New to Bounty?
Babies have a tiny attention span during their first year, often five minutes at most. If you're too frazzled to think of fun new activities and life is blending into baby groundhog day, add variety to your week with these simple-to-remember sanity savers. They'll make keeping your baby entertained seem like childs play.
From nursery rhymes to reggae find out what rings your baby’s bell. Try a different CD each week and even have a gentle dance.
"You can also make music with pots and pans," says Kellie, mum to Ben (5 months). "Lids are symbols and pots and wooden spoons make drums – then sing loud like rock stars!"
These are great for capturing bub's attention and for visual stimulation.
Not to be used when you are trying to get baby to sleep.
Gentle exercises can help baby move on to the next stage of development — rolling, sitting or crawling. “Initially, encourage her just to hold toys and be familiar with them in her hand,” says Paediatric Occupational Therapist Julianne Castle. “Then, to promote reaching and eye-hand coordination, hold toys out at a stretch.”
Some chores can be a big adventure for baby. “We spend ages looking at the trees and plants before collecting the mail,” says Kate, mum to Sophie (9 months). “Then we sit and open the letters together. She loves the envelopes with the plastic fronts. Occasionally there’s a magazine she can flick through while I examine the bills!”
Babies are fascinated with faces so a non-glass baby mirror provides lots of entertainment. “Position baby on your lap facing the mirror so you can see her reaction but also facilitate movement and positioning of her hands,” suggests Julianne. Or walk baby around to different mirrors in the house and wave to the people you see there – no doubt they’ll wave back!
Put baby on her mat or rocker and place her teddies in a circle around her. Introduce baby to each ‘guest’ and chat about the latest book you and bub have read, or game you have played. To make it more educational, point out teddy’s eyes, nose, mouth and other body parts.
TUESDAY TUMMY TIME
Getting some regular exercise can start with a few minutes of tummy time, which helps build up their muscles. They will love their new independence.
Keep a colourful box (you can buy cute ones from $2 shops) for new items to introduce to baby. Make a big deal out of opening the box and letting baby play with hats, brushes (tooth and hair), keys and jewellery (bracelets and necklaces). Then select another group of items to go in for next week’s unveiling.
One of the earliest games to play with baby is sticking out your tongue (it’s been proven that even newborns are capable of mimicking this), but it doesn’t get old for older bubs either. It’s also an important skill as imitation will be the basis of a lot of your baby’s learning. When she gets older you can progress to clicking your tongue, moving it from side to side and blowing raspberries.
Your closet is full of baby fun. Let her feel fabrics such as leather, silk, fur and velvet, and play with belts, hats and bags. Older bubs might enjoy sitting in the wardrobe with you while you shine a flashlight around.
Whisk bub away on safari to all the windows in the house and talk to her about the view – is it raining? Can you see trees? People? Cars? Make noises associated with what you see – whistle if you see birds or make ‘vroom vroom’ noises for cars.
At a loss for new ideas? The internet has loads of baby songs, games, activities, nursery rhymes (so you can stop humming some of the lines!) and even competitions where you can win great baby products.
Games that involve gentle tickling such as Round and Round the Garden and This Little Piggy are great for teaching baby anticipation and body awareness – they also tend to illicit those gorgeous baby giggles.
“The best toys give a range of experiences and address as many of the areas of sensory input as possible,” says Julianne. They don’t need to be expensive: choose ones that are colourful, make noise (especially when touched) and have a range of different textures. Julianne suggests rattles and mobiles for newborns, balls for all ages, blocks, play dough, musical toys and bubbles.
21st century bubs love playing with old remotes, mobile phones and even unplugged computer keyboards – so many buttons! (Give them a clean first and remove any batteries or small parts.)
Babies love a change of perspective and by using blankets and muslins you can make your own snug little world to visit for a short time. It’s also a great time to play Peekaboo with the blanket corner.
Cardboard boxes, cushions and chair legs can all be used to make a tunnel obstacle course for babies to roll or crawl through.
Invite another mum and bub over for a playdate. It’s good for baby to interact with other people and she’ll probably rediscover any toys she’s lost interest in once there’s another bub to 'share' with.
Lastly, make Friday family day. Hand them on to your extended family, and have a break. You may like to even get a little bored without them.