Recently, I’ve come across a few blogs where new moms admit to obsessively googling “What to do with baby all day”. I’m sure that the majority of us have done this; I know I have. The days spent at home with our littles can definitely become repetitive, long, and just plain boring.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the time I get to share with my boy. Charlie is 6 months old now, and quite honestly my best friend. He is seriously the funniest, quirkiest baby.
With that being said, there’s only so many baby voices you can do, so many rounds of peek-a-boo before even he looks like an unimpressed teenager, and so many versions of Little Baby Bum’s “Wheels on the Bus” that you can play. While it was significantly more difficult with a newborn, we’ve always put a solid effort into getting out of the house. Unfortunately, not everyone is on maternity leave which limits visits, and how long can we possibly do laps around the mall for? So what do my 6 month old and I do all day, you ask!? (Because it’s certainly not sleep in) 🙃
Charlie and I try to engage in some stroller time (fresh air!) everyday. I know that babies are extremely curious about their natural environments, and wow, is Charlie ever. It’s the most interesting thing to watch this little human life interact with his world. Every time we walk under a tree he is in his glory, babbling away. When given the opportunity to put his hand out and touch a leaf, I just watch his chubby, beautiful cheeks glow with joy. He’ll rub the leaves, pull on them, and crunch them in his little palm; it’s amazing. If only we all still had this enthusiasm about the little things in life. I frequently bring him to a park nearby, where I push him on the baby swing (we make our own contraption with a blanket tucked in), which he is super content in.
More than anything though, he absolutely loves laying on a blanket in the grass, taking in every inch of nature that his baby retinas can. This is also a wonderful opportunity for me to sneak in a coffee! Not a cold one two hours later, but a full, hot coffee. This is absolute bliss.
While I wish it was possible to always be outside, it simply isn’t. Especially as it gets substantially chillier, and dark at 7pm. Therefore, I do my best to keep Charlie occupied indoors as well, and preferably in ways that are most beneficial to him. If you add up my passion for Early Childhood Development, with just the right amount of mom guilt, the result is me always frantically trying new activities with him. I figured I’d share some super easy ones, involving materials that are likely to already be in your home. (Spoiler alert: zip lock bags are a new best friend).
1. Reading Circle!
This is something I tried with Charlie that I fully anticipated being a flop, because of how high energy he is. He loved it though, for just under an entire hour! I simply stood books up in a circle around him. At first, he spun around on his tummy, staring and babbling at all of them. He then made his way to one book in particular (he’s not quite crawling but he manages to get around anyways) and brought it back into the center of the blanket with him. He let me read it to him, which is super unordinary, but in this instance, the story was on his time! He went on to play human dominos with the books, rolling and tumbling his body into them, watching as they fell. He felt most of them with his hands, picked some up, threw some, and screamed at some. (His main form of communication).
2. Tummy Time Painting
Now, I know that painting with an infant is virtually impossible. They most likely aren’t grasping the concept of a paint brush, and finger painting is going to be a mess in all directions, including their mouth! And just forget about it landing on or anywhere near the paper. Alas, we have zip lock bags. Genius? I mean, not really, but all you have to do is slip a blank piece of paper into the freezer size bags, (also works without the paper!) squirt a few different colours of paint in different directions, and seal that bad boy up. I also tape the top for that added security. This is a great tummy time opportunity; he just lays there, touches, feels, and hits the bag with curiosity, and we have some creative art- baby style. The result is the product of his individuality; how he chose to interact with the paint in the bag, which I believe is 100x cuter to think about than “hand over hand” art with a baby who genuinely had no part, no interaction, and gave zero shits.
We got to use this activity for Daddy’s birthday!
I first tried getting Charlie’s attention by blowing bubbles when he was 4 months, and he shunned the whole experience. I tried again at 6 months, and he was so intrigued. He stared intensely at what seemed like every bubble that flew by him, and even tried to grab them. This was so cute to watch, and what a simple, cheap way to promote visual tracking, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, etc!
4. Some good old water play.
I added room temperature water, finger puppets, a spoon, and a cup to a baking pan. Voila, another hour down. This is another extremely easy activity that practices so many developmental milestones, and gets in some more of that ever so important tummy time. The best part is you can use anything you want/have. Charlie loved splashing his palm in the water (sure it’s messy, but so worth it). He also picked up the finger puppets and spoon and watched the splash they made when he threw them back down. It’s just so neat watching him discover whichever way he wants, and yay for more fine motor!
5. Sensory Bags
Another zip lock extravaganza. The first bag I made was full of shaving cream, little beads, cotton Pom poms, and some glitter to catch babies eye just a little bit more. I duck taped the bag closed for pretttttyyyy obvious reasons. Charlie enjoyed feeling the different textures for about 10 minutes, especially squishing the shaving cream with his pincer grasp. I also filled one with grass and leaves based on his interest in nature, (not pictured as we’re saving it for a day we can’t make it outside), and one with ice for a little bit of temperature sensory. I included both cubed and crushed ice so he could experience the different sizes and textures. The ice was a hit for approximately 20 minutes. It was pretty interesting, and hilarious to watch. Initially he seemed a little taken back by the cold, but went right back for more and moved the ice around with his fingers and palms. Then he did something I didn’t expect- maneuvering himself onto his back, banging on the ice with his feet. He then left his feet sitting on the ice for a while, like a pampered little prince, before he started repeatedly placing his chest onto the bag. He must have been a little warm!?
And so you have it. 5 easy things I have done from home with my curious and active 6 month old. I think it’s safe to say that I enjoy watching him interact with his materials a lot more than he enjoys engaging, and they are fun little activities to pass the time.
Thank you for reading!