The holidays are done, the decorations are packed away, the turkey’s been eaten and most of us have already broken some new year resolutions. The thrill and excitement that Winter brings has now dwindled down to cabin fever. The snow, the rain and the wind are officially monotonous – so, what’s a Mom and Baby to do? Before you resign yourself to hours of The Young and Restless, paired with Baby Einstein or Sesame Street, we’ve got a list of fun activities to do with your baby that will help make this winter a breeze. So, put down the stale Christmas cookies, take a break from the laundry and perk up as we share some great activities to do with babies inside that will keep you and your child occupied this season!
- Have a Ball: It sounds simple, but your baby will have a blast playing ball in the house. Roll or bounce the ball, encouraging her to follow it and roll it back. You can use pillows or books to make ramps and walls, or if your baby’s not quite sitting confidently by herself, prop her up against the couch. This is not only a fun activity for your child but helps with crawling and development of motor skills. Turn up some music and sing along as you play.
- It just makes Sense: Your child is at a magical age when she’s discovering her five senses. So, why not create a sensory bin to help her experience the wonders of the world around her? This is something easy to make with just a shoebox or Tupperware container, filled with various objects and placed on a high chair tray. Large pieces of uncooked pasta, rice, small toys, pompom balls, packing peanuts, straws and pipe cleaners are just some ideas to put in the box. Another item your child will love is a “sticky ball”, made entirely from packing or masking tape. Sensory play stimulates your child’s body and mind, and it’s amazing to watch their curiosity grow! One note of caution, though – never leave your child unattended, as handheld items will easily find their way to your baby’s mouth. So, pull up a chair and play along!
- Chef Baby: Yes, it’s true – nothing is ever so interesting as “real life” toys. So, spread out a blanket and play kitchen – in your kitchen! Let your child bang with your pots and pans, mixing spoons and Tupperware containers. Your baby will love the noisiness of it all, as well as stacking these kitchen items – and laughing with glee as she knocks them all down. For older babies and toddlers, fill up some containers with water, give her some of your measuring cups and let your child swirl and mix to her heart’s content.
- Build a Baby City: You loved it as a child; you’ll love it as a Mom. Find all the boxes, blankets and pillows you can to make a village in which you and your baby can play and hide. Drape afghans over chairs, burst through cardboard boxes to make tunnels, hide under a pile of pillows. Include some favorite toys and stuffed animals in the city as you wander about, exploring the tunnels and Mount Pillow.
- Baby’s in a Band: Why not repurpose your pots and pans to promote your child’s musical pursuits? Put some rice in an airtight container to create a maraca. Use a paper towel roll or straws for the flute section. Grab a wooden spoon and bang on – well, anything your baby would like! Your household, especially your kitchen, is a plethora of musical instruments so just let your child’s imagination go!
- Create a Book Nook: No matter the age, reading with your child is a wonderful experience – for the both of you. So, gather a stack of books, get comfy and start reading. It’s important that children actually get to experience books, so leave the first editions until she’s a bit older and instead, opt for the board books, soft covers and puffy books. Your little one will want to touch, chew on and droll over the books, most likely, and that’s OK. Make reading an engaging experience for your little one by pointing to the pictures, using different inflections and voices, and sounding out the words. Reading is a great activity as you’re winding down an active morning or afternoon, maybe heading towards nap time or bed time.
- Get Out: It’s very likely that you will reach a point that you are sick of your kitchen, your den, the playroom – and that’s OK. Even though the weather may not cooperate, there are fun things you can do indoors but out of your house. Your local library is always a great place to visit and many locations have regularly scheduled story hours and baby-centered activities, like Sign Language class or Puppet Shows. Mall walking is also a good activity, getting you and your baby out and about yet still separate from the crowds in the cold and flu season. Your local gym or Y may have baby swim classes or Mommy and Me exercise classes. And, nowadays, there are lots of Baby Bootcamps that involve moms with strollers, getting out and getting healthy at the same time.
British poet T.S. Eliot once said that April was the cruelest month, but we doubt he ever had to spend January-March inside with an infant. So use these ideas, talk to other moms and look around your house to discover even more. Opportunities abound if you just open up your mind and your imagination!
The Baby Pibu Team