Infant Activities


Over 25 developmentally appropriate activities for infants from birth to one year old.

This page contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure.

The key for this age group is a lot of communication and a lot of repetition.  Many parents think that engaging with infants is "boring," but research has shown that the nerve pathways in the brains of infants light up when they hear familiar phrases!  Make those brains shine by utilizing these activities designed to help reinforce learning goals for your baby while keeping you actively engaged together at home.  


This page was included by Healthline.com on their list of the 
Top Sites for Toddler Activities!

(For more developmental information on Infants, 
check out this post: Crash Course in Child Development: Infants.)



Have a baby that does not like tummy time? Try this simple 1-supply activity to engage them visually and work on those core muscles at the same time.

Simple tips to introduce a fun sensory activity to your baby-and create a fun gift or keepsake in the process!

DIY "I Spy" Tray Table and Homemade Shakers for Infants and Toddlers
Two great DIY creations and activities in one post-teaches baby to work on sitting up on their own, gross motor skills, cause and effect and language development. Part of the Moms Share Series where moms who read this blog share THEIR homemade ideas.

The importance of exposing children to books from infancy and what you really teach when you are reading to them at home.

Two songs that engage your child in a little learning from birth-great for calming a child during diaper changes!

Patterns can be taught starting in infancy. It is important for math learning later on in life and is a fun way to engage with your child at home.

Language learning activities and tips from Speech Pathologist and co-founder of Language Launchers, Pam Talbot (guest post).

Songs to engage infants in a little Autumn fun and expose them to counting and rhyming.

Outdoor Activities for Infants
Taking your infant outside is a great way to break up the day and get some fresh air. This post lists a few tips and activities that I do with my children when they are infants starting around 4 months old.

DIY Sensory Bottles from Baby Bottles
If you drink tap water like we do, then plastic bottles might be hard to come by, but if you have some plastic baby bottles in the house, they make great containers for making your own sensory bottles for baby. Two versions are listed here to vary the fun experience!



2) What is inside
You need a box with an opening in the top. Any kind of opening large enough to place toys inside and remove them. (I have used a cardboard box that held garbage bags. It had a pre-made opening that was perforated so I could rip an opening to remove the bags.) Place a few toys that make noise into the box and present it to your baby. Ask them, "What's inside?" You may have to pull out one toy to model the action for them. Your baby will enjoy the mystery of what is inside and will try to dig inside the box to find the toys.

3) Water Play
Lay a towel on the floor, and fill a little bowl or small container with water.  Place your child in your lap, if they are not sitting up on their own yet, and let him/her play in the water.

I actually placed a towel over my daughter's lap as well to minimize any wetness getting on her clothes. My daughter loved this. It only lasted 10 minutes; you can only ask so much of an infant's attention span!

Just let them grab for the water, lightly splash, and pat at it. You can also extend the activity by placing a toy in the water when boredom sets in and then he/she may try grabbing the toy to retrieve it. Great for the eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills that you want to emphasize at this age! Always talk to them while they are playing: introduce vocabulary, tell them it's water, tell them they are splashing, things like that. Simple repetition, but it's all reinforcement.


4) Sticky Ball


Take a plastic ball (baseball size or bigger to avoid a choking hazard), and wrap tape around it sticky side out.  Yes, sticky side out.  Wrap it tightly so the tape does not slide off of the ball, and all around the ball as well.  Watch as your infant inspects this interesting plaything!  Passing objects back and forth between hands is a developmental milestone, and this adds a little more interest.  Always talk to your child: tell them it's 'sticky' and a 'ball,' etc.  Language is good!!

5) Homemade Shape Book
A) You need: a black marker, scissors, plastic zip top bags, a piece of construction paper, and packing tape.


B) Fold paper into quarters.


C) Draw a shape in each quarter, and write the name of the shape below the image.



D) Cut along the fold lines to separate the shape 'pages' and place each shape page into a zip bag. Seal the bag. (Note: You may want to tape the paper inside the bag with a small piece of packing tape before you seal the bag. This will help keep the paper in place in the bag.)


E) Lay the bags on top of one another and tape the 'bind' or edges together with the packing tape. I recommend folding each page over and taping along the bind in between each page to reinforce the book.





F) Voila! You have a book.  They can mouth it, crinkle it, and you can read it to them.  You can make one of these with numbers, family members [print out pics and tape them to the paper pieces], or use animal images from the web.


NOTE: Please do not give this to infants with teeth unsupervised.  They could bite the plastic. Supervise and teach! My daughter has been playing with her book for two days now, and it is still in good shape.  Remember, it's a cheap throw away if it becomes too 'used', unlike board books from the book store. Enjoy!

6) Have a Conversation:
Do you ever just sit and 'talk' to your baby?  Children LOVE to interact, and although you will not be solving the problems of the world, you will be making your child feel very confident.  You may just be copying their sounds, creating words from their sounds or actually chatting by talking to them with conversation directed by you.
Here is what I mean: As in the photo above, sit with your baby, and if she makes any sounds, you can 'say' them back to her.  You can also take the sound she makes and expand on it.  I am working with my 6 month old to teach her the names of the members of our family, so I try to associate her sounds with our names.  If she says, "Bah," I say, "Brother" or "Maybelle" (our dog).  If she says, "Mah," I say, "Momma."  

Additionally, when I am holding her, I will talk to her about what I am doing.  If I am working on laundry, I will say, "We need to put the wet clothes in the dryer.  Let's get them all in and turn it on.  Oh, listen to that loud dryer. It makes a loud noise."  Or if I am cooking, I will use similar conversation: "We need to stir the pot.  Do you hear the noise of the food cooking?  It's crackling." 

Whenever I am holding my daughter or she is in the room with me, I talk to her.  She hears language and gets used to conversational tone.  Also, and here is the big point, she learns that she is important to me.  I am including her.  Particularly when she makes a noise and I respond.  She learns that she has something valuable to contribute.  More tips on conversing with infants here.


7) The Baby Climbed Over the Mountain:
Place a few pillows on the floor or you can use couch cushions. Place your baby on one side of the cushions and sit yourself on the opposite side. Encourage your infant to climb to you over the "mountain" of cushions.  Have hands ready for any dives once they start the decline!  This activity helps them develop more balance, core strength, coordination, and encourages them to approach challenge.

8) Wipes Box Pull-Out
Using an empty diaper wipes box or facial tissues box, create a pull-out toy.  Infants and young toddlers love to pull wipes out of the box.  At some point, almost every mom finds the tissues all over the floor and an innocent-faced child sitting a midst a sea of white. You can make this in less than 5 minutes!

Here's what to do: 

1. Take a light scarf, or sew or tie together strips of scrap fabric at the corners to make a long fabric 'scarf''.  
2. Gently stuff the scarf in the bottom of an empty wipes box or tissue box. 
3. Pull out a corner of the scarf through the opening in the box lid and show it to your baby. 
4. Close the lid flap (wipes box only) and let your child try to push the release button to open the flap and view the scarf. 
5. Encourage your child to pull out the scarf.
*Note: As your child grows, you can use this same 'toy' to teach them to 'put' back into the box.  Teach them to put the scarf back into the box through the lid opening or tissue box opening.

You can use bandannas, scrap fabric, or strips of construction paper taped together to make a longer strip.  For younger infants, use pieces of white construction paper with designs drawn on them with a black marker. This will increase the visual/mental interest as well as keep them pulling out of the box to improve their fine motor skills and understanding of cause-and-effect relationships. 

8A) 'Travel' Wipe Box Pullout
Using a small travel wipes container (empty) and ribbon scraps, you can make a smaller version:  a) Tie together the strips of ribbon being sure to double knot.  b) Tape the end of the ribbon rope to the inside bottom of the box using a piece of packaging tape or duct tape  c) Leave an inch of ribbon peeking out of the opening and close it. Show it to your infant and encourage them to open the flap and pull the ribbon out.

9) Ball Pit
Turn your baby pool into an indoor activity during the colder months: create a ball pit. Fill the pool with colored plastic balls. You can find them at Wal-Mart or on Amazon.  We used this at our son's first birthday, and it was a hit!  I left it in the house for a while after, and my son loved climbing in and out.

10) Nesting Cups
No need to buy another toy for this purpose.  If you have measuring cups, use them.  Young children learn that wholes have parts, and one volume can fit into a larger volume.  This play opens up math lessons of order and seriation (number 1 comes before number 2, etc.).

11) Mouthing

Infants NEED to mouth items.  You of course can pick which items you would like your child to access and which they need to not touch, but allow your infant to put safe toys that are not a choking hazard in their mouth.  An infant's most sensitive sensory input receptor is her mouth.  It is how they feel.  As your infant reaches 9 months old, their need to mouth will probably start to decrease, especially if you have allowed them to use that 'tool' to explore.  Their hands and fingers will become stronger receptors and less will go in their mouth. 


12) High Contrast Cards

Using index cards, draw on designs using a black marker.  Start with straight bars for the newborn, and increase the complexity for your infant as they grow.  You can even place these in zip top bags and make the book I describe in #5 above on this list.  My son, no kidding, would just look at these cards from about birth until 3 months .  After a month or two, you can add colors like red or blue to vary the interest.  Talk to your child about what they are looking at to increase the learning! I have a free printable contrast cards in a jack o'lantern theme with shapes here.

13) Easy Vehicle
Push a baby in a box.  Yep!  My kids had a ball with this one evening while I was making dinner.  I would only use this with an infant who is a strong 'sitter'.  Supervision definitely required! It's safest when pushed from the back.  If you tie a string to the front and pull, the risk for tipping is greater.

14) Egg Carton Pointer

Using an empty egg carton, glue little items in the bottom of each egg cup.  I glued down pom poms of various colors, a piece of yarn, small scrap of fabric with a pattern, small cut piece of sponge, and a small cut piece of ribbon.  I also squirted puffy paint into a couple for texture and color, and stuck a couple colored circle stickers down as well.  This 'toy' will encourage your older infant to use their fine motor skills to point into and feel the items in each cup.  We want that skill of pointing and moving the index fingers to be strong! Supervise so that if any items become loose, they do not go in the mouth.

15) Peek-a-Boo Box



Using a small cardboard box with a flap-type top, create a peek-a-boo box to encourage exploration and further development of object permanence (knowledge that 'something' exists even when it is not seen).  I cut a piece of colored paper and glued it to the top of the box, then wrote my child's name on the top (to further use this as a learning tool of exposure to print, specifically her name).  I taped the tab in half (you can see this at the bottom of the picture to the right) to create a handle that sticks off the box, but this is completely optional.

Inside the box, using clear packaging tape, I affixed a picture of my child to encourage her to open the box.  She will learn face recognition, self-esteem since we get to celebrate seeing her every time she looks in the box, and the fine motor skill of opening the top.  You can make one for each family member, or wrap tape around different images, place a velcro dot on the back of each picture, and place one in the box so you can stick a picture to the velcro and  easily change out the images to expand the interest of this game.

16) Natural Materials Feely Box
If you have collected rocks, leaves, pine cones, shells, or any other larger natural materials from playtime outside, bring them inside and create a feely box.  Place collected items (related, or not) in a small cardboard box, cloth bag, or other receptacle.  Show them to your baby, and let them reach into the box or bag to pull out items and feel them.  If you are worried about the cleanliness of the items, hand wash them prior to use.  Make sure to talk about the items with your child to expand vocabulary and exposure to language.


17) Ribbon Feely Box
Infants LOVE to get their hands on things, and the more involved that the hands-on touching time can be, the better.  Recently, by accident, I discovered that a box of ribbon can be a great sensory activity!  While taking a few moments to blog, I gave my daughter a box of ribbons-random lengths and colors that I collected from gifts we received. The box of ribbon pieces was very entertaining as it had different colors, textures, widths and lengths.  It did not get terribly tangled, until my son got involved, and it really was not my rolls of ribbon that I save for special crafty projects.  Try it!  Get involved too talking about color and texture.  

18) Don't Underestimate the Simple Toys

 We do a great disservice to our children when all we give them are toys with lots of functions, buttons, and noises. The simple toys that have been around FOREVER are the best-particularly for infants and toddlers. Here are a few that I really love and have used with my children when they were infants:  



Remember, a foundation of learning is not built with complicated structure, but simple and sturdy repetition.  The toy pictured may seem boring to some, but it teaches number names, number order, fine motor movements of the wrist and fingers that require coordination and strength, and cause and effect.  It can also teach animal names (vocabulary) since there is a different animal under every door.  When using simple toys, expand on them.  With this toy, when I open each door (to expose my daughter to the 'how to' since she can't complete it yet) I count.  I count forwards with it when the doors open, I count as she closes the doors whether in order or out of order, and I discuss the motion of opening each door whether 'push' or 'turn'.


19) Wrap, Unwrap
We all know that at gift-giving times our infants tend to enjoy unwrapping a package more than discovering what is inside the box or bag.  Turn this into an activity: Wrap a few boxes, simply, and stuff a few gift bags with colorful tissue paper.  Allow your infant to pull out the tissue and unwrap the paper by ripping it apart.  After one time, place the shreds of paper in the box, wrap again-if you desire-and let her unwrap another time discovering the previously shredded paper pieces inside. (Reaction should look like: "Hey! I've seen these before!") Great for motor control of the hands, fingers and wrist as well as eye hand coordination and sensory exploration. As your infant reaches 9-11 months, he/she will start putting the tissue back in the bag as well.

20) Flour Sensory

While my son and I were making two different kinds of play dough one morning, I had to give my daughter an opportunity to be near us and occupied.  Since we were using flour in our play dough recipes, I added a few teaspoons of flour to her high chair tray so she could explore.  It kept her attention, in between watching us, and if she tasted it it was safe.  Great fine motor exercise as well as cause-and-effect exploration since she was using her finger to drag through the flour while seeing the lines remaining.

21) Monochromatic Duplos

Pull out only one color of duplos and present them to your child. Talk about them using the color word.  Variations in tone are ok: learning occurs when initial confusion leads to scaffolding and deeper understanding!

22) Animal Names Poster
You can tell from the picture that this poster lasts, and gets used a lot...not to mention moved around and re-taped to our wall!  I made this for my now-four-year-old when he was an infant.  I use it for my one-year-old now...still.  Search on-line for images of animals, if you do not have any on your computer.  Print them out, trim them and paste them to a piece of posterboard.  I labeled the poster 'Animals' as well as labeled each animal with its name to add print awareness.  I did overlay a piece of contact paper to help preserve the piece, but that is optional. This poster is something that you can sit and chat about with your child as a one-on-one activity, and when kept in view of them, you will notice your child investigating the poster on his/her own as well. 


23) Infants Can Paint!
I know it's a scary topic to bring up infants and paint, but do it! I undress my child down to the diaper, place her in her high chair (which is all plastic/vinyl/wipe-able) and prepare her 'work surface.'  On the tray, I tape a piece of construction paper using a few small strips of masking tape. I place a small bit of paint on the paper directly, and she moves it around using her fingers. Keep extra pieces of paper handy so you can simply peel off the painted paper, replace it with a clean sheet, and let your child paint until they are tired of it.  This obviously is art exploration, fine motor, sensory, gift-giving (since you can send the additional paintings to family members), attention span (keep them painting as long as they are focused on it), as well as direction-learning since you will be saying things like, "Paint on the paper," "Use your hands to paint," "Keep the paint on the paper [not in your mouth]," etc.  These make great Christmas gifts: Themed Activities page, scroll down to Winter section and look at #17.


24) Crayon Sensory
My son was sorting through the crayon box to remove any broken pieces that were not usable any more.  My daughter helped! She loves grabbing the crayons and taking them out of the box. (If there is a key activity for infants it is 'dump and put'!) I talked about the colors as she looked at them and counted how many she had in her hand at each grab.  I was teaching not to put them in her mouth, and we were sorting with my son making a pile of the broken ones, so she was exposed to that as well.  Need a quick activity to get your infant's hands exploring? Give them the box of crayons-with supervision, of course.

25) Shredded Paper Sensory
Shredded paper is something we ALWAYS have plenty of in our paper shredder bin.  It can be used as a sensory bin material.  I hide magnets, small toys, or foam letters inside the paper shreds, and my infant digs through it until she finds an item to pull out. You can make this thematic as well by using all dinosaur toys or small toy cars, as well as Easter eggs, or plastic Christmas ornaments. 

26)  Touch the Textures

This little make-at-home booklet is a great exploration activity that allows your infant to be exposed to a 'book' and engaging their sensory interest! I created it from paper board that is the material in cereal boxes, but you could use cardboard as well. Cut the board into 4 inch by 6 inch pieces and punch two holes in the left side of each 'page' as shown in the picture.

 On each page, I used hot glue to attach scrap pieces of fabric, rug grip, and ribbon. After the glue cooled, I wrote a corresponding word to describe how the material on each page feels-sticky, bumpy, smooth, etc. This way print is being introduced as well for early literacy.

After all the pages were labeled, I laid the pages on top of each other with the holes lined up on the left side, and tied a piece of yarn through to bind the book. Obviously, this is great for infants or toddlers with supervision so that if they start to pull the material off of the pages, you can teach that we can touch but not tear. A great lesson that will need to be learned with the use of 'real' books as well.


27) Pillow Path

Try making this game out of pillows...yep, only pillows! Line a few pillows on the floor-placing them on carpeted surfaces or rugs will help reduce the risk of slipping, but supervision is key when introducing any new activity to your child!

Once you have made the path, show your crawler or walker how to crawl or step on the pillows. You will notice how much balance is tested when your child attempts to walk on this cushy path. Count each pillow as you walk on it all the way to the end and talk about the colors or textures of the pillows as your infant stops to explore along the path.


28) Personalized Songs
Check out this post with a couple of song ideas that your infants will learn from and love.


29) Buzz to the Body Part

Put your pointer finger together with your thumb and buzz like a bee pretending that your two fingers are a bee flying around. Land the 'bee' on your child's knee and say, "The bee is going to buzz to your knee!" Then fly the bee around and land on their hand and say, "The bee is going to buzz to land on your hand!" Teaches observation, body parts, language, and of course makes them feel special since you are one-on-one with them.


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153 comments:

  1. These are some really great ideas. I'm always looking for new thinks to do with my twins. I found your blog on top moms and I'm your newest follower!

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  2. Thank you Mary! I am so glad that you can use them. Congrats on twins and all the best to you!

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  3. I am a mother of a 6-month-old baby and was encouraged to try your ideas! :) Thank you so much. :)

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    1. Great! That is exactly the point-encouragement. We really can provide our children with great days at home as well as keep our interest especially during the infant stage where many moms-including myself-have said, "What do we do now?" I appreciate your comment and I hope you found some ideas you can use.

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  4. Wow!! Great ideas! I'm super impressed. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

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    1. Thank YOU for the kind comment. I am glad that they are inspirational and can be helpful for you in your home!

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  5. I just came across your blog, and already used one of the tips this afternoon (the water play) and my 7 month old son was having a great time!

    It's so nice to know I can teach and entertain my son without needing to buy fancy toys and materials. Thanks for sharing all your ideas..I'm looking forward to using more of your tips and tricks. :)

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    1. Kristine, I am so glad that you shared this with me! It is great to know that you have found some ideas that you can use with your son and that you are eager to read more. I will keep posting! All the best!

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  6. These are great! I love the ziplock bag book idea, I will be trying that! Oh, I might even print out some family pictures on regular paper and stick those in there. Seriously, awesome!

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    1. Thank you for the nice feedback! I am so glad that the ideas will work for you. The family pictures idea sounds great!

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  7. If you are nervous about paint with an infant, there are lots of ideas on pinterest for substitutions. There is one with shaing cream and glue that would be fun. And there is a way to color it too!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have used the shaving cream and glue combo with preschoolers because it is a little tough to spread around for really young ones. It's a great exploration for older kids, though! I have seen shaving cream colored with food coloring and used in the bath tub, but my kids have enjoyed just plain shave cream enough that I haven't tried to change it up yet. Thanks so much!

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    2. There's also finger paint you can make at home.. I have seen it on Pinterest as well, no chemicals! I found it :) http://www.theidearoom.net/2009/04/make-some-finger-paints.html

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  8. I have used pudding before to let infants paint!! You can use two different colors so they can experiment with the colors. If they eat it..well they get their dessert for the day :)

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    1. I am glad pudding was a good experience. Interesting idea.

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  9. This is Great! Thanks a bunch! Wish I had more newborn ideas.... we're going to try these tomorrow!

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    1. I am so glad you found some ideas that will work in your home. Much of what newborns need is time on their bellies looking at simple toys and high contrast pictures and just being near you. They don't need entertainment, really, but you can use some of the ideas here already when you bring your child home from the hospital like the high contrast cards or the shape book. Repetition is key for the developing brains of infants. Read simple books-we started reading to our children from day 1! I appreciate your comment! Best to you!

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  10. Omg. I love this. Thank you so much. I have a 9 month old and I feel she is bored with her toys. This is going to be so much fun.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words. I hope some of these activities will be helpful. You could even try interacting with your child while he/he plays with the toys you have to include more exposure to language and vocabulary. If you do notice boredom, try switching out some toys so that not all are out at one so you can put some away for a couple of months and then bring a few items back out while putting some that have been out away. This may help maintain interest.

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  11. These are great ideas. I'm not a stay at home mom yet, but have been thinking about it, especially if we have a second baby. My biggest worry was how to keep a baby entertained all day that doesn't involve the television. I am so glad I found this on pinterest. I know my son will love the pull out box toy. And I'm sure he'll like the shredded paper mystery bin too. I will definitely be trying a few of these over the weekend.

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    1. Sherry, I am so glad you are thinking about staying home. Between regular housework, errands and time with the kids and husband, it really fills up a day. I found with my first child that I was playing with him a lot while watching the news, so I got to work in my tv time. Now with two, there is so much activity that a bit of news in the morning sometimes happens as a luxury! I think you will find that you can be busy if you want or you can be less structured. We vary from day to day. I have not known infants to really sit and watch tv anyway especially if they have mom around to spend time with and learn from. Children benefit so much from one on one interaction. All the best to you whether you continue to work or decide to stay home.

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  12. This is great! I need some new activities to try with my almost 1 year old. I've been staying home with her since she was born and she will definitely enjoy these activities! The best part is that they are all things we can do with what we already have on hand. Oh we will be having some fun in the near future!

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    1. I am so glad to hear it! I really hope you and your daughter enjoy these activities. I definitely try my best to use what I have at home first so that we are living as frugally and yet creatively as we can. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment here.

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  13. What fantastic ideas!! I seem to find lots of good 2+ year old activity ideas, but it's harder to find under 2 things to do. I love how simple they all are, though clearly will have a big impact on learning and coordination development.

    Thanks!

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    1. Thank you so much! I agree that there are not many really creative ideas for interacting and playing with infants. They like a lot of repetition, so having just a few easy to create activities can be so helpful. I am glad that you have found a few here that you can use! I appreciate you sharing your comments.

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  14. Perfect! Just what I was looking for. I have 5 kids 15yrs to 1 and I homeschool. The baby was a surprise and I am so out of the baby stage. I need to find activities for her to do while we are doing school. These are great ideas! Thanks so much for taking the time to post them.

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    1. Tara, I am so glad that you can use some of these in your home! What a great amount of experience and knowledge you have to share as well! I appreciate your kind comment.

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  15. Hi there! I was wondering if you might be able to tell me what brand the toy is pictured in number 18? I have been looking for one for a while now but it seems everything now makes sounds, has batteries, etc. I have seen them at daycares and play centers but can't find one in a toy store. Thanks! Erin

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    1. Erin, Here is a link to a similar item that may help:

      http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Brilliant-Basics-Boppin-Activity/dp/B00428LJ0G/ref=sr_1_12?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1346953548&sr=1-12

      I couldn't find the specific one in my photo above, but it is a Playskool toy in case you can find it in your search. All the best!

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  16. I really love the homemade book out of ziplock baggies! That's brilliant & will save me a ton of money on board books! :)

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    1. The money-saving will be huge! That is for sure. I love that it can be changed and adapted to the child's interests or learning needs so easily...and cheaply. Even for toddlers it can be adapted with single words and a descriptive picture on each page. Enjoy all of the possibilities! Thank you for you nice comment.

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  17. This is such a wonderful post. Thanks for taking the time to put all of these together! I will be doing a lot of these with my baby. Thanks again!

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    1. I am so glad to read that you have found a few of the ideas will work for your infant. That is great news! I appreciate you sharing that with me as well as the nice comment. All the best to you!

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  18. I love that all your ideas are low-cost. I'm thoroughly sick of spending money ($$$) on toys which 'encourage exploration and learning', I get the same experiences for my little one by using your ideas and am also alot more involved in her experiences as well. Thank you.

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    1. Yes! I have found that the newest toys often are so complicated for children to figure out that the lessons they are supposed to teach get missed anyway. Many have so many functions and gadgets that it just encourages the nerves in the brain to fire quickly and often rather than develop in a nice methodical, calm way. Saving money is very important and I am so glad that you have found the ideas listed here to be helpful and engaging. I am sure your child appreciates the time spent with you while learning as well. Take care!

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  19. Im first time mum and sometimes i have no clue how to entertain my 5 month old.. Thanks a lot for ur tips.. I will try them..

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    1. Sangeetha, that is wonderful that you have found a few you can try at your home! I wish you the best with your baby.

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  20. These are fantastic ideas... I've bookmarked your site already! My only suggestion is to not let anyone, child or otherwise, put raw flour into their mouths &/or ingest it. I was always told there can be microscopic eggs of bugs in flour that will die when cooked... they'd still alive if the flour is raw.

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    1. I am so glad you will be visiting again! Thanks for the kind comment. As far as the flour, I store our flour in an airtight container and my daughter did not put her fingers in her mouth when she was exploring. I grew up 'licking the bowl' when my mom made cookies, but have never had a problem. I appreciate the heads up-probably the same for any dry goods: they can become infested if not stored properly or used within a reasonable amount of time. Good tip! Take care.

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    2. Another tip with flour, we're not allowed to use it at the daycare because the kids can breathe it in and it clumps when coming in contact with moisture, creating a choking hazard. But you said you only gave her a few teaspoons, I wouldn't worry about it with that small amount. Just thought it should be mentioned for future reference. Glitter does the same thing. We give that to our kids in salt shakers so it comes out in small amounts. Something that she could play with-every age group loves it, even I love it is ooblik. It's one part water, one part corn starch. Mix it all together and throw in food coloring when it sits it hardens, when it's moved it's liquid.

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    3. Ooblik is great! I love it for learning to use a knife to spread. Thanks for adding that Kelsey.

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  21. Great ideas. It is not easy to find creative activities for younger children.

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    1. Eryn, I am glad to hear that this site can be a great resource since activities for infants can be hard to find. I will be updating this page in the coming days, so that is more incentive for me to get moving with it! Thanks for the kind comment. All the best to you!

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  22. Where was this when I needed it two years ago? Definitely bookmarking for future use. (btw, my 2yr old still loves playing with the pull out wipes container... I just bought the cheap .99 washcloths from Walmart, they were perfect!). Great ideas!

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    1. I am glad you found it now. Check out the 'Toddler Activities' tab for activities that may be helpful for you now. It really is true that no matter what age our children are, they have favorite toys or activities that seem to stay with them. Thank you for your kind comment. All the best to you!

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  23. These are great! I just wrote a blog post about transitioning to part-time, working from home on my daughter's first birthday, and what do I do with her? Someone commented with this - it's great! Thanks!

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    1. I am so glad that you have found this page! It's pretty cool that someone commented directing you here. It's nice to know when readers find the activities creative and useful. I really appreciate you commenting. All the best to you as you balance working at home. I am sure that extra time with your daughter will be so beneficial to both of you. Enjoy!

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  24. I plan on trying out the high contrast sheets with my littlest. Thank you for all of the great advice! Something my mom did with me and that I now do with my oldest is buy three ring binder rings and page protectors....cut out interesting pics of babies animals foods etc from various magazines and glue them onto computer paper. Place the sheets of pics in the page protector sleeves and have a big book of picture to discuss. I usually give a theme to each page. My oldest daughter still likes adding to it and discussing it. Now that she's almost three I've added a picture explanation of the"Roman Road to Salvation". It's amazing how much she has learned from our homemade book! :)

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    1. Great news! I am so glad you found an idea you can use in your home. The binder book is a great idea! I love that. What a nice project to carry over many years and a wonderful family tradition. I may have to try it with my 18 month old. Sounds like a great tool for language development, communication, word use, vocab growth...thanks for sharing that!

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  25. ur amazing why have i not thought of this ive goot a 1 year old and 2 and my 1year old is always into trouble thankyou

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    1. One year-olds like to explore. My 18-month old is still very much like this too and she keeps me and my husband on our toes all the time. I can relate to how you feel. I am glad that the activities seem simple enough that any one can create them. I hope it will allow you to view things in your home for all the teaching that they can simply inspire. Thanks for the comment.

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  26. Wonderful post! Thank you! We are expecting our first in December and my husband keeps asking me what we do with an infant - I will definitely tell him to read this. I also love all of your ideas for simple toys as I don't want to spend a lot of money on them.

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    1. Julia, thanks so much for the kind words. I am so glad that you have found some inspiration for teaching your soon-to-be infant! Congratulations and absolutely share some ideas with your husband. The stages when children are less interactive can be challenging for some, but they are really wonderful, simple times that set a foundation of love and security. All the best as you enter your final weeks of pregnancy!

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  27. This is awesome! I am due in March and can't wait to refer back to your blogs, they are so inspiring and home friendly :)

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    1. Thank you so much Amanda. Congrats on your little one coming in a few months! Very exciting. I am so glad that you will be visiting this site for ideas as you engage your own child very soon in great activities and time with you. Take care!

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  28. This is really great! I am currently at home on maternity leave with my son. It's hard to think of things, especially when sleep deprivation takes away from thinking creatively. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I know how that goes, Stephanie. Hang in there and definitely utilize the simple activities to keep you both enjoying your time together. Enjoy!

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  29. I Love this page! I want to do it all! :) Thanks!

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    1. Well, better get right to it then! I wish you all the best as you work your way down this list. Have fun!

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  30. I'm going to try some if these with my almost 10month old I am a stay at home mom and needed ideas to keep us more entertained!!

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    1. Glad to hear it Anna! Infants can be challenging to our patience, but repetition is so good for their learning. You may even want to check out the Toddler Activities page since your child is closing in on toddler-age. Enjoy your time with your child!

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  31. There are some great ideas here. My eight-month-old wants my attention all the time. I'm constantly looking for new ideas for things I can do with her, but especially things that will teach her to play by herself. It gets REALLY hard to get anything done when she cries every time I walk away from her. I will definitely be using some of your ideas. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks for the nice comment! An 8-month old is still in a stage of not really understanding that when you leave you still exist. It can be hard at times to even use the restroom alone since she will think you have disappeared! She will grow out of it with time and understanding that you are there for her when she needs you. It is important for children to get time with us and also learn to entertain themselves. I know that is so helpful for getting time to just get things done that you need or want to do. I hope that you can find a few of these activities that will allow her to occupy herself for a few minutes here-and-there. You probably won't get a huge chunk of time all at once while she is still an infant, but slowly she will learn to play on her own when you can not be there with her one-on-one all of the time. Take care and all the best to you!

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  32. You could also put the plastic balls in a pack n' play for a mini ball pit. takes up less space than a blow up pool.

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    1. Yes, it could work. I don't use the pool and balls until the child is capable of crawling, so the pool offers more interest and mobility where the pack'n'play would not allow a child to climb in and out. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  33. I am a new mom and am fortunate to stay at home with my newborn. I came across your blog and want you to know that it is very influential. What great ideas you share! I am looking forward to trying them out, especially the kiddie pool filled with activity balls. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you so much! I am glad that you have found some ideas that you can try with your child. Enjoy your new baby!

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  34. Great ideas! However, like baby powder, flour can be a hazard and can cake up in breathing airways.

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    1. Thanks for the concern. Flour as an inhalation risk is linked more to workers in a plant that processes flour on a regular and constant basis. I think with the exposure to it that most young children have-when baking with their families-the risk is very minimal. There was no flour dust flying around when my daughter was exploring it, and I made sure to only put about a tablespoon on her tray. As with all activities on websites that are geared towards children, you as the parent need to assess the risk involved-if there is any-and judge whether it is worth the exploration experience that could be gained.

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  35. Thank you so much for posting these! I just laid out some pillows for my 16 month old son. He loved running back and forth, back and forth!

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    1. I am so glad to hear that! Thank you for sharing. All the best!

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  36. Thankx alot ur ideas are great u really enriched me with ur great ideas , one question , shall i put schedual for the activities such as focusing everyday at specific skill and activity or what ? Am a mom of twins who are almost one year old , they differs in their skills and abilities since one of them went uder open heart

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    1. Thank you,Sama. I am glad that they will be helpful. Obviously, you know that children are going to develop at different paces. At such a young age, I don't set a schedule of activities, because the skills they are working on are so few and require a lot of repetition. Go with their interest. If there are a few toys they really enjoy, keep those out and put others away. When they are not very interested in the first toys, then switch them for the ones you put away to change it up and reignite their interest. I do the same with the activities listed here. A few at a time and switch them when the skill has been learned or their interest has faded. Much of what you are teaching them is just to feel secure in the world because of your presence. Lots of reading, lots of cuddles and conversation-even if it is just you talking to them-I think are the most important for infants. Follow them as they develop-their skills and weaknesses will guide you. If you would like a checklist of infant skills, there is a link to one that I use in this post: http://www.thestay-at-home-momsurvivalguide.com/2011/12/crash-course-in-child-development.html. All the best to you and your children. How wonderful for them to have you!

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  37. Thank you for posting this! You are a gem! I had no idea what I was going to do for my daughters first birthday until late, late the night before when I remembered reading this post off Pinterest a while back. I found it quickly and made notes of what we would do the following day. We went through several activities and we did them all TOGETHER. The day was perfect and a day I will never forget. Thank you for providing such great inspiration and for reminding me that we can keep things simple and still bless our children in great ways!

    I wrote about her birthday here: http://www.carriesimple.blogspot.com/2013/01/7-activities-for-first-birthday.html

    Thank you again!

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    1. Carrie, I am so glad to read this and your post was very heartwarming. I am so glad to know that these activities and the time spent sharing them is beneficial to others. Makes it all worthwhile! It looks like you had a wonderful time. Simplicity really is too easy to not try, isn't it? Savor this time that you have with your daughter-what a wonderful foundation she will have for her life. Take care and thank you so much for sharing this.

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  38. What an awesome site with great tips. I have been looking for this!

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    1. Awesome, Kelly Ann! I am so glad that they look interesting to you and that you found it. I try to update this list about once a month, so stop back and check again. take care!

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    2. Great ideas. I have two months old baby.boy. When will ur ideas works on my baby?

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    3. With a two month old, there is still a lot of feeding, and (hopefully)sleeping going on, but there are a few activities on this list that you can try: #1, 5, 6,11 & 12 are ones you could do with supervision. I don't know your infant personally, so I can only take a guess based on general infant development. While holding him, read a book. He will hear your voice, the structure of language, and may catch some high contrast images here and there depending on which book you are reading. Small moments of interaction are what you can expect at this young age, but it's a start! Take care and thanks so much for the nice comment.

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    4. sudhapurnima2/06/2013 6:59 PM

      Hai jaimi,
      Thanks for the reply.
      Ur response is so nice.
      My name is sudha purnima n am the first time mum.And ur ideas wolud become very greatful to my baby's development in future. Thankyou.

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    5. You are very welcome. Enjoy your child and thanks for the comment.

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  39. Thank you for sharing all these superb child development activities!

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  40. I teach at a daycare, and a lot of these ideas are things we do in the classroom. I'm not a Mommy yet, but pinterest directed me here and I took a look. I plan on being a stay-at-home mom when I get there, and I have to say it's nice to see the homemade toy approach and to know I don't have to run to the store to provide my baby with everything I want to give them. But that ball-pit idea, I've never thought of that. I love it! I'm definitely keeping that in my repertoire. Thank you for the fantastic mommy plans!

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    1. Great, Kelsey! Yes, the homemade toy approach is definitely a focus in our house and my two children get excited when they have a new "learning game" to explore. I wish you the best in your work with little ones and in the future when you are able to have babies of your own. I appreciate you taking the time to share here!

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  41. Your ideas are ingenious and your blog has inpsired me to become a better mom!! Thanks you so much for choosing to post this information... you are an inspiration for all Moms!!

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    1. That is very kind of you to say. I am glad that you find some motivation from the posts. Take care!

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  42. Thank you so much for these ideas. They are awesome! I have a nine month old and she would love these.

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  43. Hi! I found you blog through Pintrest a couple weeks ago. I have already tried a few things you mentioned and my kids think I am amazing! lol My toddler loved the shape book more than my infant but still, at least it was successful somewhere right? My 7 month old especially loves the water play. He used to be a little nervous about water, but this activity got him really exploring it. Now bath times are fun for him. Thank you so much for this list.

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    1. Dory, thanks for sharing that! I love hearing how the activities are working in your home. I am glad to hear that they are helping out and keeping your children engaged in learning. You are a busy mom with two young ones. Thanks for stopping by to let me know how you found this page and how things were going. Take care a have fun with your children!

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  44. Thank you for the great ideas, i look forward to trying them all

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    1. I am so glad to hear that! I wish you all the best and thank you for the nice comment.

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  45. I enjoyed reading this post! As a brand new mom (my son is one month old), I often feel as though I'm not interacting with him enough. What age did you find most of these activities to be most beneficial?

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  46. Angie, we interact with our children in so many ways that don't involve activities that I bet you are doing more than you think! Just talking to your baby while you change him, singing a song as he tries out "tummy time" and reading short books to him in between his naps and feedings are great ways to interact. I talked to my babies a lot-when I was doing laundry I described what I was doing, and the same while cooking. On this page, #1 and #6 can definitely be tried with your baby now. You will be amazed how quickly he will be ready for some of the other ideas listed here. Enjoy your little one!

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  47. Thanks for this list! This has given me so many ideas for my 13 month old.
    On a side note, I didn't read the other comments so if I'm repeating someone, sorry, but this font is kinda hard to read on my iPad. Just FYI! :)

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    1. Thanks for the feedback and I hope you have fun trying out the activities! Take care!

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  48. Im new to being a stay at home mom and your blog has really made me feel confident I can teach and help my daughter learn and grow!

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    1. Ashley, there is nothing better than hearing that you feel more confident in your abilities. That is so awesome! I wish you all the best and, no matter the challenges, keep your head up and know you are the best for your daughter. She is a blessed girl to have you.

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  49. Will be spending the afternoon with my 1yr old grandson...will be prepared now to keep him busy...wish I'd known some of this when his mom was a baby

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    1. I hope you have a great afternoon with him! I am so glad that this list could provide some ideas.

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  50. I have a 15 month old baby girl and I sooo wish I'd done research a whole year earlier.. coming across your site has been so enlightening and exciting for me. At the same time, I fear I'm also very far behind.

    My baby doesn't say any words yet (though she babbles A LOT, complete with expressions and tones). She's sensitive, very affectionate and just wonderful.. it breaks my heart to realise that I've let so many months just go by (she's growing up so fast) and I've done nothing to help her develop. I play with her sometimes but I know its nowhere near how much I should've.

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    1. Maya, go easy on yourself! There are so many ways that we can interact with infants that do not need to involve specific activities like the ones listed here. It is not unusual for a child less than 2-2-1/2 to not be talking yet. One easy way that I tried to expose my children to language when they were infants was just to think out loud. I would just talk as I did the laundry, or made dinner, etc. I explained what I was doing, why I was doing it, and responded to my child when he/she made any noise or motion back. This is early development of conversational skills. It really is simple to interact with infants and you don't need to feel that you lost time. She is so young, just interact when you can and she will learn as time moves on. Take care!

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  51. Just found this on Pinterest I'm a full time babysitter to a 7 month old boy and am looking for new ways to engage him! He crawls around and is just starting to get into everything! These are so great! Thank you!

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    1. Renise, I am so glad to hear that you can use many while you care for that little boy. Thanks for letting me know that you found this list helpful! All the best to you!

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  52. I love this stage with my children! We play the game, "noses, eyes..." When you say "noses," you touch noses. When you say, "eyes," you touch eye to eye. When you say "forehead," you gently rub forehead to forehead and so on. We do ears, hair, thumbs, elbows, and knees, toes (being specific is fun too, like, big toe), etc. My kids enjoy this game from infant stage to ten years of age, to older.

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    1. Ha ha! The simple games are often the best, in my opinion. Sounds great!

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  53. i have a boy who is almost 1. its hard kepping him entertained. i tried the sticky tape on the ball and he loved it! he touched it and wasnt sure, touched it again a laughed :D thanks for all the tips x

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    1. That is great! I am glad that he had fun with it and that it worked for you too. Stop back again and take care!

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  54. Wow, what a wonderful collection of ideas! Such a great resource for keeping those babes occupied. We've done lots of them and have some new ideas now too! Thank you for sharing at our Pinning for Play link party!

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    1. Thanks, Lauren. I appreciate that! I love the opportunity to share with moms.

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  55. Cutie Patootie's Pajama Mama9/27/2013 9:50 PM

    Thanks so much I was looking for crafty activities for my 5 month old lil girl but most of the fun activities I've found are for kids a bit older. These ideas are simple and cheap too which is just wonderful!

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    1. I am glad that you stumbled across this site then! It's nice to know you can use them in your home.

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  56. Thank you for sharing this Jaimi! I'm a SAHM of a 10month boy. He is super active and I was running out of options to entertain him and interact with him. The boredom has kicked in BADD!! This has definitely provided me with various channels of communication and interaction with my baby. I'm looking forward to starting these activities with my son :)

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    1. I am so glad to read this, Kiran! You will be chasing him around very soon when he starts moving all over. Enjoy the calm now! I wish you the best and am glad to know you can use these activities in your home. Take care!

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  57. Hi, I'm a new Mom to a 4 month old boy. He is starting to get difficult to entertain and I'm find myself plopping him in front of the dreaded boob tube, which I really want to get away from myself. What activities are safe to do with him? I don't have money to spend even on things like construction paper so I really need creative around the house objects to keep him busy.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! I would not recommend that a child as young as 4 months even watch television unless it is on while you are watching it. Children that young need much slower, calmer inputs and interactions. Start saving any paper that comes in the mail that has a blank side-we keep this in a bin of scrap paper for drawing, and although you have a child too young to draw yet, you can start to accumulate some paper this way for when he gets older. Also, I read through this list of activities and jotted down a few that you can do in your home with no store-bought supplies other than items that you can find in your home, Here are the ones I would try: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (use scrap paper for this), 8, 14, 16, 20. I hope that can help a bit. There are so many cooking utensils (wooden spoons, whisks, bowls, etc, that children can handle and "play" with that you probably already have at home. Just use common sense-nothing sharp or hazardous-and always supervise. Let me know how it goes!

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    2. Thank you I will try some of the activities!

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  58. Thank you. I have an extremely active 1 year old and I have been dealing with post natal depression so aside from all the practical stuff and cuddles I have not been great at interacting with her and that is something I have desperatly wanted to change. I love her so much and she is my world and I feel this is going to really help. Thank you!!!

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    1. I hope it will be helpful for you! You are doing so much just by being available to cuddle and show her how to do all the practical stuff that needs doing in a day, so any extra activity is just icing on the cake! I wish you well and am so glad you took a moment to share here. All the best!

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  59. Great tips, I am very happy to visit to your blog. Here are some important information for me.

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    1. I am glad that you did visit! Come back again. :)

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  60. Thank you I cant wait to get started on these with my 5 month old so many good ideas :)

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    1. I am glad to see that you are excited to try some of these with your child! All the best to you and thanks for sharing here.

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  61. What a lovely piece! I am always looking for creative ideas to entertain my 8mo without having to buy lots of toys. I had started making photo books of my family (since I live in India and my family is in UK) but now I have loads of ideas to keep us both busy! Thank you!

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    1. I am glad you found this page and that you can use these ideas with your child! Enjoy your time together and thanks for letting me know the ideas are helpful.

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  62. Thanks for the ideas...my son has just turned 1 and I have done the different footprint pics etc and was looking for stuff that was more educational...he is currently playing "whats in the box" :P Anyways, if anyone is looking for something to do with kids that are a wee bit older Shadow Puppets go down a treat and take up ZERO space in the home :) xx

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    1. Great idea about shadow puppets. Definitely check out my other activity pages for older kids in case the ideas can be useful to your other children. Thanks for sharing here and I hope you enjoy your time with your child.

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  63. Hi Jaimi,

    I tried the 'what is inside the box' with my 12 month old son yesterday and he basically just shook the box. He wasn't curious as to what was inside at all! Is this a concern? I showed him at first ie I shook the box, then asked him what is inside the box, opened it, showed it to him and put the toy back in the box and gave it to him. He was only interested in shaking the box. What can I do to get him more curious about what is inside the box ?

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    1. Good question! If it was the first time you presented this activity to him, it may take a few tries before he plays along. You could try putting a toy that makes noise-like something with a bell in it or even a rattle. Don't show him the toy going into the box; just place one or a few toys in it when he is not looking and then present the box as you did and shake it so he can hear the sound. Ask, "What is in the box? Try to get it!" I hope that can help. Let me know how it goes!

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  64. Hey! I did a slightly modified version of the egg carton for my 8mo. I took a bunch of pictures and shared the activity on the blog, where I also linked back to you. Just FYI!

    http://beforeduringandafterblog.com/2014/02/12/sensory-play-egg-carton-full-textures/

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    1. Thanks for linking to this page, Bethany. I am glad that you are having fun exploring with your infant. All the best to you!!

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  65. Wow. Great ideas. Wish I had come across this page earlier.

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  66. Fantastic ideas! Look forward to trying them today.

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    1. Excellent! I hope it all is going well.

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  67. So fun! I think I want to do these with my own kids this summer ! I'm your newest follower !

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    1. Great! I am so glad you are following along and are going to try out a few activities. Let me know how it goes!

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  68. Thanks so much for blogging and giving me some good ideas! I find myself feeling bored and totally not creative staying at home all day, so I'm looking foward to trying these out! They'll be fun for both me and for baby!

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    1. Well, thank you for such a nice comment! This page is getting revamped a bit, so stop back to check out new activities as I post them. I wish you well!

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  69. This is great! Thank you for sharing! I think babies are so fun to be with!

    www.aznannies.com

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    1. Thanks, Daniela! Babies are fun. :)

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  70. This is so much fun! My wife and I decided to stay home and work so we could raise our baby. We married a little later in life and my wife was 40 when she got pregnant. It's been a wonderful journey! And many wipies have been pulled out all over the floor many a days! We decide to help other parents stay home and work so we started a little internet company called Work Online Academy. There they can learn and be mentored how to do without lost in the internet void. Big thumbs up to stay-at-home parents and their incredible babies!

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    1. What a great thing you are doing for your own baby and other parents! Thanks for sharing that. All the best to you and your family.

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  71. Love these great ideas. I'm forwarding this to my cousin for her little one.

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    1. Awesome, Anne! I hope it will be helpful for her.

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  72. Thanks so much for such an AMAZING array of ideas Jaimi! Where do I start :) Love the idea of the Wipes Pull Out Box, such a simple idea but one that my boy will definitely have so much fun with. Cheers, Julia

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    1. Thanks, Julia! I appreciate that. I am in the process of revamping this page so it will be more user-friendly and will be adding new ideas along the way. Thanks for stopping by!

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  73. I LOVE that idea. I will deffently have to try some of them out here soon.

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    1. Great, Tahna. I hope you enjoy them with your little one. :)

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  74. I just want to thank you for the work that you do and your willingness to share. You have created outstanding materials and we all benefit from your generosity.

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    1. Thanks so much! I love being able to share these ideas.

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Thank you for taking a moment to share!