Friday, 19 October 2018

Fun Activities for Babies Under 1

I’ve been writing a lot about activities for kids over 3, because I haven’t been teaching younger ones since starting the blog. This article is a bit different: it’s meant for first-time parents or those who work with newborns. Sometimes it’s difficult to find game ideas for babies, and of course, the most important thing at this age is being present for your baby.

All kids will develop their motor skills, language skills, and social skills at their own pace, but these activities are meant to stimulate them and give them some help. In addition, games teach important skills, such as object permanence, counting skills coordination of words and actions, and language skills.


Here are some activities you can use to teach your baby:
· Make a nature treasure box, by collecting different objects that you find in nature in a large egg carton. Show them to your child and name each of them. Explore the surrounding, name things that you see while taking walks.
· Play Peek-a-boo – I see you. You can also use hand puppets or stick puppets.
· Play “This Little Piggy” while changing the baby or during massage time
This little piggy went to market, (Wiggle the "big" toe)
This little piggy stayed home, (Wiggle the second toe)
This little piggy had roast beef, (Wiggle the third toe)
This little piggy had none, (Wiggle the fourth toe)
And this little piggy cried "wee wee wee" all the way home. (Wiggle the small toe and tickle the bottom of the foot)
· Make silly faces - hold your baby close (20-35 cm), make eye contact, and poke your tongue out, make big eyes, smile, make silly noises.
· Read books with hand or finger puppets, or just play with your baby and hand puppets. The puppet can tickle her, take her hand, and name her body parts.
· Play tickle games
· Roll your baby on a mattress. It will help her strengthen her neck muscles. You can also roll a ball in front of her: she will follow it at first, then probably she’ll try to get it.
· Place different fruits and veggies close to your baby’s nose, so she can smell them. Try tangerines, lemons, cucumber, etc.
· Hold your baby and make eye contact. Chat to your baby, respond to her gurgles and coos and repeat the sounds she makes.
· Place your baby on a playmat and blow bubbles around her.
· Gently squirt your baby with a water gun to tickle her tummy
· Give your baby some pans and wooden spoons to play with and explore. Handling objects of different sizes, shapes, and materials will help her learn about their properties.
· If your baby crawls already, build an obstacle course out of cushions and blankets.
· Build a fort out of blankets and read your baby a story in there.
· Build a tower out of everyday objects: cardboard boxes, empty plastic containers, Tupperware, empty ketchup bottles, etc.
· make a photo album and show your baby the photos of relatives and the family
· explore soft-textured items: silk scarves, cotton cloths, feathers, fluffy stuffed toys. Place your baby on a cozy surface and gently touch her with these. Naming the objects will help your baby learn the words later on.
· use peepers to talk to your baby and sing silly songs with your hands
· place your baby on her tummy whenever possible, in front of a mirror. Join her on the floor, make silly faces, and enjoy the time spent together.
· while changing the baby or massaging her, do the bicycle with her legs.
· dance with your baby in your lap.
· gather things from around the house that make sounds: aluminum foil, waxed paper, toys that make sounds, or cellophane and let her hear the sounds they make
· in a dark room, place your baby on her back and play with a flashlight on the wall. Listen to quiet nature sounds in the background.
· use a lamp and your hands to make shadows on the wall
· choose a soft toy and place it in/on/under/behind a large box. Pretend to be looking for it and be surprised when you find it.
· sing action songs and do the movements with your baby’s body (clapping hands, stomping feet, patting head, rubbing tummy)
· make sensory bottles and let your baby play with them
· retell familiar stories using puppets or a felt board.
· dance with scarves.
· make a sensory tray with boiled pasta/spaghetti. You can also use food colouring to give it some colour.
· hide some toys in the sand pit and try to find them with your baby
· place your baby in your lap and pretend you are driving a car, by making noises and honking
· sort colourful pompoms into cups/plastic containers
· explore musical instruments: maracas, drums, egg shakers, tambourine

Singing songs and dancing with/for your baby will help not only her language development, but also intellectual, social, emotional, and motor development. There are plenty of songs for you to choose from, but here’s a list of my favourite ones.

Super Simple Songs:

1. Open Shut Them is a great song for teaching basic adjectives and gross motor skills. Even though your baby won’t be able to sing along yet, she will enjoy watching you make silly gestures and playing peek-a-boo with her.

Open shut them, open shut them.
Give a little clap, clap, clap.
Open shut them, open shut them.
Put them in your lap, lap, lap.

Big and small.
Big and small. Big and small.
Big, big, big, big. Small, small, small.
Big and small. Big and small.
Big, big, big, big. Small, small, small.

Please. No, thank you.
Please. No, thank you. Please. No, thank you.
Please, please, please, please. No, thank you.
Please. No, thank you. Please. No, thank you.
Please, please, please, please. No, thank you.

Fast and slow.
Fast and slow. Fast and slow.
Fast, fast, fast, fast. Slow, slow, slow.
Fast and slow. Fast and slow.
Fast, fast, fast, fast. Slow, slow, slow.

Loud and quiet.
Loud and quiet. Loud and quiet.
Loud, loud, loud, loud. Shh…quiet.
Loud and quiet. Loud and quiet.
Loud, loud, loud, loud. Shh…quiet.

Peek-a-boo.
Peek-a-boo. Peek-a-boo.
Peek-a, peek-a, peek-a-boo!
Peek-a-boo. Peek-a-boo.
Peek-a, peek-a, peek-a-boo!

2. Are You Hungry? – you can sing this while eating or feeding the baby, to teach food vocabulary.

Are you hungry?
Yes, I am.
Are you hungry?
Yes, I am.
Mmm…a banana! (replace ”banana” with whatever your baby is eating then)
Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!

3. Baby Shark is a cute song that has been translated in other languages too. If you can’t find it in your mother tongue, no need to worry, because its lyrics are extremely easy.

Baby shark, doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo doo.
Baby shark, doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo doo.
Baby shark, doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo doo.
Baby shark. (then replace ”baby” with other family members: mama, papa, grandma, grandpa)

4. Uh-Huh is the perfect song to sing with hand puppets or finger puppets.

Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh. Unh-unh.
Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh. Unh-unh.
Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh. Unh-unh.
Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh. Unh-unh.

Yes, yes, yes, yes.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Yes, yes, yes, yes.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

5. Peek-a-boo – what kid doesn’t love peek-a-boo? This is the classical game sung to a cute tune

Peekaboo.
Peekaboo.
Peekaboo.
I see you.

Peekaboo.
Peekaboo.
I see you.

Peekaboo.
Peekaboo.
Peekaboo.
Peekaboo.

6. How Many Fingers – this is a great song for bath time. Your baby will get familiar with counting and have some fun playing with her fingers and toes.

How many fingers on one hand?
How many fingers on one hand?
How many fingers on one hand?
Let’s all count together.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5
1, 2, 3, 4, 5
1, 2, 3, 4, 5
1, 2, 3, 4, 5

How many fingers on two hands?
How many fingers on two hands?
How many fingers on two hands?
Let’s all count together.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5
6, 7, 8, 9, 10
1, 2, 3, 4, 5
6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Clap clap clap your hands.
X X X X X
Clap clap clap your hands.
X X X X X
Clap clap clap your hands.
X X X X X
Clap your hands with me.
X X X X X

Let’s count our toes.

How many toes on one foot?
How many toes on one foot?
How many toes on one foot?
Let’s all count together.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5
1, 2, 3, 4, 5
1, 2, 3, 4, 5
1, 2, 3, 4, 5

How many toes on two feet?
How many toes on two feet?
How many toes on two feet?
Let’s all count together.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5
6, 7, 8, 9, 10
1, 2, 3, 4, 5
6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Stomp stomp stomp your feet.
X X X X X
Stomp stomp stomp your feet.
X X X X X
Stomp stomp stomp your feet.
X X X X X
Stomp your feet with me.
X X X X X

1, 2, 3, 4, 5
6, 7, 8, 9, 10

7. Clean up – even though you do the cleanup at this age, sing this song while picking up the toys and later your baby will be able to follow your steps.

Clean up, clean up.
Everybody, let’s clean up.
Clean up, clean up.
Put your things away.

You can replace “things” with the toys that you are putting away, to teach your baby new words.

8. The Bath Song - to teach body parts and make bath time more fun

Can you wash your hair?
I can wash my hair.
Can you wash your feet?
I can wash my feet.
Can you wash your face?
I can wash my face.
Can you wash your knees?
I can wash my knees.

I can wash my hair.
I can wash my feet.
I can wash my face.
I can wash my knees.
This is the way we take a bath.

You can sing a slightly different version:

“Can we wash your hair?/ We can wash your hair” or “Can mum/dad wash your hair?/|Mum/Dad can wash your hair”

9. Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Head. Shoulders. Knees. Toes.
Head. Shoulders. Knees. Toes.
Eyes. Ears. Mouth. Nose.
Head. Shoulders. Knees. Toes.

Head, shoulders, knees, and toes, knees and toes.
Head, shoulders, knees, and toes, knees and toes.
And eyes and ears and mouth and nose.
Head, shoulders, knees, and toes, knees and toes.

10. The Itsy Bitsy Spider

The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
Then the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.

Okay…put your fingers together.
Let’s do The Itsy Bitsy Spider.

The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
Then the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.

A little faster now.

The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
Then the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.

Now let’s try it slow, with a low voice.
And a big, big spider.

The big, big spider went up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
Then the big, big spider went up the spout again.

11. My Teddy Bear – sing this with your baby’s favourite soft toy

My teddy bear has two eyes, two eyes, two eyes.
My teddy bear has two eyes. I love my teddy bear.

My teddy bear has one nose, one nose, one nose.
My teddy bear has one nose. I love my teddy bear.

My teddy bear has two ears, two ears, two ears.
My teddy bear has two ears. I love my teddy bear.

My teddy bear has two arms, two arms, two arms.
My teddy bear has two arms. I love my teddy bear.

My teddy bear has two legs, two legs, two legs.
My teddy bear has two legs. I love my teddy bear.

My teddy bear has four paws, four paws, four paws.
My teddy bear has four paws. I love my teddy bear.

12. I See Something Blue – when playing with your child, hand her toys and say the colour by singing about it

Blue!
I see something blue.
Blue!
I see something blue.
Blue, blue, blue, blue…
I see something blue.
Find something blue!

Yellow!
I see something yellow.
Yellow!
I see something yellow.
Yellow, yellow…
I see something yellow.
Find something yellow!



13. If You’re Happy

If you’re happy happy happy, clap your hands.
If you’re happy happy happy, clap your hands.
If you’re happy happy happy, clap your hands, clap your hands.
If you’re happy happy happy, clap your hands.

If you’re angry angry angry, stomp your feet.
If you’re angry angry angry, stomp your feet.
If you’re angry angry angry, stomp your feet, stomp your feet.
If you’re angry angry angry, stomp your feet.

If you’re scared scared scared, say, “Oh no!”
If you’re scared scared scared, say, “Oh no!”
If you’re scared scared scared, say, “Oh no!” Say, “Oh no!”
If you’re scared scared scared, say, “Oh no!”

If you’re sleepy sleepy sleepy, take a nap.
If you’re sleepy sleepy sleepy, take a nap.
If you’re sleepy sleepy sleepy, take a nap, take a nap.
If you’re sleepy sleepy sleepy, take a nap.

If you’re happy happy happy, clap your hands.
If you’re happy happy happy, clap your hands.
If you’re happy happy happy, clap your hands, clap your hands.
If you’re happy happy happy, clap your hands.

14. Invent your own songs with very easy lyrics and musical instruments. It will help develop your baby’s memory and vocabulary and it will make routines and transitions easier for both of you.

If you have any other fun ideas, please share them in the comments section. :)

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