Your first year with baby is a magical, and often a very tiring, time. You go from being given this tiny little creature that needs feeding, changing and burping all day, to seeing them grow and their little smiles and giggles emerge. Their characters develop in front of you and suddenly you are getting to know this whole new person. Often you want to enjoy doing things with them. You want to do something fun that you can both take part in, but you don’t know what you can do. When they’re so young you can feel that they need to be near the home, as they are often eating and sleeping for much of the day. Doing any activity can seem difficult. Know that actually there are a lot of fun baby activities that you can enjoy together. We’ve put together a little list of them for you here. Choose baby activities that you enjoy as well to make it a fun day for you both!
Give baby a nice massage
This is a lovely way to bond with your baby, and can be enjoyed from when they are newly born. There are lots of baby massage classes up and down the UK and so you can find one near you and join in. Alternatively you can buy baby massaging books or look up you tube videos, to learn lots of ways to do baby massage. It can help baby feel calm and relaxed. You can do these at home and experience beautiful baby bonding moments. You could bring it into your baby’s daily or bedtime routine, maybe giving them a little massage after their bath.
Go for a dip
Swimming is a great way to spend time with your baby. It helps build up trust between you, as well as being lots of fun. It’s never too early to introduce your baby to water. If you do so from a young age they can build up confidence in the water and enjoy it as they start to learn to swim. Some little water babies enjoy splashing in the pool right away. Others can be a bit unsure so you might need to keep trying before they are happy to join in in the water. Either way the whole swimming pool experience is easier if you can find a nice warm pool, with well-equipped changing rooms, baby change stations and highchairs. Ask other parents which are the most family friendly pools near you or have a look online.
Start a baby activity class
There are so many classes out there that you and your baby can try. There is everything from messy play, baby gym, baby music and much more. Many take babies from a young age and they also offer a free trial class. This means you can try them out and see if you and your baby enjoy them before booking a regular place. The great thing about finding a weekly class is that it gets you out of the house. It also means you will meet lots of other local parents with babies of around the same age, some of whom might become great friends.
Babies love exploring books and listening to stories, even when they are too young to really understand the words. There’s something very calming about being read to. Snuggling up with a book from a very early age can help foster a lifelong love of reading. At home babies will love colourful books with lots of textures to explore and noises to hear, as well as chunky board books with bright illustrations. Outside the home local libraries often have regular story times and rhyme times for babies and toddlers. These are lovely to join in with and best of all, most of them are free too.
Buggy fitness classes
As a new parent it’s harder to carve out time to go to the exercise classes that you enjoyed in your pre-baby days. There are now many buggy fitness sessions that are designed especially for parents and their babies. All the exercises can be done with your baby in tow, in their buggy. The classes are great fun, and keep you fit and healthy. Again they can be a lovely way to meet other parents.
Take a trip to the beach
The seaside is full of new textures, sights, sounds, smells and experiences for your baby. You can hold them and let them feel the waves gently lapping their feet and let them sit and grasp at the sand. There is something magical about being on a beach, whatever the weather. You just feel calmer and more at peace with the world. And that makes a trip to the beach great for parents too.
Have a boogie
Babies respond well to music and a dance and sing-a-long is a great way to boost your mood too. So have a little indoor disco time with your baby. They will love being bopped about in your arms as you throw your best dance moves. With older babies you can get the pots and pans and wooden spoons out and encourage them to bang out a beat. A blast of music and a boogie is the perfect way to shake up a day and make you both smile.
Discovery boxes are great baby activities. They can keep babies amused for a long time and engage all five senses: touch, sight, sound, smell and taste. They are also very easy to make. Find a nice box or basket and fill it with all sorts of ‘treasures’. These can be anything from around the house or garden that is safe for your baby to pick up and explore. Make sure the baskets contain lots of different textures. Ideas for what to pop in include a toothbrush, a wooden spoon, a rubber duck, an old car key, little jars filled with rice or lentils, an old remote control (take out the batteries), a bell… You can keep changing the ‘treasures’ to keep this activity fresh and new. Baby will love exploring each new item.
Walks in the park
Babies love being outside in the fresh air and experiencing all the sights, sounds, smells and textures of the great outdoors. Remember everything is new to them, ducks, lakes, grass, leaves and birds flying in the sky, are all things that will fascinate them and capture their imagination. You could find your own favourite route and repeat that every day, maybe with a playground or coffee shop at the end of it.
If you prefer the variety you could try going somewhere different each day. You can explore new corners of your neighbourhood together that you have never found the time to visit before. A short walk each day and the fresh air will make you feel so much better too, after all caring for a baby is a full-time job!
It’s a good idea to plan at least one small thing each day. This can give you both some sort of structure and avoid you both getting cabin fever and going stir crazy. You can adjust the baby activities as they get older to keep it engaging for them. Otherwise choose what you and baby enjoy most and seize the day!