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15 Fun and Safe Infant Activities

Babies begin learning at birth. Engaging in safe and enjoyable activities with your infant regularly can help them explore their surroundings, enhance their senses, and support their development.

15 Fun and Safe Infant Activities

15 Fun and Safe Infant Activities

In childcare, providing infants with age-appropriate activities plays a crucial role in their development. Engaging infants in stimulating activities isn't just about keeping them occupied; it's about sparking their curiosity, supporting their motor skills, and fostering their emotional and social growth. From sensory play to storytime, each activity is a stepping stone in a child's developmental journey.

In this article, we'll explore a variety of activities that not only enrich infants' daily experiences but also offer you, as caregivers, the tools to support their holistic development with confidence and creativity.

Why are infant activities important?

At an early age, babies learn through play. Infant activities allow them to explore their surroundings, develop a strong bond with you, gain knowledge, and strengthen their motor skills. Introducing them to play also stimulates their small muscles and encourages physical development

Engaging your infant in these activities ensures they have all the optimal tools for their physical and social-emotional development. You'll also give them crucial sensory input to their joints, physical development, and brain stimulation. 

If you are an infant educator, recording infants’ daily activities is crucial to strengthening the family-teacher partnership, building trust, and supporting families in the care of their infants at home. With brightwheel's daily report feature, you can easily record photos and videos all from the app and improve communication with families. You can save time creating your daily reports digitally and stay connected with families as their child grows.

Download our free infant daily report template here!

When can I start introducing infant activities to my newborn?

You can start introducing infant activities to your newborn as early as the first few weeks of life. Simple activities like tummy time, gentle music, and colorful toys can help stimulate your baby's senses and promote development.

You don't have to set a timer or have a routine to play with your baby at first. Just interact with them when you're feeding them or holding them. For example, sing them lullabies and talk to them. 

As your baby grows, you can gradually introduce more interactive activities to encourage movement, exploration, and bonding. Remember to always supervise your baby during these activities and follow their cues to ensure they are enjoying and benefiting from the experience.

15 exciting activities for infants

Here are some fun activities that your infant will enjoy.

Sensory activities for infants

These types of activities engage your baby's various senses such as hearing, sight, taste, and touch and support their sensory development

1. Imitation

After a few weeks, your baby starts noticing its voice. Start imitating any sounds and noises they make to let them know you hear them. They'll enjoy hearing the sounds back, and it will help them familiarize themselves with your voice. 

You can also imitate their facial movements by yawning, sneezing, or grimacing as they do. In 10 weeks, they’ll be able to mimic some of your facial expressions. 

2. Face-to-face 

Face-to-face activity is essential because infants respond positively to faces, especially the faces of their caregivers. With time, face-to-face can be very comforting when they're in distress. 

Place your baby on your knees and face them from at least one foot away. Demonstrate laughing and smiling while looking at them.

Woman looking at baby lying on their back on a changing table. They are both smiling at each other.


3. Massage

Infant activities can be as simple as a massage during bath time or a diaper change. Massaging your baby helps them gain awareness of all their body parts, including their limbs. 

We recommend using coconut or lavender oil to relax their body even more. Gently massage and rub from their toes to their fingertips. 

4. Singing 

The next time your baby is having a meltdown or having trouble sleeping, sing them a fun sing-along song or a lullaby. They'll start cooing, and they'll laugh or sleep before you realize it. Singing helps babies regulate their emotions and teaches them how to listen.

5. Activity mats

Place your baby under an activity mat with brightly colored toys or objects that rotate and make noise. You'll notice your baby staring at the toys, and they'll start to follow them with their eyes over time. This activity helps improve their tracking and visual fixation skills.

Baby lying on their back looking up at an activity mat.


Motor activities for infants

Babies can learn how to move and control their body in a variety of ways through activities that focus on motor skills and movement. Additionally, these types of activities help with strengthening muscles, coordination, and balance which will be important as your baby grows.

6. Tummy time 

This activity helps strengthen the arms, fingers, hands, and neck muscles. It's safe to start this activity when your child is as young as one day old. Start by propping them up with a pillow for added stimulation.

You should do this tummy exercise every day for at least two to three minutes during the first few weeks. Once your baby reaches three months, increase tummy time to five to eight minutes daily.

Woman holds a toy out to a baby who is doing tummy time


7. Move their limbs 

Over time, newborns start becoming more aware of their body parts. You can hasten this milestone by moving their hands to their mouth, in front of their eyes, or touching objects with their hands. 

8. Baby sit-ups

Your baby will probably have good head control at around two to three months. This is the right time to try baby sit-ups to improve their head control and motor skills. Just like your muscles, a baby's muscles improve when exercised. 

To do baby-sit-ups, support your baby by placing your hand under their arm and pushing them to a sit-up position. Then, as they gain muscle strength, hold their hands and bring them to a sit-up position. 

After a few weeks of practice, you might realize the baby pulls themselves faster than you guide them.

9. Clapping

Start clapping in front of your child when they're in a happy mood, and help them clap their hands too. Ensure you tell them what you're doing. As they develop, they'll be able to clap by themselves and enjoy getting your attention by clapping. This is an excellent way to improve their hand coordination skills. 

Baby clapping hands


Cognitive activities for infants

Cognitive activities provide a strong foundation for learning and help babies develop their mental abilities, language skills, and problem-solving capabilities. By engaging in cognitive activities, infants will become more curious about the world around them and be able to take in new information easier as they develop.

10. Mirror reflections

This activity boosts visual and cognitive skills. Sit in front of the mirror with your baby and point to and talk about their different body parts. Point out your reflection and their reflection to help enhance their sense of body awareness.

11. Read picture books

While your newborn won't understand the concept of reading yet, that doesn't have to stop you from reading to them. Reading helps develop their listening and concentration skills early and increases their language skills

Man reading to baby.


12. Do a house tour 

Walk around the house with your baby, touching things and pretending it's the first time you see them. It'll likely be the first time your infant sees them. Explain the shapes, colors, and textures.

13. Play peek-a-boo

Peek-a-boo is a really simple game you can play with an object such as a blanket covering your face, or even your hands.

Every time you cover and uncover your face, you teach your child things like taking turns and social interaction cues. This game also introduces your child to object permanence, or the idea that an object continues to exist even when they can't see it.

Woman playing peek-a-boo with baby standing up in a crib.


14. Counting

Counting is considered one of the best activities for babies. First, place their toes on your hand and count them one by one. Next, count their fingers as you touch each one of them. 

15. Talk to your baby 

This is an easy yet impactful infant activity. Talk to your baby and describe what you're doing together. This technique is an excellent way to influence their language development. 

Have fun with your baby

Babies start learning the minute they are born. By doing safe and fun activities with your infant on a regular basis, you can help them explore their environment, improve their senses, and support their overall development.

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