A variety of fun, creative baby activities you and your newborn can enjoy together. Help your child discover new skills while bonding with you.
This first stage of life is marked by mostly uncontrollable movements and reflexes. As the child ages, these involuntary movements make way for more deliberate movements in just a few months.
By playing some of these baby games, you can help your baby form some important neural connections, lay a foundation upon which to build future skills, and introduce your child to the world around him.
Your infant is limited in what she can actually do in these early months, but there are definitely some excellent games you can play with her. As she gets older, there are a lot more activities she’ll be able to do.
However, even after your baby develops past these games, I would highly recommend continuing with some because babies love them.
The infant activities are divided by age, but the breakdown is somewhat arbitrary because babies develop at different rates. You might want to browse through all of the baby activities to find those that interest you.
Anytime you can sing or talk to your baby during the activities, do it. It’s soothing to infants to hear your voice and listen to songs, and it also helps in their language development as they begin to associate objects to words.
And just as important, anytime your baby makes an effort and does something good, pour on the praise!
Your baby will enjoy motion and the opportunity to get out of her horizontal position. As she moves around with you, she will start to develop a sense how her body orients itself in space.
*Many of these infant activities are adapted from ideas found in a wonderful book, Games to Play with Babies by Jackie Silberg. She has authored a variety of books about baby and toddler games.
Milestones in stages of child development
Baby Activities #1
- Hold baby and walk in a circle. Allow him to face forward some of the time, so he can visually explore in front of him.
- Walk at different speeds – slow, fast, run.
- Change the size of the circle.
- Walk in different ways – backwards, on tiptoes, sway, gallop, skip.
- Dance and spin while you walk.
- Sing while you walk.
- Move in time with music.
Baby Activities #2
Rock & Roll
Baby Activities #3
- Attach a variety of balls and colorful objects to strings. Use objects of different sizes, textures, and colors.
- Use anything that is lightweight and will move easily when hit – balloons, ribbons, yarn balls, whiffle balls, paper plates, scarves.
- Hold them above baby while he’s lying on floor, so he can bat at them with his hands or kick at them with his feet.
- Suspend target objects from items like PVC pipe, close hangers, broom handles, or other household items.
Baby Activities #4
- Stroke baby with a variety of soft objects – blanket, feather, cotton ball, silk cloth.
- Pay attention to baby’s response to each item to find the ones he enjoys the most.
- Touch all parts of body, naming each part as you stroke it.
- Stroke slowly and then faster.
- Stroke using different amounts of pressure.
Baby Activities #5
Baby Activities #6
- Play with your baby’s fingers to help her explore what they can do.
- Encourage her to open and close her fists by giving her toys to grasp and shake.
- Help him wiggle his fingers fast and slow.
- Move her fingers to touch different parts of her body and name the parts as she touches them.
- Help her touch parts of your face and body.
- Count his fingers as you hold each one.
- Massage and tap fingers in rhythm as you sing.
Baby Activities #7
- Help baby sit up and hold a small toy in front of her.
- Touch the inside of her hand with it and help her grasp it by folding her fingers around it.
- Remove your hand and see how long she can hang on to it by herself. She will only be able to hold it a few seconds at best before dropping it.
- Repeat the activity with her other hand. Over time, she will become stronger and gain the ability to hold on to it with both hands.
- Repeat the activity using both hands together.
- Try toys of different sizes and textures – soft, hard, cool, smooth, tiny, square, round.
Baby Activities #8
- Lie on your back and lay baby on your stomach facing you.
- Call his name, sing to him, and talk to him to encourage him to lift his head to look at you.
- Lay baby on the floor on her tummy and hold bright, colorful, and sound-making objects in front of her so she will be motivated to lift her head to see them.
Baby Activities #9
Baby Activities #10
- Lay baby on his back and get his attention by holding a toy above his face.
- Slowly move the toy to one side and encourage baby to grab for it. If he rolls over, give it to him.
- Repeat activity to the other side.
- Provide a gentle push if baby isn’t able to roll over completely on his own.
- Re-position your body on the side you wish him to roll and sing or talk to him to provide more motivation.
Baby Activities #11
Find the Noise
- Shake a rattle, ring a bell, beat a drum, play music or make some other kind of noise in different locations around the room.
- Move sounds to both sides of the baby’s head, behind her, above her and below her.
- Make the noise softer and louder, faster and slower.
- Hide sounds under and behind objects.
- The object is encourage your baby to search for the noise with her eyes.
Baby Activities #12
- Put a squeaky toy in baby’s hand or attach a bell to her foot or wrist.
- She’ll grasp it out of reflex and most likely be startled when it squeaks.
- This, like many of the other activities listed, is a great way to learn cause and effect. Over time, she will learn that she is the one making the sound.
Baby Activities #13
- Hold a finger in the air and move it around while making a buzzing sound like a bee while baby’s eyes will follow the movement and sound.
- Make the bee land somewhere on your baby and give a tickle.
- Use finger lights, finger puppets, or brightly colored objects on your finger.
Baby Activities #14
- Prop baby up on his tummy on an object like a pillow or rolled up towel, so he can keep his head up and look around.
- Prop up a mirror in front of him, so he can watch himself.
- Lie down next to your baby so he can see both of your faces in the mirror.
- Place interesting items in front of mirror and let him watch them.
- Move the mirror slightly to different positions and encourage baby to turn his head.
Baby Activities #15
- Put a colorful sock on your baby’s foot, and move her foot so she can see it.
- Put the sock on the other foot and then put socks on both feet.
- Place them on each hand, then both, and move her hands so she can see them.
- Provide different tactile sensations by gently squeezing, rubbing, tickling, clapping together, etc.
Baby Activities #16
- Move a flashlight beam around in a dark room so your baby can follow the light with her eyes.
- Shine it on the ceiling, floor, and wall.
- Shine it on different objects in the room.
- Shine it on other family members or pets.
- Shine it on your baby’s hands and feet.
- Shine it on different parts of your body.
- Put finger lights on your fingertips so he can track your movements.
Baby Activities #17
- Lay your baby on his back with legs up.
- Hold your baby’s legs at the ankles and move his legs in a variety of patterns.
- Change the speed and size of the movements.
- Move to the rhythm of music.
- Bicycle – flex and extend legs alternately like he’s pedaling a bike.
- Resistance – push gently on one leg at a time and on both legs together until his knees bend to encourage him to push back.
- Straddles – open legs out to the sides.
- Scissors – with legs straight, move legs up and down in opposite directions like a pair of scissors.
- Flex & extend – with one leg at a time or both legs, bend and straighten his legs.
- Straight leg kick – with legs straight, extend legs up and down at the waist.
- Circles – with one leg at a time or both legs together, extend legs and move them about in a circle. Move them together in one circle, or move each in its own circle. Move the circles in the same direction or move them in opposite directions.
- Foot tap – tap bottom of his feet with your hands.
- Count toes – touch each toe as you count it.
- Walk & run – move legs in a slow-motion walking pattern and then speed it up to running.
- Body cross – touch right foot to the left foot and then touch left to right. Then touch one foot to the hand on the opposite side.
Baby Activities #18
- Lay baby on her back with her hands up.
- Hold her arms and move them in a variety of patterns.
- Change the speed and size of your movements, move to rhythm.
- Claps – clap her hands together.
- Flex & extend – with one arm at a time or both at once, bend and straighten arms. Bend them alternately or bend them together.
- Side stretch – with one arm at a time or both at once, stretch arms out to the sides and then bring them together to the chest.
- Snow angel – with both arms extended at her sides, fan her arms up and down against the floor like she’s making a snow angel.
- Head stretch – with one arm at a time or both together, extend arms up above the head and back down again.
- Circles – with one arm at a time or both arms together, extend arms and move them about in a circle. Move them together in one circle, or move each in its own circle. Move the circles in the same direction or move them in opposite directions.
- Count fingers – touch each finger as you count it.
- Finger stretch – rub her palm against yours to gently stretch out her fingers.
- Body cross – touch right arm to the left arm and then touch left to right. Then touch one hand to the foot on the opposite side.
- Bear hugs – lay a stuffed animal on baby’s chest and wrap baby’s arms around it to give it a hug.
- Finger grasp – let her grasp your fingers while you raise your arms. If she can hang on, lift her up to sitting and then lay her back down.
- Hand tap – hold hands and tap on different objects.
- Take your time with each activity. Don’t rush.
- Provide plenty of praise when your baby is successful.
- Talk to your baby and sing during activities whenever possible.
- Make sure baby is alert and awake.
For a Twist:
- Add music and perform actions to different rhythms.
- Play games in different environments and rooms.
- Prop baby in different positions on a variety of objects – in stroller, baby seat, on pillows, bean bag chair.
Is your baby blind or visually impaired? WonderBaby has lots of baby activities for your little one’s special needs