There is no denying that having a baby that is between 4 and 10 months old is the most – exhausting. Whether it be physically exhausting from having to chase them around or mentally exhausting from all the worrying you’re doing. I want to share some great alternative ways to play with your baby (ages 4-10 months).
Why “alternative” ways to play with your baby
As much as I love laying on the floor face to face with my tiny human watching her explore the world – sometimes mama needs to switch it up!
Aside from the typical sitting and watching her fiddle with toys and drop them 800 times or even mama plays while baby watches – there are alternative ways to play with your baby (ages 4 – 10 months).
You can’t *honestly* tell me that you *hate* blowing bubbles – can you? My husband and I recently decided that you are never too old for bubbles. There comes a time in every child’s life where they think they are too old for bubbles and don’t play with them again until they’re older and they don’t understand why they ever stopped. (Is that just us? Maybe that’s why we’re perfect for each other – oh well!) My little one LOVES LOVES LOVES bubbles! When she was around 5 months old, she would just sit and watch them, if they got close enough, she would try to touch them. As she has gotten older, she likes to chase them around and try to catch them (she is only 8 months!) and she will even watch as the dog tries to get them!
You’ve heard all of the commercials…the ones that tell you to sing, dance, and talk to your baby. There is a reason for it – it’s been proven that dancing with your baby helps with development! I like to turn on my Disney playlist on Spotify and spin and twirl with my girl while she has the biggest smile on her face. Sometimes dancing means that I hold her by the hands while she’s standing on the table and I’m bouncing around her or even twisting her booty back and forth.
3.Go on a walk
I have told you before and I’ll say it again – you will never catch me writing about fitness, but I recently started going on walks with my younger brother. I walk for three reasons; one – I get to spend time with my brother, two –I need to be active, and three – THE BABY LOVES IT! I cannot stress that last point enough! Especially with this whole coronavirus thing going on, my baby only really knows what the inside of our house looks like and our backyard. The first time I took her on a walk her head was flipping back and forth for the entire hour we were out. When we came home, she finally passed out from all of the excitement! Even without a global pandemic in the making, a walk is a great way for babies to see and experience the world in a new way.
4.Lift them into the air on your feet!
This is a cheap and easy way to play with your baby in a different way than the usual tummy time or play pen. Lay on your back, grab your little one, put them on your feet and lift them in the air! My baby is a little rambunctious so this usually turns into an audition for the circus – complete with spins, twirls, fake drops, and the occasional toss into the air!
5.Play with a ball
My baby and I love her rainbow knobby ball! Before she knew how to sit up on her own we would sit together and pass it between my hands or she would rub it because of the interesting texture! Sometimes she would sit in her bouncer or chair and watch as I rolled it around her or bounced it. Once she learned how to sit up by herself, she quickly learned how to push it back to me. Now she is standing up by herself and using it to balance on! Our next step is kicking the ball and we have so much fun doing it!
Reading doesn’t always have to consist of a cute story about the love of animal creatures for their babies or even a nice moral about how you should be nice to your friends. This is another super easy alternative way to play with your baby if you have the right books! My baby’s two personal favorites for play reading are Never Touch a Porcupine and Safari Vets. There are interactive books that your little one can touch and manipulate so they are learning and having fun! If you need help building your baby’s library, check out my post: 101 Books for Baby’s First Library.
I have always been a fan of water – drinking it, swimming in it, watching it – I guess I passed that on my little one. Our number one survival technique for the summer is a 3-foot pool and the bathtub! This can be another cheap and easy way to play with your baby; not just by putting them in the bath with some toys, but actually being intentional with how involved you are.
We have this shapes bucket that somehow became our go to pool toy because it can be filled with water and turns into a shower! My baby loves to stick her hand under it to feel the pressure of the water drops and when it runs out, she waits for a refill. We also have this set of squirt toys (glued to prevent mold) that my husband will reenact fight scenes with and she loves to chase them around under the water!
I love my Little Tikes 2-in-1 Snug and Secure Grow with Me swing and so does my little one! This swing can come in blue or pink is one of my favorites because it can grow with your baby! Anything that can be used, worn, or last in any way longer than a few months or even years is a win in my book!
Despite Little Tikes suggestion of 9 months or older, I put my baby in at 7 ½ months and she has been loving it ever since! Of course, we started off with slow and small pushes so she could learn that it’s not meant to support her neck – she has to. It took her a few days of slow and steady on the swing for her to learn how to do it and from that point forward we go on the swing at least twice a day!
9.Use a Walker
Speaking of toys that last longer than a few months, the Tiny Love 4-in-1 Here I Grow Walker has been a MUST for my little girl since she was about 4 months old. My little one has always been a very determined and ‘independent’ (HA!) little girl, so having her own personal space was a must! It makes playtime easier because she is able to stand and play with her toys and I can play with her without having to worry about her falling over or bumping her head. My Tiny Love walker has transitioned from a play seat (3 ½ months) to a bouncer (4 ½ months) to a walker (6 months) to a standing push walker and play table (8 months).
She still loves this thing – honestly, best money I have ever spent on a toy! As much fun as it is just being a 4-in-1 toy, I also use it when she has popsicles. It is super easy to clean and she has a blast getting to play with her food and her toys!
Benefits of alternative ways of playing
Finding different ways to have playtime can be beneficial for mama, dada, and baby! While they are rapidly growing before your eyes, it still feels like they don’t really do much in terms of play. Switching it up allows parents a break from the constant routine and it gives babies a chance to experience life in a new way. We are teaching our children in everything that we do and playtime is no different.
Through dancing, swimming, and walking we are teaching them that fitness can be fun and that the outdoors is good for us! By using the walker, we are physically teaching them to stand up while they play and helping their muscles to develop! Reading, blowing bubbles, and playing with mom and dad is teaching them that playtime doesn’t always have to include toys, sometimes it is just about quality time.
What do you think?
Do you have some other alternative ways that you play with your baby? Would you rather stick to a routine playtime and add one of these activities to your schedule? Do you like bubbles?! Let me know in the comments!