Your little one has come such a long way from their newborn days. Suddenly, your 5-month-old baby is working on so many things at once, from sitting up to rolling over, making sounds and reaching for toys—and anything in sight. We’re hoping they’re also sleeping more soundly at night and that you’ve found a groove when it comes to feeding. Celebrate these milestones, mama, both big and small.

This month, wake periods are starting to stretch out a bit, and keeping baby busy during those times isn’t always easy. Your 5-month-old baby may also be more distracted while nursing or feeding at this stage, thanks to their more-developed vision. (So many colors to see!) Aim to keep feeding sessions calm and low-key in terms of stimulation.

Here’s what else you can expect this month.

Related: 5-month-old baby milestones

positive parenting cta

Sensory activities for 5-month-olds

Right now, your 5-month-old is continuing to build upon the skills they’ve learned so far in preparation for some even bigger milestones coming down the pipeline in month 6, such as sitting up to eat and starting solid foods. Big things are coming!

1. Bubbles

Babies and bubbles go together like PB&J. Whether you opt for bubble-blowing indoors or out, watch as your little one keeps their focus on the floating bubble (great for eyesight tracking) and reaches out to touch or pop them. Talk about the size of the bubbles (“Look at the big bubble! Oh, do you see that small bubble over there?”) to help encourage their visual discrimination skills.

2. Sensory bottle

Fill a clear plastic bottle with water and mini pompoms, or other brightly colored materials, and add a bit of glue to the lid before you screw it back on (that way it won’t come unscrewed). Roll it back and forth, shake it, and flip it upside down for your little one to watch and explore.

3. Toy hide-and-seek

Hide a small toy or lovey under a baby blanket, with just one edge peeking out. Ask your baby to find the toy, and when they do, hide it again elsewhere. This miniature version of the game hide-and-seek is sure to delight them—watch for their surprise at the big reveal.

4. Magic box

Fill an empty tissue box with a few small baby-safe objects or toys, like silk play scarves, that they can pull in and out easily. The action of pulling things out of hiding is so satisfying for your little explorer—furthering their grasp of object permanence.

Related: How much sleep does a 5-month-old baby need?

Developmental activities for 5-month-olds

1. Read and re-read

Your little one may start to have some preferences when it comes to books—and that’s a good thing. Reading the same books over and over can help them start to build vocabulary, as they’ll begin to recognize the picture and word pairs they see repeatedly.

2. Airplane

Once your bub is able to hold up their head and neck well and is working on building up the strength to sit by themselves, engage them in a game of airplane. While lying on your back, place your baby’s tummy on your shins. While holding their hands, lift your knees, and help them soar through the air, gently flying them from side to side.

3. Sign language

Incorporating a few baby sign language signs can be useful in helping your little one learn to communicate before they can really speak. Model the signs for milk, more, mama and others that might prove necessary in your daily routines.

Related: I’m teaching my babies sign language with these books

Things to do with a 5-month-old

From the activity mat to activities outside of your house, child development psychologist Dr. Holly Ruhl shares tips for making the most of month five.

Week 1: Museum hopping

Baby now has a keen eye for colors. Check your art museum for family activities that will open baby’s eyes to a new world of colors! Many museums offer weekly events for children to observe galleries or get messy with hands-on activities. Discuss the scenes, colors, and emotions felt in the art pieces and baby will be a discerning patron of the fine arts in no time!

Week 2: Peek-a-boo

The old “out of sight, out of mind” trick may lose its effectiveness as your tot develops object permanence. Embrace baby’s new skill with games like Guess Which Hand, Hide-and-Seek with toys, and Peek-a-Boo! These challenging games will help baby develop expectations about hidden objects and soon find them!

Week 3: Walk for a cause

You are an essential role model in baby’s life. Show your tot how important (and fun!) it is to be physically active and philanthropic by signing up for a charitable walk/run. Bring the stroller and baby carrier so your little one can have multiple vantage points for observing the excitement.

Week 4: Under the sea

Exercise baby’s developing depth perception with a trip to the aquarium. Pique curiosity by gazing at the sea life, listening to tour guides, and touching interactive exhibits. A baby carrier offers a better view of the underwater magic and may foster secure attachment by helping you respond more easily to baby’s oohs and ahhs.

Our favorite products for 5-month-olds

Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Ferguson Mind Cubes

Manhattan Toy


Wimmer-Ferguson Mind Cubes

At five months, soft blocks are an endless source of entertainment. They’re lightweight and easy to grasp and throw, with silky tags they love to tug and mouth. This particular set is also a great way to teach new words and colors!

Bright Starts Oball Classic



Classic Ball

From five months on, this could very well become the longest lasting toy in your house. The squishy open construction is perfect for little fingers and since it’s so lightweight, expect them to be hurling it across the room in no time.

Skip Hop Explore & More Baby's View 3- Stage Activity Center

Skip Hop


Explore & More Baby's View 3- Stage Activity Center

Five months is the perfect age to introduce an activity center–and this best-selling style from Skip Hop is one of our favorites. Developed with a pediatrician, it takes a “whole body” approach to playtime. In addition to all the toys up top that keep them entertained, there’s a keyboard to jam out on with their feet as well! Additionally, the seat swivels 360 degrees, allowing them to burn off that energy as they jump and bounce. It’s also designed with three different play stages to keep it in use well into the toddler years (eventually it becomes a play table!), making it a great investment as well.

DISCOVERGRO Montessori Wooden Rainbow Spinning Toy Drum



Montessori Wooden Rainbow Spinning Toy Drum

As they become more steady while sitting, a Montessori spinning drum is a fun toy to explore. Not only will they delight in making it spin, they’ll also build hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as they do so!

Look ahead: Activities for an 6-month-old: Fostering baby’s development

A version of this story was originally published on Nov. 24, 2015. It has been updated.