#atozchallenge A is for Activities

Posted 1st April 2016 by Anstice in Blog Fests & Hops, Family / 🗨0 Comments

Today kickstarts the 2016 A-Z Blogging Challenge! This will be my 5th attempt at the challenge and I’m so excited. The aim is to write a post for every day of the month except for Sundays, with each post representing a different letter of the alphabet. This year, since I’ve just become a mum for the first time, my theme is: ‘an A-Z of Newborn Care’. I’ll be talking about all the highs and lows of parenting, sharing things that have been useful for me and posting some cute pictures.

For the letter ‘A’ I have chosen to talk about Activities. I’m going to share some ideas for games and other things that you can do with a young baby.

The first few weeks of life with a newborn are a blur of feeds, nappy changes, baths and visits from friends and family. Your baby is either sleeping or eating most of the time and you are probably in a sleep-deprived haze, just trying to survive each day at a time.

But around six weeks or so, babies tend to start smiling and becoming more interested in the world around them. As the weeks go on they start to discover their hands and feet and show an interest in toys, maybe even reaching out for them. No longer content to sleep the day away, they want more and more interaction and you have to think of increasingly creative ways to engage them.

Here are some ideas for activities that you can do with a young baby.

Toys

My little one still isn’t really interested in toys, but she does like her play mat or ‘baby gym’. There are some excellent interactive play mats like the Fisher Price Kick and Play Piano Gym , but we bought a very simple mat second hand for £1 and customised it by adding lots of hanging toys. At the moment she just likes to watch them and occasionally bat them with her hands.

All tired out after a good play session.

Friends and relatives tend to buy lots of lovely cuddly toys as gifts so I don’t recommend spending a lot of money on those. I do like the sensory toys that have lots of different colours, textures and shapes to play with, especially those by Lamaze (we have Torin the T Rex). We also have a Babies R Us Jungle Friends Activity Spiral that easily attaches to the cot, car seat or pram. Leona likes looking in the little mirror. Another favourite is the V Tech Little Singing Alfie– a fun musical bear that talks and plays songs.

Games

I didn’t realise you could play games with tiny babies until I stumbled across Can Do Kiddo. The site is filled with lots of fun and creative games and activities that you can play from birth onwards. Kids Activities Blog is also a fantastic resource. We play lots of simple little games like ‘Rub, rub, rub, clap, clap, clap‘, ‘Round and round the garden goes the teddybear‘ and moving our finger round in a spiral towards her face while whistling higher and higher until we ‘boop’ her on the nose. It always makes her smile.
Babies need lots of ‘face time’-looking directly at them and talking to them when they coo at you. Research has shown  that newborn babies prefer to look at smiling faces over any other kind of interaction or toy and the more you talk to them, the higher their IQ and the better they do in school. I like to talk and play with her while changing her nappy, bathing her or when she is in her rocking chair watching us eat dinner. 

Other Activity Ideas

  • Take baby for an outing in the pushchair or carrier and point out things that you see on the journey, around the shops etc. 
  • Join a mum and baby group to let your little one see and play with other children. You can find your local groups, classes and activities on Netmums.
  • Pick your baby up, put on some music and have a dance! You can do this while babywearing and it will help with their sense of rhythm, as well as calming them down when they’re fussy. 
  • Roll baby onto their front for ‘Tummy Time‘, which helps strengthen their neck muscles and encourages them to learn to roll over.
  • Read to your baby. Even when they’re really little, it helps them to learn the rhythm, cadence and structure of language. Try books with contrasting colours and simple pictures first.
  • Have some skin-to-skin contact with your baby. You can do this while breastfeeding, in the bath or in bed. It helps to strengthen the connection between you and baby, can help with breastfeeding, improve mood and even regulate your baby’s body temperature and heart rate.
  • Make some contrasting black and white flash cards to show to your baby with simple shapes and patterns on. You can download some for free here.
  • Carry your baby in your arms or in a carrier and give her a tour of the house, pointing out interesting objects like photos, flowers or patterned textures. They may be especially interested in mirrors.
  • Sing some fun songs and nursery rhymes, especially ones with actions. 



If you have children, what kind of activities did you do with your newborn(s)?


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