One of the perks of being an at-home mama is the potential

for all-day play. Baby’s getting bigger and you’ve had to get more creative

with playtime. Check out some ideas below, inspired by Making Sounds, Making

Music, and Many Other Activities for Infants: 7 to 12 Months by Judy Herr

and Terri Swim.

1. Fill it up, dump it out

The thought of encouraging this behavior, which will

eventually drive you nuts in toddlerhood, is a bit crazy, but why not introduce

this game as a clean-up device – fill it up now, dump it out tomorrow. You can

use foam blocks or really any toys you have lying around and any smallish

container he’s able to safely lift. Applaud him when he successfully cleans up,

but have a sense of humor when he inevitably dumps everything all over the


2. Puppet time

Puppets and stuffed animals can be used for a silly story

time, to learn animal sounds, teach baby parts of her body, and so much more. Encourage

baby to put her own hand in the puppet (although it’s totally understandable if

that kind of freaks her out). Integrate stuffed animals into playtime, such as

in a tea party or dance break.

3. Paper towel roll fun

There are a few at-home objects that are never NOT fun –

tissue boxes, pots and pans, empty soda bottles, and paper towel rolls. Baby

can use a paper towel roll as a drumstick, looking glass, microphone, snack

chute, and so much more. Spread out an old sheet on the lawn for art time – let

baby finger paint on a paper towel roll and display his masterpiece after it

dries. So fun!

4. Hide-and-seek with toys

Keep shoeboxes on-hand for play time. If baby seems in a

patient, inquisitive mood, take one of her favorite toys, let her watch you put

it in a box, and ask her, “Where is your teddy bear?” If she can’t locate it

herself, guide her hand to the box in question and celebrate when she finds her

toy. Note: this may cause her to play hide-and-seek with one of YOUR favorite

things, so keep your jewelry, phone, remotes, perishable foods, etc. secure.

5. This is my family

Help quell separation anxiety and keep distant family on

baby’s mind by creating a family tree. Get a piece of large poster board and

glue on photos of your family and close friends. Display the poster at play

time and when baby shows an interest, point to each person’s face and repeat

their name. Eventually, you’ll be able to say, “Show me Grandma,” and he’ll be

able to point her out! Don’t forget a picture of him, though, and repeat his

name – bonus points for pointing to and naming his facial features; “Look, your

two eyes!”