Infants are all about hands-on activities. They love exploring new things, especially when they can touch what they are looking at. Being with a parent and having lots of interaction makes children feel much more secure. When kids feel safe, they have a lot more self-esteem and grow up to be confident individuals. I have a list of top 10 activities with your infant that you can try.
10. Water Aerobics
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Babies usually enjoy splashing around in the water. It’s also great for new parents to keep up with physical activity after the baby is born, so what better way than to combine playtime with exercise time. There are classes specifically designed for taking baby along. Water aerobics is also perfect for introducing your infant to water for the first time.
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Yoga is one physical activity that has been altered to fit just about everyone. There is yoga for pregnant women, elderly, super athletic people, kids, and even babies. The yoga poses used in the type of class that allows parents and infants are able to be done while holding baby. This is a great way to build up some arm strength as well. Being able to exercise with your baby makes it much more exciting.
8. Visit a Petting Zoo
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Most babies adore animals, no matter how large or small. Petting zoos are a great opportunity for people who want to expose their babies to animals, but don’t have any at home. Animals in a petting zoo are used to many people coming through in a single day, so they aren’t very skittish. They will allow just about anyone to pet them, which is perfect for introducing your infant to new animals in a safe manner.
7. Find Some Visual Stimulus
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Infants see different colors during each stage in their life. Once they are able to see color, the world is completely different to them. I remember taking my son to a fabric store and slowly taking him down the aisles of fabric. You should have seen his eyes when he saw all the colors. The containers of beads and buttons are equally as stimulating to infants. If you aren’t able to head out of the house, then try finding items around the house that might be visually stimulating.
6. Go to the Beach
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The combination of sand and water can be fun, as well as soothing to an infant. Sand on the toes is a great new experience. The sound of the waves is soothing and lulling to watch. Sitting in the sand and letting the water wash over your legs can be very exciting to an infant that has never experienced this sensation before. The hardest part will be to keep sandy fingers out of your infant’s mouth if he/she grabs a handful of sand.
5. Snuggle up and Read
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This is a great rainy-day activity. Bright picture books or ones that have sounds can make the reading time a bit more exciting. There are plenty of children’s books that appeal to many senses all at once. Even if you only have a few different ones, most infants will be intrigues by the same ones over and over again.
4. Play with Some Interactive Toys
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I remember playing with pots and pans and wooden spoons when I was little. Occasionally I had some rice or beans that I could pour from one container to another. These were the best interactive toys of my time. Today, there are toys that talk, make noises, flash lights, and a variety of other things to keep kids interested. The interactive toys for infants are built in such a way that their slight touch will trigger a variety of responses from the toy. You’d be amazed at how much fun these can be for adults too!
3. Enjoy a Blanket Ride
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Even though this may seem like something that isn’t extremely exciting to you, it can be a fantastic experience for an infant. Get a really thick blanket, lay your infant on his/her back and then slowly pull him/her around the house. I’ve had my kids fall asleep this way many times. This works best on hardwood floors, but I recommend a very thick for this to make it more comfortable.
2. Swing in the Park
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Swinging provides just enough breeze and motion to be very soothing. It’s even better if you don’t have to go to the local park to swing. A large front porch swing is much more efficient and comfortable. There are baby swings at most parks, but these are usually hard plastic or wood. I always liked it more when I could hold on to my kids and swing with them. It’s much easier to control when you start and stop the swing as well.
1. Spend Some Time Outdoors
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If you are the outdoorsy type, then investing in a backpack for your infant might be a good idea. You don’t have to have a fancy baby backpack for carrying your child though. Any outdoors time is better than none. I used to walk around the yard and point out the bright flowers in the garden or the sounds of the birds. You’d be surprised at how much they pick up and remember later on.
I hope you can add to these top 10 activities with your infant that I’ve described. Do you have something that your infant enjoys over everything else? Are there any activities that friends have suggested to you? I’m open to new ideas!
Top Photo Credit: Steven Coen