Looking for activities for babies that will keep your big kids entertained too? Rachel Coley’s got you covered with her two awesome books – and we’ve added some of our own ideas too!
We received copies of these books from the author for free in order to write this review, but all opinions are 100% mine.
Our family welcomed a sweet new baby in October and we couldn’t be happier with our crew of little boys (this new little guy makes 3!).
It’s been awhile since we’ve had a baby in our house – our next oldest is 5 years old – so we’ve had some adjusting to do! Once the dust settled with my husband going back to work and all of the visitors dying down, I have to admit…I couldn’t quite remember what to do with a little tiny baby all day long!
Even more of a challenge, how the heck do you entertain a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old while also keeping a tiny baby happy at the same time??
Even though I’m a pediatric occupational therapist and I know all about the early motor and sensory experiences babies need for healthy development, it’s a different ballgame when you’re talking about your own kiddo (and when you’re sleep deprived and exhausted)! I definitely needed some ideas for fun activities for babies!
Begin With a Blanket: Creative Play for Infants
Luckily our friend, Rachel Coley, came to the rescue by sending me her two awesome books, Begin With A Blanket: Creative Play For Infants and Simple Play: Easy Fun For Babies. Rachel is a fellow pediatric occupational therapist whose passion and experience is with infants and toddlers. She blogs over at CanDo Kiddo where she offers tips, tools and resources about what babies need to grow healthy and strong in the first crucial months of life.
In Begin With A Blanket: Creative Play For Infants, Rachel has put together 45 activities that are designed specifically for infants to give them exposure to strengthening, sensory experiences, visual motor skills, problem-solving, and more! And she doesn’t stop there! She also offers simple explanations for each activity, describing how it contributes to healthy development.
Simple Play: Easy Fun for Babies
Simple Play: Easy Fun For Babies offers similar creative play activities for slightly older babies who are already sitting, crawling, standing, and cruising.
These collections have been an awesome way for me to engage with this newest little member of our family while providing him with what he needs to develop, grow, and flourish during these early days of his life.
What’s been even more awesome is doing the activities with help from my “big boys”. They love having a whole collection of activity ideas that they can choose from and they love helping me gather the simple materials and getting things set up for what they call “baby play time”.
Most recently, on a day when the baby was super fussy, we tried the Streamer Curtain activity to see if it would distract him and calm him down. My 5-year-old was excited to help, cutting the streamers for me and ripping off pieces of tape to hang them. Baby Gray’s only calm, happy moments of the day were when he was lying under the colorful streamers. He looked at them quietly for several minutes and then was happily surprised when the streamers moved as he batted his hands and kicked his feet! Success!
So this got me thinking…what other activities would be fun for both my big boys and the baby to do together? Rachel’s books inspired me to create a little list that the boys could choose from whenever we had a few minutes of downtime with the baby.
10 Simple Activities for Big Kids and Babies
1 || Finger and feet paint – Involve the baby in your finger painting session! Have the big kids paint the baby’s feet and stamp them on paper!
2 || Funny faces and noises – Let’s face it, the big kids are making loud mouth noises and weird faces all day long anyway – why not use them to entertain the baby? This is how I get the dishes done without a screaming baby in the background! Win!
3 || Tummy time helper – We all know that babies aren’t always the biggest fans of tummy time. Having the big kids lie down and talkie sing to the baby at their level makes things more fun for everyone!
4 || Bath and lotion – This is my boys’ favorite. They love running around the house, gathering the towel, washcloth, and soap and helping me get the baby tub ready. And rubbing lotion on the baby’s feet always gets lots of giggles!
5 || Sensory bottles – We discovered that our baby loves watching water slosh back and forth in a water bottle. Why not whip up a few cool sensory bottles with the big kids that they can use to entertain the baby?
6 || Books with buttons/sounds – The big kids are super into reading to the baby. Using books with buttons that play music or make sounds keeps everyone more interested!
7 || Streamer entertainment – We took Rachel’s streamer idea a step further to make it more interactive for the bigger kids by having the boys wave them around to make different letters and shapes in the air! Find more streamer ideas here!
8 || Fingerplays and songs – We’re bringing out all of the old favorites to teach them to the baby – The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Where Is Thumbkin, 5 Little Monkeys, and more!
9 || Bubbles – Another favorite big kid activity that can be great entertainment for babies! Here are a bunch of fun ways to play!
10 || Flashlight play – Get out a couple of flashlights and have the big kids start a game of flashlight tag or try flashlight seek and find – shine a light on something that begins with a certain letter or something that’s a certain color. Baby will love watching the big kids light up the house!
These simple ideas along with the creative activities in Begin With a Blanket have done more than just keep the kids occupied. They’ve helped resolve some of the mom guilt I’ve been feeling about spending all of my time tending to the baby’s needs – telling my other boys “not now” over and over when they ask me to play.
Rachel’s books would make a perfect Christmas gift or baby shower gift for a new mom. I know I’ll continue to put them to good use at our house as this new baby grows!
Be sure to click over and check out CanDo Kiddo as well as Begin With A Blanket: Creative Play For Infants and Simple Play: Easy Fun For Babies! What are your favorite play activities to keep kids and babies of all ages happy and entertained? Leave us a comment below or head on over to Facebook and leave a comment there!