Trying to entertain a baby all day can be overwhelming and exhausting. We buy all the flashy, noisy toys to help keep them occupied, but they play with them for about 5 minutes and then they are bored! My top tip, as a Mum is to gather household objects for your baby to play with – most babies actually prefer this! Notice how your baby only wants to play with the remote or your keys? Or how they love to pull the pots out of the cupboard while you are cooking? The great news is that there are so many household items you can use to support your baby’s learning and development at home.
Let me show you how we can use every day household items to support your baby’s development through play!
Mirror Play – A mirror can be used in play from newborn! Babies love seeing their reflection in a mirror and can be used to encourage your baby to play in various positions to support their development…side lying, on their tummy, sitting, high kneeling at the sofa and standing. Simply pulling faces and chatting to your baby in a mirror can support their early communication skills.
Puff sponge – Remember all those sponges you have stored away from unused gift sets? Here’s a great way to put them to use! Hang them from the baby gym, lay your baby on the floor and let them kick away. This is a great way to strengthen their tummy muscles and learn about cause and effect.
Gym ball – Before you deflate your pregnancy ball, lets use it for playtime. Place your baby on their tummy and rock them gently back and forth and side-to-side for some fun tummy time. By sitting in front of your baby, you will encourage them to lift their head which will strengthen their back and neck muscles in preparation for rolling, sitting and crawling. Row your boat is a great song for this position.
Scarf pull – Does your baby love to pull all the wipes out of the packet? Then this one is for you! Pop a sensory scarf or clean dishcloth into an empty baby wipe container and let them pull it out over and over again. This is great for strengthening their little hands and developing their fine motor skills.
Cushions – Throw the sofa cushions on the floor to make an obstacle course for your crawling baby! You could hide toys in between the cushions to encourage them to go exploring. The uneven surface gives their muscles an extra tough workout.
Empty containers – Before you take out the recycling, have a little rummage for any containers your baby could post balls or pom poms into. Start with the lid off so they have a large target, then add the lid with a hold cut into it to make it more challenging. This is a lovely idea for babies who can sit independently, to practice their hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and problem solving.
There are so many ways to use household items for baby play, and these are just a few! Hopefully these ideas have inspired you to have a look around your home and gather some household items you and your baby can play with right now! Check out our Baby Play Pack for over 40 more Baby Play
activity ideas for your newborn – 18 month olds!
Author: Vicky Robinson - Peadiatric Occupational Therapist
Vicky is a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, specialising in sensory processing difficulties, developmental delay and learning through play! Vicky runs an online therapy service to support parents with activity ideas to boost their child’s development.