9 Engaging Activities for Baby

Enhance baby’s growth with these fun, development-boosting activities.

9 Engaging Activities for Baby

Babies are born scientists. From the moment they come into being, they are observing and absorbing the world around them. Countless studies tout the incredible growth and development of a child's first 3 years. More specifically, experiences and interactions within the very first year of life have lasting impacts on a child's foundation for thought, feeling and overall well-being. Here's a list of engaging activities that stimulate development, nurture curiosity and foster happiness in children under one:

During Reading Time. Everyone knows the importance of reading. Beyond simply reading a book, there are so many easy activities to incorporate into reading time to maximize the experience and impact.

  1. Word and Letter Focus: read slowly and point to each word as you read it. Do this throughout the book to emphasize the relationship between the letters and words baby is seeing and the sounds he’s hearing.
  2. Exploring Pictures: sift through each page and point out objects and images in the pictures. Allow your child to point to images and objects and identify them. You can focus on one concept (i.e. pointing out all the red objects in the entire book) to explore and extend the activity.
  3. Playing with Tone: add an extra element to reading time by incorporating different tones, volumes and voices. This will activate your child’s cognitive skills and buoy listening and focus. Add in sound effects to buoy the pictures as well.

During Music Time. Music is the way to the heart. We now know that introducing music in utero offers a host of benefits. Little ones are primed to enjoy melodies and rhythms from the moment they enter the world. Here are few ways to explore music:

  1. Transform household products into musical instruments: turn recycled coffee canisters and plastic bottles into shakers and drums. Fill bottles with paper clips, rice, beans, anything that creates an interesting sound. Encourage your little ones to use their hands, spoons or rattles on coffee (or formula) cans to create beats.
  2. Sing-a-longs: babies don’t mind if you sing in the correct key, just that you sing. Nursery rhymes and classic children songs immediately engage little ones with their simplistic melodies and buoy language through rhyming and repetition. Teaching babies basic hand movements allows to participate in songs before they have the verbal ability to do so.
  3. Simply listen to music: offer varied playlists in the background and explore new genres (jazz, bluegrass, reggae). Move and groove with the music and incorporate a “freeze dance” by pausing the music to peak listening skills and practice muscle control.

During Guided Sensory Exploration. Babies are primed to explore their surroundings. Here are a few ways to create engaging opportunities for exploration:

  1. Have baby explore everyday objects: using a large container, basket or bag, create a random assortment of objects that offer your baby different tactile sensations. A fuzzy sock, a wooden block, a squishy ball, an old remote, any and everything can be used. The varied weight, size and feel of the object are incredibly stimulating for little ones.
  2. Have baby explores things from nature: using the same container, create a themed assortment of objects. You can incorporate objects of the same color, nature objects (pine cones, stones, seashells) or all soft objects to name a few.
  3. Don’t forget water: water is a huge point of interest to little ones. Place a large blanket or towel on the floor and fill a few tupperware containers with various amounts of water. Using basic items like spoons, droppers, or water bottles to pour water from one container to the other is instantly engaging. Simply touching the water and making small splashes is exciting for little ones, and eventually participating in transferring the water from container to container will be equally as satisfying.

Taking an extra moment to enjoy the value in seemingly small moments of exploration and play will inspire more ideas and opportunities for you to engage your baby in actual activities. Just like their parents, babies want to be engaged, stimulated and a part of the world around them. Every moment is an opportunity to grow, for you and your little one.

Photography by Amy Frances Photography.

They say necessity is the mother of invention—and nothing makes you more inventive than motherhood.

Sometimes that means fashioning a diaper out of paper towels and your older child's underpants (true story). Sometimes that means creating an innovative and life-changing weighted baby sleep sack and totally crushing it on Shark Tank. Tara Williams is the latter.

Keep reading Show less

Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.


Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.


Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.


Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.


boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.


Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.


Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.


Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this


This viral post about the 4th trimester is exactly what new mamas need right now

"We are alone. Together. You are surrounded all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation. You are held by all of us who have walked the path before you and who know how much you must be hurting. You are wrapped in the warm embrace of mama earth, as she too settles into this time of slowness and healing."

Artist and teacher Catie Atkinson at Spirit y Sol recently shared a beautiful drawing of a new mom crying on a couch—leaking breasts, newborn baby, pile of laundry and what we can only assume is cold coffee, included. Everything about the image is so real and raw to me—from the soft stomach to the nursing bra and the juxtaposition of the happy wallpaper to the palpable vulnerability of the mother—I can almost feel the couch underneath me. I can feel the exhaustion deep in this woman's bones.

My heart feels the ache of loneliness right alongside hers. Because I remember. I remember the confusion and uncertainty and love and messy beauty of the fourth trimester so well. After all, it's etched in our minds and bodies forever.

Keep reading Show less