Having a newborn is beyond exciting! If you are reading this because you have just had one, then congratulations! You’re in for a very rewarding experience. You may be wondering just what activities you can do with babies from 0 to 6 months. Look no further, because here is just the list for you!
Times have changed since we were babies, but entertaining a baby that young has not. While you can give them all the kisses and cuddles they can handle, you still might want to start doing a little extra something!
Communication with a newborn is obviously limited. While it may seem like it amounts to crying at all hours of the night, it all means something. Any time a baby cries, screams, coos, laughs (which are the best), or anything else, there is a reason. Actively paying attention to when and how these occur will allow you to pick up patterns and determine what they mean.
However, vocal communication is a two-way street! While your newborn may not understand what you say, your inflection, tone, and delivery does! Obviously the best way to get the best giggles from your baby is to make happy, over-the-top noises and expressions. While you will be learning the habits of your baby’s sounds, your baby will be doing the same with you. They will know when you are happy, sad, and tired by how you speak. Keep in mind, that will trigger their emotions as well.
Train your baby to recognize emotion, and learn how to get the best emotion out of them!
You of course want to use words as well. Count fingers and toes, point out different objects, and say what they are, “mama and dada,” repeat the baby’s name, and more! Just tell them how your day is going. Your baby needs to know your voice!
Babies learn and respond visually as well. Your baby will recognize your face in an instant! Beyond that, they will start recognizing your facial expressions! Funny faces are a great way to get your baby laughing and having a good time. Pair that with some funny noises, and you’re good to go!
It is also important to learn your baby’s facial expressions as well. Adults can hide emotions, but a newborn will let you know how they feel. Keep an eye on what makes them happy or sad. In addition to that, show them what makes you happy and sad (mostly happy) with exaggerated expressions.
A baby will attempt to grab or eat just about anything. That is one of the ways they learn: cold things are cold, wet things are wet, slimy is slimy, furry is furry, and so on. With careful observation, give the baby different items that are safe for them to interact with. Maybe something metal like a spoon or something furry like a stuffed animal.
Doing this lets them explore the world and the objects around them in a safe and controlled environment. While it is important for them to learn, it is also fun for you to observe their reactions! We all know what a spoon feels like. A baby does not. Everything you expose them to, they are seeing, hearing, and feeling for the first time.
The baby sees you a lot, and maybe you have given them a few things to touch and feel, but safely introducing your baby to the world is such an amazing feeling for both you and your baby! Take your baby around the house and let them see objects up close. Keep in mind that newborns can only see about 8-15 inches.
Take them outside and let them see colorful flowers, trees, grass, and so on. Just like when they are touching things, they are seeing all this for the first time. My mom said that when she was pushing me in a stroller once, a branch of a bush brushed near me and I was fascinated. I was seeing something like that for the first time! You’ll be amazed at what something so simple can mean to a newborn. We take this stuff for granted daily. Let them enjoy it before they do as well.
A baby will learn to love the sound of your voice. It is the one they are going to hear most, and they know it means that mommy or daddy is around. If you like to read, cuddle up with your baby and read aloud. They will have no idea what you’re saying and couldn’t care less about the story, but they will be hearing the one they love and depend on.
Of course, there are some very visual books for newborns. While they don’t involve much reading and are more for show (and chewing on), those are a good baby parent time activity in addition to you reading what you enjoy.
A great way to start building up a baby’s strength is with “tummy time.” Tummy Time helps to develop the core muscles of the neck, back, and shoulder muscles. While your baby is awake, place him/her face down in a comfortable place. This is not a baby’s most happy place when they start, so begin with this being short (around one minute) and gradually increase the amount over time.
Start adding more to it such as tracking. Hold or shake a colorful toy and move it around. Have the baby follow the movement with their eyes and head. It is a good exercise for the little one.
Sibling and Pet Interaction
If you have older children and/or a family pet, you’ll want to introduce everyone to the new member of the family! You want your baby to feel comfortable around those in your home, so exposing them to who they will be in contact with daily is helpful to them. If your older children are still quite young, carefully obverse their interactions to make sure they are safe and positive.
If you have a friendly family pet, start making some introductions! Animals tend to be nurtured by nature with babies, but accidents can happen. Carefully watch all interactions with the pet. Remember that your furry child will want to play in a different way compared to the human one! Let them get to know each other, and watch the bonds form.
Family and Your Friends Interactions
Beyond who may be in the household, you’ll want your newborn to start getting used to seeing other faces. This is how they learn, and once again, it’s incredible to see them learning. Of course, start off with the people you see most, and the people you trust most such as close family and friends.
Don’t be afraid to let them hold your baby, but keep in mind that your baby will know when it’s not you. If they cry, it’s not because they don’t like the other person, it’s because it’s not who they are used to: you.
If your friends or family also have newborns or babies, a baby playdate is a fantastic way to get them interacting with someone their own age! Not only is it a good way for them to start developing social skills and learning, it’s a blast to watch how they interact with each other. Of course at this age, you’ll be right along with them, holding them, and so on. You may even end up treating your baby like a puppet so you “play” and they giggle along!
Listen to Music
Music can invoke so many different types of emotions for everyone, and it is no different to a baby. There is music that is scientifically composed to be best for babies, but let them listen to what you like! Play music that makes you happy, and they will get happy. If they see you getting excited and jamming out, they will want to do the same.
Playing certain music or a specific song before bed or other activities can create a connection in their mind between that song and the activity. That is why lullabies work for bedtime. Not only are they soothing (especially when coming from a voice they know), but if done over and over again before bedtime, that song will subconsciously let them know that it is sleepy time!
Careful motion is a great way to get a newborn excited. While you’re listening to your favorite song, hold your baby’s hands or arms and move them around! Smile and have fun, and your baby will do the same! Even if you just let them watch you jump around and have fun, they may start moving around and having fun too. If nothing else, they will smile and giggle at you.
Massages feel good for everyone, and your baby is no exception. While you don’t want to apply much pressure, gently rubbing your baby’s arms, legs, and back is a great way to relax them and their growing muscles. If you use any type of lotion or oils, make sure it is safe for a baby’s skin.
Follow the Leader/Monkey See Monkey Do
This is a simple activity that can be such an important learning tool. For this, simply do something and try to encourage your baby to try and do it back. It may be something as simple as raising your arm. Of course you may have to raise their arm yourself, but eventually, they may start recognizing patterns. Add picking up a toy of the same color or shape. These small stepping stones will assist in advanced learning later!
Play with Non-Digital Toys (Avoid the Phone)
We are definitely in a time where nearly everything is digital and electronic. Older children can’t seem to get enough screen time, and let’s be honest… It’s hard for us adults sometimes too. Your child will grow up to love the screens, but you don’t have to allow it so early.
Buy non-electronic toys and play with your baby. Also, try to avoid being on your phone in front of the newborn. Remember that they pick up patterns. Them seeing you on it will lead them to believe that they should have a phone in their hands as well. Getting them hooked that early can be a problem later.
Let the Baby take the lead (see what engages them)
So many of these activities involve the baby watching you and what you do. Now the shoe is on the other foot! Watch them and see what they do! Take the lead and interact with them based on what he or she wants to do. Give them a bunch of toys, see which one they grab for and what they do with it. That will help you understand what he or she likes.
Having a baby and raising him or her takes a lot of work. There is no doubt about that. The biggest thing to remember is that it is not only a learning experience for you but for your newborn. You are learning a few new things, but they are learning everything! Hopefully, these activities help you and your little one!