16 DIY Infant Activities (Ages 3 - 16 months)

These are some activities you can do with your little ones before they are ready for pre-school activities. *ALWAYS be sure that you watch them closely with these items, since infants put everything in their mouths. The activities on this page are intended for supervised play only!

REMEMBER - if your baby doesn't seem interested the first time you try something, try again in a week or two.



   TACTILE BALLOONS

This is an excellent tactile activity. Fill balloons (without air) with:
* Sand
* Playdough
* Marbles
* Jello
* Rice
* Water
* Cooking Oil

Make sure to tie them off well. Allow your infant to squeeze the balloons. The many different textures will intrigue them! Do not let them put it in their mouths! This is great for manual dexterity.




   PILL BOTTLE SHAKERS

When you have emptied a few pill bottles, clean off the labels. Put some rice, beans, or even small washers in the bottles and secure the lid. It is best to use child proof bottles! Babies will love to shake these! It helps them learn to grasp and move their arms they way they want. When their movements have a definite reaction, they keep trying!



RIBBON RINGS  

Take a shower ring, cheap plastic bracelet, or any other ring you can find and tie different colors and textures of ribbons to it. Dangle it above baby's head so they have to reach for it. This is fun because of the colors, the textures, and teaches dexterity as they try to grab it. DO NOT allow baby to play with this without supervision as it could get wrapped around baby's neck.




POM POM PUSHING   

Clean out a coffee can, or a yogurt, butter or cream cheese container or use one of those disposable plastic storage containers. Cut small round holes in the lid. Make sure they are small enough that you have to push the ball through. Show your baby how you push the pom poms through the hole! Once they get it, they will do this for a while! This teaches manual dexterity and also shows "object permanence". Once the pom pom goes in the hole, is it gone? Show them where it went!





BLACK & WHITE PICTURES FOR VISION DEVELOPMENT


Infants can only focus on things about 8 to 10 inches from their face. They can focus well on black and white images with big, bold lines. These images can help to develop infant's vision! The first 4 pages are for the younger babies, say 2 to 4 months. The 5th page is for slightly older babies with more developed vision, around 5 and 6 months. Print these out, cut out the squares and laminate. You can use them during diaper changes, feedings, and tummy time. Print the pictures out HERE!




  BABY FOOD FINGER PAINTING

This is great fun and you don't have to worry if they put this in their mouths! Put them in their high chair and put a couple of globs of different colored baby food around the edge of the tray. Show the baby how to run your finger through it and then use their finger to do it. Then let them go crazy! The texture will be great for them and this will also help them with their dexterity.








MIRRORS

During Tummy Time, prop a mirror up in front of baby. Babies are fascinated by other babies, so they will love to look at themselves in the mirror. They don't know that it is just them looking at themselves! This will help promote holding their heads up and strengthening those important core muscles.







 
   FABRIC BUSY BOARD

Get a collection of scrap materials at a fabric store. Hot glue them around a piece of cardboard. You can also use other interesting textures such as craft poms, puffy paint, different textures of ribbon, etc. *Make sure the items are secured so that they can't pull them off and put them in their mouths! Prop the board up in front of the baby and let them feel all the different fabrics. This is not only great for texture and dexterity, but can help give your baby a reason to want to sit up while they do this. You can sit them in the middle of a Boppy or in a Bumbo.

If you want to step it up, also attach a zipper and some Velcro to the board. This can be a fun little activity center.









NON MESSY FINGERPAINTING  


Tape a piece of white (or other color) paper to the table. Put some paint in a sealable gallon baggie and smush out all the air. Seal it and then also tape over the seal (just to be safe!). Tape the bag over the paper and let them make designs in the paint. Great fun and no mess. Can't beat that!




BASKET OF GOODIES   

Place a number of different toys and stuffed animals in a basket that the baby can reach into. Allow them to pull everything out. Then show them how to put everything back in. Some babies will do this over and over again!





    SCARF PULL

Babies just LOVE to pull things out of other things! Take a large, empty tissue or wipes box and stuff it full of old scarves or other fabric remnants. Let baby pull them out, one by one. They will do this for HOURS!






BLOWING BUBBLES

Blow bubbles around a baby who can sit up and swat at things and you have instant fun! Easy and tons of fun.  Gives baby lots of practice trying to reach things and sitting up practice.



CHEERIO CHALLENGE

Place Cheerios inside a plastic water bottle with no lid. Give it to baby and see if she can figure out how to get them out and into her mouth! Great for problem solving and manual dexterity.






PAPER PLAY

Place several different types of paper in front of baby. Try foil, magazine paper, regular white paper, wax paper, wrapping paper, crepe paper. Allow them to explore by crinkling, tearing, crunching and wadding! Great tactile stimulation.



ICE CUBE PAINTING



Make ice cubes in different colors using food color or kool-aid. Put a piece of white paper on baby's tray and let them find out what happens as they rub the ice around the paper. You don't have to worry if they put these in their mouths! Good visual stimulation and creative expression.







STICKER HIDE AND SEEK
Find some brightly colored stickers. Dress baby in minimal clothing and sit in front of you. Show baby the stickers and quickly place one somewhere on baby's body. Ask "where is the sticker?" When they begin to look for it, tell them "no, it's not on your hand!" And so forth. When they find it be sure to clap and praise like crazy and say "Yes! It was on your leg!" This activity is excellent for problem solving and body part awareness.








PIPE CLEANER STUFFER CAN

A Pringles can works best for this one! Clean out the can. Punch some small holes into the lid. A paper hole puncher makes the perfect size holes! Decorate the can however you please. Show baby how to push pipe cleaners down through the holes into the can. I like to use big, fluffy pipe cleaners. Once they are inside, shake the can and it will make interesting noises.

9 comments:

  1. These are great! Everything I find is for toddlers, but I can do most of these with my 8-month-old. Thank you!

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  2. Many of your ideas are good, but I would strongly caution against using balloons and marbles with infants and toddlers. Since this age group is extremely sensory and everything winds up in their mouth, giving them an object that is a known choking hazard is not a good idea.

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  3. I completely agree that you must be careful with some of these. That is why I included the warning at the top of the page where I mentioned your above concerns. If you feel as though you are not comfortable allowing your child to play with certain items, then by all means don't let them. Thanks!

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  4. Now how to get play doh in a balloon lol I ley kiddos play with choking hazards but only if I am right there playing too - not distracted!

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    1. That is a great question! Try this: Squish the playdough into an empty water bottle. Stretch the open end of the balloon over the mouth of the bottle. Turn the bottle upside down and the playdough should slide into the balloon. I make it sound easy, it will actually take a little effort to get it in there. It should work though! Good luck.

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  5. Maybe cut the top off of the water bottle so it a wider mouth? N ot sure if the balloon will stretch that much though.

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  6. use a funnel with a little bit wider mouth. put balloon over the end and push the play doh thru, like a play doh factory. might take a minute. Lol

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  7. Yay thanks for posting this! Infant activities play kind a difficult to find:)

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  8. You are so welcome! I hope you have fun with these

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