail with your baby in tow, you should make sure that the route is family-friendly and not too difficult.
Even if you’re an experienced hiker, you’ll find that walking for hours with a 20-pound baby is more taxing than you had imagined.
However, if you’ve never hiked before, I suggest you do some googling and prep beforehand. You don’t want to be an hour into the hike and realize you forgot to pack sunscreen and an extra pack of snacks!
I also recommend hiking the trail on your own first to make sure it’s safe before bringing your baby.
7. Let baby explore a bag
When my kids were little, I had to warn anyone coming over for a visit to put away their purse or bag somewhere where the baby couldn’t reach it.
Why? Because in the blink of an eye, all of the contents of the bag would be spilt all over the floor and the baby would be chewing on a wallet, most likely.
If you put a basket or a bag filled with various items in front of a baby, you can bet that he’ll have a blast exploring it and playing with the different toys.
Apart from toys, you can throw in a couple of common household items, such as hand towels, gloves, a baby spoon, etc.
8. Go for a picnic
If the weather allows, one of my favorite things to do with baby is to have a picnic at your local park (or your backyard, if you don’t feel like leaving the house) to get some fresh air and catch some vitamin D.
Being outside will lift your spirits and your baby will love all the different sights and sounds. The best part about picnics is that they don’t require lots of prep.
All you need is a blanket, drinks, and food. Most of these items can easily fit in the storage basket of your baby stroller!
While you’re at the park, you can take some adorable pictures with your baby, point out new objects to him, and maybe even meet other moms.
9. Have a dance party
Even though your wee one isn’t old enough to use his two feet to dance to the music, he still enjoys listening to it! Getting up and dancing with your baby in your arms will instantly lift your spirits and bring excitement to a boring afternoon.
Sing along to the music (even if you’re far from being the next American Idol) as your baby loves hearing the sounds of your voice!
10. Blow up balloons
I’m sure you have a couple of balloons leftover from a previous birthday party or baby shower that you could now put to good use.
Since balloons are light enough for a baby to safely kick, they will be tons of fun for your kiddo – just make sure he doesn’t squeeze the balloon too tight and pop it!
11. Check out the events in your community
Just because you have a baby doesn’t mean you should sit at home 24/7. When time allows, do a bit of digging on social media to find out if there are any fun events taking place in your community that you could visit with your baby.
Some of my favorite things to do with my baby included visiting markets or fairs and many such community events set up a special play area for kids where your little one can make new friends and get used to a different environment.
Keep in mind, though, that if this is the first time you’re taking your baby to an event where there are many people and loud noises, your baby might quickly get overwhelmed and cry, so be prepared!
Putting together chunky wooden puzzles is one of the best activities to do with a 1 year old, especially because such toys develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
At first, your baby might be more interested in putting the individual pieces in his mouth, so it’s best to put puzzles together with your baby as a joint activity.
13. Look at a photo album
Babies love looking at faces, so the next time you’re all out of ideas for how to entertain your baby, just find an old photo album to flip through.
Although your baby isn’t able to understand you yet, point out the names of different people and their facial features, such as the nose, mouth, eyes, etc.
14. Make music
Music classes for babies and parents are a great way for the youngest of kids to explore music and socialize with others.
However, if you don’t have access to such classes or simply haven’t got the time, you can give your baby a bit of freedom to make music on his own.
Toy xylophones and other baby-friendly versions of musical instruments are always a fantastic choice but don’t underestimate the power of good old fashioned pots and pans. Yes, it will be loud – but your baby will have so much fun!
15. Storytime with board books
Your baby is still too young to follow actual stories in children’s books but you can have plenty of fun reading board books.
Bright illustrations and colorful characters make storytime appealing at this age – try to describe what’s going on in each illustration and point out different people, animals, etc.
Another advantage of introducing your child to books at an early age is that it sets the stage for good reading habits later on in life.
Although there’s a plethora of board books available online, you can always head to your local library to check out new books for your little reader.
16. Teach your baby sign language
Before your baby can communicate using words, he can learn how to express himself using baby sign language. It refers to easy hand gestures that carry meaning such as ‘drink’, ‘hungry’, ‘milk’.
You can start teaching your baby sign language between 4 and 6 months of age.
You don’t need to set aside an hour of your time every day for ‘lessons’, per se – the easiest way to teach your baby is to gesture the sign for a particular activity while you’re doing it.
For example, when giving your baby a bottle, you can make the sign for ‘milk’ while saying the word out loud. Keep repeating this every day and with time, you’ll notice your baby signing ‘milk’ when he’s hungry.
This usually happens between 6 and 9 months of age, so be patient.
It’s best to start off with only a few words every day (pick the ones you use most often) so that your baby isn’t too overwhelmed with all the new information.
17. Baby yoga
Yoga is a great way to relax and give your body a good workout at the same time. For new moms, there is prenatal and postnatal yoga in addition to baby yoga, which includes your wee one in your yoga practice.
This is one of the best things to do with your baby outside the house as you might be able to find a yoga studio in your area giving out such classes. You can meet other new mamas and bond over your shared experiences.
But if you’d prefer to stay home, then you can rely on numerous online resources to help you get started. All you’ll need is a yoga mat and your baby, of course.
Depending on how far along you are in the recovery of your postpartum body, you might want to check with your doctor if it’s safe to exercise.
18. Go to a baby-friendly movie theater
With a new baby, the thought of going to see a movie seems crazy! The volume inside the theater is high and the flashing lights are guaranteed to disturb your kiddo.
Thankfully, there are movie theaters organizing showings that cater to parents of young children.
Auditoriums at these places are usually brighter than usual and the volume is lower, so your baby won’t be too startled by all the lights and sounds. I also recommend putting your baby in a carrier so that he’s close to you.
What’s more, during a regular movie showing, the audience is expected to be quiet and sit still but when it comes to kid-friendly showings, kids are free to dance or sing without the rest of the auditorium glaring in your direction.
Still, make sure to check the rules regarding their kid-friendly showings at a particular theater, to make sure you can comfortably watch a movie there.
19. Swim classes
If there is a baby swimming class (or simply a baby-friendly pool) in your area, then I definitely recommend checking it out!
It’s a great exercise for both you and your baby. What’s more, your baby will get accustomed to spending time in water from a young age.
As a result of the early exposure to water, your baby is likely to learn how to swim early on and won’t be afraid of jumping in the water, more so than other kids who didn’t get the chance to swim as babies.
Another potential benefit of baby swimming classes is improved self-confidence, as your baby will be surrounded by other kids his age and will learn how to interact with them.
If you have more than one child, this is a great opportunity to get some one-on-one time as well.
Finally, as swimming requires a lot of energy, your baby won’t have any trouble falling asleep at night!
Fun Things To Do With Toddlers
With seemingly endless amounts of energy, toddlers can be a real challenge when it comes to keeping them entertained! Here are some fun things to do with toddlers at home and outside.
Once your baby is old enough to hold a pencil or crayon in his hands, he can start practicing how to draw all on his own!
If you’re worried that your tot will make the entire house his canvas (including your walls) then place him in a high chair during drawing time.
In addition, make sure to keep all crayons out of reach when your child is unsupervised to avoid any incidents.
Drawing and coloring not only develops the child’s creativity but also his fine motor skills, which can improve writing and dexterity later on.
2. Put together a sensory activity
Sensory activities are a great way to keep toddlers busy and introduce them to different textures. You can easily make a sensory bin with some sand or rice, maybe even throw in a couple of toys for an extra dose of fun.
Other ideas for sensory activities include playdough, slime (you can make it at home!), and even ice.
Since sensory activities can get pretty messy, it’s best to do them outside if possible.
3. Clean together
Yes, your toddler will clean with you if you disguise it as a fun activity. Some kids like to be independent at a young age, and if you show them how to do things such as cleaning up, they’ll happily join you just to demonstrate how “grown-up” they are.
Give your child their very own cleaning equipment and help him wipe the table, the countertops, or let him hold the dustpan as you sweep the floor.
4. Play doctor
Toddlers and preschoolers love pretend play. It does wonders for their imagination and they find it fun because they get to imitate grown-ups.
When playing doctor, all you need to do is lie on the couch and make up one illness after another while your little MD checks your temperature and gives you medicine.
If you have a kids outdoor playhouse, go outside and let your toddler cook some lunch in his little house and help him “clean up” afterwards. He’ll love that you’re playing along and this makes for a great bonding opportunity.
5. Wash the car
On a warm day when your kids are getting cabin fever, it’s an excellent idea to gather everyone and organize a car wash in your backyard.
Tots get very excited every time there’s an opportunity to splash around, so this activity is a guaranteed success.
What’s more, it teaches kids valuable skills such as cleaning and how to take care of important possessions. Remember to dress your toddler in clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. If it’s very hot, the kids can even wear a swimsuit.
6. Make a milkshake
If your toddler’s fine motor skills have developed enough to add cut-up fruit to a blender (under your supervision, of course!) without making too much of a mess, then you can make a milkshake together!
If you have never made a milkshake before, you can always google some easy recipes to try.
They’re usually made with cow’s milk but if you’re lactose intolerant or vegan, you can replace it with almond milk or another alternative.
While you’re doing the cutting, let your toddler add the fruit to the blender and press the button to mix the whole thing together.
This is a great opportunity for you to sneak in some healthy ingredients and get your toddler to eat veggies he normally wouldn’t want to touch, let alone eat.
7. The floor is lava
We’ve all played this super fun game as kids, where you pretend that the floor is lava and you’re only allowed to step on specific areas to stay safe. As soon as your baby is able to walk unsupported, you can play some variation of this game.
I recommend using tape to glue pieces of paper to the floor and then watch as your kids jump from one to the other to protect themselves from the “lava”.
This is a great activity for kids to do on a rainy day when you don’t feel like going outside but still need to find a way to let your kids blow off some steam.
8. Draw with chalk
Drawing with chalk is a great thing to do with toddlers of all ages – doodling on your sidewalk just never gets old!
When the weather allows, gather your chalk supplies and let your tot create all sorts of sidewalk masterpieces. Be sure to join in!
When regular chalk gets boring, you can make DIY chalk paint. There are tons of recipes online and most include common household ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
9. Homemade bowling alley
This is another fun activity for tots of all ages that will improve their gross motor skills and keep them occupied for hours. To make a bowling alley at home, all you need are 10 empty plastic bottles and a small ball.
Arrange the bottles in a triangle shape and show your little one how the game works. Then, take turns throwing the ball and rearranging the pins.
It’s the perfect game for birthday parties or when your kids have friends over since you can have as many players as you like.
If you’d like to kick your homemade bowling alley up a notch, feel free to paint the plastic bottles.
10. Popping bubble wrap
Is there a more calming activity than popping bubble wrap? Probably not! And kids love it just as much as adults.
So, if you have some bubble wrap leftover from that Amazon package you last ordered, now is the time to put it to good use.
The finger movement that’s required for popping the bubbles actually improves the child’s fine motor skills and pincer grasp, so this is an activity that helps your kiddo develop important skills too!
11. Cardboard box basketball
Your tot might be too young to play actual basketball but, with a simple cardboard box, you can make him feel like he’s the star of his own NBA game!
All you’ll need is a cardboard box that you can set up anywhere in your home. Depending on your child’s height, you can place the box on the floor or on a chair to make the activity more interesting.
Then, give your child a ball and encourage him to throw it into the box from different distances.
If cardboard box basketball gets boring, I guarantee you that your tot will find another way to play with that box so remember to always keep a couple of them in your garage just in case.
The Bottom Line
Before your baby’s first birthday, it can seem like there isn’t much you can do in terms of fun, except for playing with baby toys and going for the occasional walk.
However, when you try to think outside the box for a minute, you’ll realize there are so many fantastic things to do with your baby that you might have not thought of before!
Going for a hike, for example, is a wonderful way to take a break in nature from your everyday life and introduce your baby to the great outdoors.
Apart from improving your mental wellbeing, I love how hiking helps me stay fit, so I recommend it to all parents.
Since parenthood can often be isolating, remember to seek out parenting groups or baby & me classes where you can make new friends and have your baby learn how to socialize from a young age. This is so important for a child’s confidence!
When it comes to having fun at home, keep in mind that you don’t need toys that cost upward of a hundred dollars for your kids to be entertained.
As you can see, a simple cardboard box or a couple of plastic bottles can create the most memorable games.
I hope you were able to find the perfect activity for your little family!
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