Thursday, 22 March 2012

35 Ways to Have Fun Under One!

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Baby and Toddler Play Ideas

Recently someone asked me for play ideas for a 10 month old - I have to admit it took me a while to know what to suggest. Vin has always been the kind of kiddo who gets bored quickly, so I have always had to think on my feet, plus I'm not always convinced that 'proper toys' are always worth it - I didn't want to say 'well actually my kid would play with a silicone whisk/ box of pinecones/ cracker box'. But that's exactly what little ones find fascinating. I don't know how many times I have heard parents complain that they spent so much money on 'fun educational gadgets' for their kids only for the kid to prefer a roll of tape or the box it came in!

Babies & toddlers are able to play more than people understand, mostly they're easy to please (or distract) -they like simple fun, exploring, interaction and sensory stimulation... here are some ideas from some great bloggers to get you started...

1. Roll a ball

2. Read a story - check out The Educators' Spin On It for tips and book recommendations for reading to babies

Baby and Toddler Play Ideas
Fingerpainting for Toddlers

3. Fingerpaint - Rainy Day Mum has a great Fingerpaint Recipe made from kitchen ingredients so fine for a little taste exploration!

4. Play with a sponge ball

5. Explore textures like we did with our Tactile Exploration Cards

6. Make sponge towers inspired by Toddler Approved

7. Dry pasta makes a great early sensory experience - hide some favourite toys and invite your little one to search for them

Waterplay Sensory Play for Babies
Waterplay for Babies
8. Splash around with a bowl of water and some cups

9. I love cotton wool balls for a sensory material (under extra supervision as they look super-tasty to little hands!) Check out our Bathtime Sensory Tub for inspiration

10. Fill a room with balloons (only under adult supervision)

11. Play peek-a-boo

12. Take a bath - check out Growing a Jewelled Rose's Sensory Baths for lots of colourful playful ideas

Fine Motor Practise for Toddlers
Fine Motor Practise 
13. Practise fine motor skills especially that important pincer grip - pop some Cheerios, raisins, (cooked) pasta twists, halved grapes in a bowl and let your baby feed themself

15. Messy play - strip down to a nappy, pop your little one in their highchair on an oilcloth/playmat then let them get messy with some shaving foamcooked spaghetti or this soapy mud from Sun Hats & Wellie Boots

14. Blow bubbles and watch the delight spread over their little faces!

Discovery Boxes for Babies
Discovery Boxes and Treasure Baskets
16. Put together a treasure basket full of safe things for your baby to explore - we used to play with pinecones, curtain rings and cotton reels, check out Nurturestore for more Treasure Basket inspiration

17. Smell flowers

18. Attach strips of ribbon to a mobile or baby gym for your baby to touch and reach for (under close supervision, also ensure your baby cannot pull themselves up on them)

Play Ideas for Babies
Homemade Shakers
19. Create some simple shakers using recycled baby food jars and beads or dried beans. We have some made out of plastic Easter Eggs like these ones from Mama Smiles

20. Lie back and watch the clouds float by

21. Create some handprint art like these Handprint Birthday Cakes, Sea Creatures or this super-cute 'Don't Let the Pigeon...' artwork from Juggling With Kids

Play Activities for Toddlers
Play in the Grass
22.  Crawl in the grass

23. Bond with some Baby Massage - check out this post from Angelique Felix over at The Imagination Tree

24. Nappy off time

25. Explore with your feet

26. Play with jelly like we did here or this gorgeous Rainbow Gelatin Sensory Tub from No Time For Flashcards

27. Take your lunch outside and have a picnic

28. Visit the library - you are never too young to join the library (Vinnie was 4 weeks old when he got his first library card!) most of them have a Storytime or Sing and Song time to enjoy too

29. Tickle

35. Practise crawling by chasing cardboard tubes around the floor

Playtime Inspiration for Babies and Toddlers
Mirror Play
31. Inspect your reflection with some Mirror Play

32. Create a photo album full of friends and family

Fun ideas for children under one

33. Make animal noises. Roar, miaow and moo with your baby

34. Play airplane

35. Check out this great pinboard of Baby & Toddler play ideas with pins from Rainy Day Mum, Growing a Jewelled Rose, Sun Hats & Wellie Boots, Creative Family Fun and Hands On : As We Grow amongst others!


  1. Fantastic post! Thanks for all the linky love! I will be pinning an sharing this one all week :)

  2. Beautiful, easy reading post. Just the way I like it!

    Compliments for your work and the new own domain...***CELEBRATION***


  3. What a great selection. I'm pinning to the Baby Play, Baby and Toddler Board that I'm a member of and sharing as well. Thank you for the mention as well.

  4. Love this collection of ideas!!! Thanks for the linking over to my shaker eggs, too :)

  5. a lot of great ideas! i pinned it! and i love vin's little red hair! my bear had that color hair too!

  6. I love the "chase cardboard tubes" tip. Little ones at this age are into the simplest things!

  7. Thanks for including us with the resource of ideas for new moms! We've been talking about spending time outdoors with your baby too to observe all the animals, sights and sounds of nature.

  8. Charlotte, you have featured awesome ideas for babies under one. I think parents can put all these ideas to good use.

  9. These are such good ideas. I really liked the bathtime sensory tub...I think that my 7 month old and 2 year old could enjoy that together. (And my 4 year old probably will wander over to play too :))

  10. Great tips!! I just linked to your page via pinterest @parentfurther. Thanks for sharing!!

  11. I have pinned this to the Tuesday Tots board as well! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  12. I don't know how I missed this before. (could it be I'm chasing a babe around lol). Anyway GREAT ideas here! Pinning ;) You have inspired me with a few of them.

  13. This is great! My LO is a little older than one but still loves a lot of these ideas. Thanks!

  14. Thank you! It's fantastic! Going to share on Facebook for sure! @aznannies

  15. A very nice informational blog. Keep on making such important blog post. Your work is really being appreciated by someone. Revoluza Signup


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