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For ages 0 to 18 months old.
Be sure to visit your library to pick up a sheet of activity ideas for babies and their caregivers AND pick up a free board book for your baby (one per child, while supplies last).
You’ll also find additional ideas for activities and challenges listed below and updated each week!
Activities to try this week
- Peek-a-boo is a favorite baby game. Try singing this song, to the tune of “Where Is Thumbkin?,” while you play peek-a-boo: “Where is baby? Where is baby? There she is! There she is! I’m so glad to see you! I’m so glad to see you! Peek-a-boo! Peek-a-boo!”
- Strengthen baby’s muscles with simple exercises. Touch their toes to the nose, gently bicycle their legs, or raise their arms up and down.
- Create simple flashcards for your baby with photos of everyday familiar things (items around the house, family members’ faces, etc).
- Babies love to touch and explore the world around them. Gather up some baby-safe items from around your home and let baby touch, sort, and investigate.
- It’s tummy time! On a clean blanket on the floor, let baby lie on his stomach and place some soft toys around him in a small circle. You’ll see him reach for the toys, which will strengthen his muscles and engage his attention. Be sure to keep a watchful eye on baby during this playtime.
- Take a snuggle break! Drop what you’re doing and spend a few moments hugging your baby.
- Capture baby’s attention with a flashlight game. Place baby in your lap, dim the lights, and slowly sweep a flashlight across the walls and ceiling. Add soft lullaby music for a soothing bedtime activity.
- Forgot to pack a board book in your diaper bag? It’s okay! You can read anything out loud to baby, from restaurant menus to grocery store labels. He will discover lots of new vocabulary this way.
- Choose a nursery rhyme to sing before bed each night. Need some inspiration? Your librarian can show you where to find nursery rhyme CDs and books.
- See how many actions your baby can imitate in a row. Start with something your child is already doing, like banging a fist on a table. Try tapping the table, clapping, waving, or other motions.
- Have you checked out any board books from the library this summer? Look for an old favorite or something entirely new.
- Take a moment to stand in front of the mirror with your baby. As they gaze at their reflection, they will boost their self-recognition.
- Sing a nursery rhyme to your baby. Need help remembering the lyrics? Ask your librarian for suggestions of nursery rhyme books or CDs.
- Try this fun sensory experience – give your little one a small bowl with water and a sponge. Sensory playtime is a great way for babies to learn about the world around them and experience new textures.
- Create a water bottle shaker to entertain your little one. Add dried rice, dried beans, or confetti to an empty water bottle. Seal closed and carefully secure with tape. Babies will enjoy exploring the sound and the color. Be sure to supervise your child carefully when playing with homemade toys.
- Talk with your baby throughout the day. Leave time for your little one to respond in their own way with chatters and babbles.
- Do you speak another language at home? Now is a wonderful time to share this language with your little one, while their brain is especially receptive to learning new sounds and words.
- Wrap up a few of baby’s toys in scrap paper or other recycled paper you have on hand. Encourage your child to tear the paper to enhance motor skills.
- At home, place sturdy board books within reach of baby. Try a basket on the floor or even just stacked up on the carpet.
- Tap, clap, or snap different rhythms with your hands. Encourage your little one to bounce or sway along with you.
- Celebrate Independence Day! How many red, white, or blue items can you find around your house? Go on a scavenger hunt together.
- Does baby feel fussy during reading time? That’s okay! Just set aside the book and try again later. There’s no need to have just one longer reading time per day. A few very short moments spent reading together throughout the day is often much easier for babies.
- When you’re on the go with baby, describe to her what is happening around you. What are you seeing, feeling, and hearing? Describing experiences out loud to your little one helps her learn about her world.
- Discover the pure joy of bubbles! Grab an inexpensive bottle of bubbles and amaze your little one. Watch how she uses her motor skills to catch the bubbles. Enhance this sensory experience by listening to fun music while you play.
- Create a bookshelf for your baby’s books.
- Fill an empty baby wipes container or tissue box with scarves, ribbon, or any soft items you have at home. Your little one will enjoy taking the items out of the container endlessly.
- Encourage your baby to make small hand movements, like touching his nose, grabbing his feet, or picking up a toy. These fine motor movements with help baby get ready to eventually turn book pages and hold crayons.
- Fly your baby around the house like a superhero, exploring up high and down low!
- Snuggle up and share a book together.
- Track how quickly baby is growing! Our little ones grow up right before our eyes. Take a moment to track how tall your baby is and note it in your baby’s scrapbook.
- Sing a song while bathing your baby. Can’t think of a lullaby off the top of your head? Sing one of your favorite songs, or a song you loved as a kid.
- Explore with sound as you play with baby. Vary the tone and volume of your voice as you read a story to your little one. Try using different noises as you play together with toy trucks or animals. Hearing a variety of sounds helps your child to develop language.
- Stuck in line while running errands with your little one? Try a quick game of peek-a-boo to entertain baby and develop her senses of curiosity and humor.
- Seat baby facing outwards on your lap. Build a tower on the floor with toy blocks. Let baby reach out and knock the items down. What sound do the blocks make when they fall over?
- Make a DIY ball pit with a large box and small baby-friendly plastic balls.
- Repetition is key! Your baby might love hearing the same book or song over and over again. This repetition strengthens their understanding and their bond with you. When it’s time to switch things up, your librarian can recommend something new.
- Find a special corner of your home for sharing books with baby. It might be a cozy spot on the couch, a rocking chair in baby’s nursery, or even a shady spot in the backyard.
- Use inexpensive felt fabric to cut out simple shapes for your baby to play with.
- Practice fine motor skills with plastic bowls and a wooden spoon. Your little one can practice stirring, tapping, lifting, drumming, and stacking.
- Use leftover plastic Easter eggs to create egg shaker musical instruments. Fill with dried rice, secure with tape, and it’s music time! Be sure to supervise your baby closely when using homemade toys.
- Enjoy a moment of quiet time with your baby today. Cuddle up for a few minutes of calm without TV or music.
- Make a drum circle with pots and pans from the kitchen. Join in the fun with your baby and tap out various rhythms.
- It's tickle time! Say the different parts of the body out loud as you tickle your little one.
- Use your smartphone or an old-fashioned tape recorder to record your baby's voice. Encourage your baby to babble, coo, and express themselves. Play back the recording so your little one can hear their own voice.
- Play a tug-a-lug game! Encourage your baby to grasp a dish towel or other soft cloth. Use gentle tugging motions to help your little one build muscle strength and coordination.
- Attend a program at your library.
- If your baby is ready, give them crayons and encourage them to scribble. These early doodles are the foundation of writing!
- Ask your librarian about how to participate in 1000 Books Before Kindergarten.
- As you read a book together, hold your baby so she can see your facial expressions and the pages.
- Make musical instruments with items found around your home. Tap together two paper plates back to back for a simple percussion instrument.
- Older babies love to rip and tear paper. It’s great practice for motor skills. Gather up some old magazines or junk mail and let your baby go wild!
- Pack a favorite board book in your diaper bag to share in quiet moments when you’re on the go.
- Encourage your little one to use his hands. Practice touching toes, grasping food, pointing to pictures, or grabbing toys. These motions increase motor skills and encourage coordination.
- Babies love imitation! Make simple, exaggerated sounds for baby and watch as she follows along. She might try imitating your motions.
- Chat with your baby! Tell your little one about your day. Pausing periodically will encourage your child to respond with coos, gurgles, and their own language. This practice encourages speech skills.
- Make funny faces. Watching these silly faces helps babies learn how to read facial expressions.
- Babies love to look at reflections of themselves. Grab a small mirror and watch your little one become fascinated at her own reflection. This activity fosters emotional development and helps your child’s eyes learn how to focus.
- Sometimes the most fun toys are free! Gather up a few empty boxes (cereal boxes, snack boxes, mailing packages, etc.) and encourage your baby to stack, throw, and explore them.
- Look for sensory experiences for your baby while enjoying fun outings. Encourage your little one to feel the sand or grass while visiting the beach or park.
All programs are free and open to the public. See kids events for any or all branches:
Please see event details for information on registration requirements.
Special services like sign language interpretation and assistive listening can be provided at events to patrons upon request. Please give at least up to five business days notice to library staff in order to schedule services at events. Call 239-479-4636 or stop by the reference desk at your local library.