Baby activities

by Dawn Kelly. Tops tips for simple and fun play activities you can do with a your baby.

Woman with babies playing

Introduction

Taking care of a young baby is very tiring work - with a seemingly neverending cycle of feeding, changing nappies and broken sleep.

When you are exhausted, it can be harder to notice that a baby is really alert to what you do and say. It can be even harder if you have been told 'Babies don't do anything' or 'They're not very interesting at first'.

However, if you watch and listen to babies, you soon realise that people who say these things are missing so much. Babies are learning from their first days.

How CBeebies can help

The CBeebies website has a lot of fun activities that may inspire you and your baby to try something new. It also offers songs and nursery rhymes, should you need to brush up on the words. You can find these through our Fun Activities page.

Many experts believe that children under 2 years of age should not watch television as it limits the amount of time an adult spends interacting with their baby or the time the baby spends exploring their world.

However, watching suitable TV programmes together may facilitate positive interactions whilst you make comments about what's happening and why.

CBeebies shows that are suitable for you to watch with your baby include:

Baby Jake - a programme featuring a baby alongside other characters. It's gently paced allowing an older baby/toddler to follow and join in with Baby Jake's gurgles and giggles.

Something Special - it's simple, fun and informative and each programme focuses on aspects of the children's world about them. It has a gentle pace and encorages parent/child interaction whilst simultaneously teaching sign language.

Waybuloo - a programme set in a magical fantasy world which features young children playing alongside the animated characters. This is another gently-paced show that you could watch with your little one.

How to make a magic moment

Rattles, simple stacking cups, tough picture books, good quality bricks, dolls and teddies all go down a treat with babies - but the best toy ever invented for babies is you!

A playful, attentive adult comes equipped with a voice, eyes, ears, hands, a lap and a memory of what the baby liked yesterday.

For those exhausting moments, let your little one play with a treasure bag and sit back and watch. Your treasure bag can contain a range of items that are not conventional toys, e.g. a metal spoon, a small plastic dish or bowl, a piece of cloth (such as a muslin or tea towel). Check that everything is safe to go in a baby's mouth and has no rough edges.

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Expert opinion

Babies build their own brains through their early conversations with you and by playing with simple materials.

Toys need to be kept clean, but baby toys do not all have to be plastic. Board and cloth books are great as they will survive the inevitable chewing.

Babies are very happy playing with a cardboard box or banging a saucepan with a spoon. They learn from simple toys that they can move about, shake, put into bigger containers and take out again.

Dawn Kelly, Baby & Child Development Expert, (RGN, RSCN, BSc, PGDipHV, PGDipEd, RNT, PGDipRes)

Top tips

  • Activities for your baby can be relatively simple. Sing them a song or nursery rhyme. They really won't care if you are out of tune! They love to watch and listen and will soon join in.Babies benefit from hearing a range of music. Enjoy a mix of pop, dance or classical music - whatever you like!Babies like being danced around in your arms. When a little older they'll bounce or rock to tunes.Babies love books. Sit him/her on your knee and enjoy a short story or picture book together.

Parent's tale

I've found that babies just love it when you pull funny faces, so all our games involve lots of singing, rhyming and plenty of face pulling. It always gets a smile!

Graham, From Birmingham

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