Being a new mom is hard. Being a new mom is even harder in a pandemic.
I’m a stay-at-home mom with a one-year-old. She crawls on the ground, she puts everything in her mouth, and she’s too young to wear a mask. As Charleston becomes a COVID-19 hotspot, our family has made the decision to stay at home a little longer.
But with nowhere to go, the days can be long. As she’s walking more and napping less, I know we would have been doing so much more in our beautiful city. Although I’m thankful that we can stay at home, I’m grieving our adventures, I’m missing family and friends, and I’m running out of things to do.
To help myself, I wrote down all of my daughter’s favorite activities (plus some we’d like to try), so we can pick one when boredom strikes. Many of these can be done with things you already have around the house!
20 activities for babies
- Blow Bubbles: Bubbles are mesmerizing for babies. For older babies and toddlers, you can also try making your own bubbles with a recipe like this one using dish soap, water, and sugar.
- Make Popsicles: Fill popsicle molds with yogurt, fruit, or baby food purees for a fun treat.
- Match Lids to Containers: Fill a basket with small plastic containers and lids that baby can match and stack.
- Colored Ice Sensory Bin: For a hot day, play with colored ice cubes! Mix a cup of water with one or two drops of food coloring and freeze.
- Rainbow Spaghetti: Sacrifice a box of spaghetti and dye the noodles in different colors. Although fun on its own, you can also hide toys in the spaghetti pile for baby to find. We use these instructions from Messy Little Monster.
- Backyard Picnic: Find a nice spot in the shade and curl up with a story and a special snack.
- Play in the Sprinkler or Splash Pad: Little ones love to splash! You can do this by turning your sprinkler on low or you can buy a splash pad like this one.
- Dig in the Dirt: We use our beach buckets and shovels in an empty spot in a flowerbed to dig in the dirt, collect rocks, and pull weeds.
- Plant Flowers: My little one loves to look at flowers and dig in the dirt! Combine the two and plant flowers!
- Unpack Toys from a Box: Babies love to unpack things. Each day, I fill a small cardboard box with different toys to explore. You can make this more educational by adding different colors, textures, or using a different theme.
- Pillow and Blanket Obstacle Course: For an active baby, set up pillows and blankets on the floor. Baby will have fun crawling over and around.
- Yogurt Finger Paint: Another messy activity, dye yogurt with a few drops of food coloring and let baby create a masterpiece.
- Music with Pots and Pans: Drag a few pots, pans, and wooden spoons out onto the floor. Let baby bang away and make um, beautiful music.
- Play with Jello: Make Jello and let baby play! If you remember, before the Jello sets, add some toys, so baby can “dig” for the toys. This one is messy, so we like to play in the sprinkler after we’re done.
- Card Drop: Help baby develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination by dropping playing cards into a canister. Use an old oatmeal container and cut a small rectangular hole in the top. Demonstrate how to drop the cards for baby.
- Cloud Dough/Moon Sand: Combine an 8:1 ratio of flour to oil. We usually start with 2 cups of flour and a 1/4 cup of melted and cooled coconut oil. You can also add more oil to make it more of a playdough consistency and more flour to make it sandier.
- Oobleck: Oobleck is not a solid or a liquid, which makes it a fun sensory activity for preschoolers and all you really need is cornstarch and water. We use this recipe from Busy Toddler.
- Make a Sticky Wall: Another winning activity from Busy Toddler, we tape contact paper to our wall with the sticky side out. Give your little one paper, foam, pom poms, or other craft supplies to stick to their wall.
- Rice Sensory Bin: Fill a small container with rice and baby will just have fun touching it! Add measuring cups, bowls, and other containers to help baby scoop the rice and listen to the different sounds it makes hitting each new container.
- Water Table or Water Buckets: If all else fails, just add water! We love our water table, but honestly, we have just as much fun splashing, scooping, and pouring with a few small tubs, buckets, and cups.