It’s no secret that a mobile baby is a busy baby, and a busy baby is a happy baby. But if the crawling, creeping and scooting hasn’t yet begun, there are still plenty of ways to engage with your little one—and have a little fun yourself. Here are our favorite ideas for playtime with your stationary sweetie.

photo: btchurch via Pixabay

1. Bubble Blowout
Something about the rainbow swirls and fanciful movements are endlessly alluring for babies and grown-ups alike. An inexpensive bottle of bubbles—or the homemade variety, if you prefer—will keep your mini-me fixated and, depending on age, may allow your child to exercise eye-hand coordination, too, as he tries to grasp at the floating orbs.

2. Song Sesh
There are plenty of studies showing that babies recognize and respond to human voices—especially their mama—but did you know that researchers have found that babies can hear and remember music even while in the womb? It’s no surprise, then, that songs (especially when sung by mom!) are a sure thing when it comes to entertaining your wee one.

While lullabies are great for setting the mood for bedtime, more upbeat tempos are better at keeping baby amused during wakeful hours. To really capture your little one’s attention, choose interactive songs that include motions or silly sounds. (Think: sneezing, animal sounds or surprise responses, like “peek-a-boo!”) Make up the lyrics as you go, or stick with tried-and-true classics like “Wheels on the Bus” or “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

photo: tel13588006626 via Pixabay

3. Fancy Footwork
Babies who haven’t mastered the art of being on the move just yet still do plenty of kicking and squirming. Keep your squirmy worm endlessly entertained by tying a helium balloon to their foot. Your baby will love watching the colorful balloon bounce above them in response to their movements, and you’ll love watching this newfound excitement.

4. Head Outdoors
Let’s be real. There’s only so much excitement that can happen indoors. A simple change of scenery can do wonders in keeping a non-mobile baby entertained. Getting outside your usual four walls into the fresh air and sunshine can soothe even the crankiest infant. Get in a few minutes of tummy time by positioning baby on the edge of a blanket to explore the grass. Or simply lay back together and watch the leaves swaying peacefully in the wind or the clouds floating by.

5. Master Mimicry
While the jury is still out on how early babies can mimic adult gestures, expressions and sounds, what we do know is that infants benefit from intentional face-to-face interaction at every age. Bond with your baby by focusing on maintaining eye-to-eye contact (that means putting that distracting smartphone aside!) and exchanging facial expressions, such as sticking out your tongue, wrinkling your nose or showing various emotions, from surprise to sadness. These interactions will not only result in cognitive benefits for baby, you’ll both enjoy the intentional one-on-one time.

photo: regina_zulauf via Pixabay 

6. Picture Perfect
If you’ve had your fill of reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear for the day, give baby a mini art tour through your own home. Carry baby around and show them the photographs or paintings that grace your walls. If you have family pictures or portraits, tell baby about the people in the photo. If abstract art is more your thing, point out the colors and shapes.

7. Hands On
There’s a reason why simple games like “This Little Piggie” elicit baby smiles and giggles over and over again. Combining the cadence of rhymes with physical interaction is a guaranteed win when it comes to keeping baby amused. Our favorites include actions that point to baby’s body parts (eyes, nose, fingers, feet, tummy), and offer a gentle tickle where appropriate. If you need a refresher course on rhymes, a simple Google search for “action rhymes for babies” will offer lots of inspiration.

—Suzanna Palmer

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