Congratulations parents you are halfway parenting your child’s 1st year. By this time your little one might be sitting up with assistance. He/She might be attempting commando crawling. Soon by the end of the year, they would be crawling, cruising and some might even start walking. Do take care of yourself as playing with your baby is going to be physically challenging. At times emotionally and mentally too. While playing and during activities stay next to the child, adult supervision is needed.
There are lovely toys available in the market for your child aged around 6 – 12 months. That might tempt you to get one, be mindful while purchasing. Remember, children prefer humans over screens and toys.
Kids are naturally curious and playful at this age. They would follow you around and explore all the unseen corners of the house. These infants love everything at this time and especially things that are told “no”. Their brain wants to see why “no” is said for this and not others. Plan and invest in baby safety equipment.
We are sharing the list hereafter mentioning heavyweight words, mindful and screen-time. You might be nodding right now. But those above said things came out of parenting our child. We did have a fair share of failure, mistakes but then we were learning to be a parent. And this post aims to reach out to parents who are searching for ways to play and plan activities for babies under 1. So, have a list of ideas handy and have fun. Kids are growing every moment.
Play ideas and activities for babies under 1 (6-12 months)
Continue activities done during 0-6 months
For this age group, activities should be added to the previous list. Kids would still love talking, peekaboo, mirror, books and more.
Play on a song or rhymes and dance with the baby. Your musical partner would be the next dancing partner.
Hello and goodbye
During these months your cuddly cute baby would start waving bye-bye. They would use hands and involve wrist movements for the gesture. It might seem like a simple thing, is actually a milestone. It shows the development. There are visual imitation and fine motors involved in the simple game. You can also expect kisses when are notice something pleasing.
In India, we have a tradition of sunbathing newborns. Follow the tradition with mom-fitness inclination. This can be started as early as you can, I missed making this as a point in the previous series. Better never late! Go outdoors with babies. Have a walk around the block. Let the child enjoy the morning crisp fresh air and sun. With time this activity for the baby turns into the favorite part of mornings.
Kids love boxes and this love would continue for years to come. Preserve a few boxes of different sizes and let the child play. Be it a clean shoe box and courier you received earlier. It is an open-ended game for little ones.
Basket of known objects
While our little movers love exploring corners, they still love the familiar objects. The things that are around them for long now. Like a bowl, a spoon, a sensory cube or a ribbon, a scarf. Keep all in a basket and let them explore the texture. They would grab, pull, throw, taste and bang the items. You can also put them in a bag and let them discover the contents inside.
Ball rolls all over. They come in all sizes and texture (the feel). Have a basket or box of balls of different sizes and types. Kids would love to throw them, roll them and watch it bounce. These balls could also be used as learning tools soon. By the end of first year, they might roll the ball back and forth with you. Be careful with tiny balls. Chocking hazard.
Let’s get moving
One thing that crawlers slash cruisers/walkers’ love is moving. And that’s needed for their development. Use that and play fetch the toy (it can anything even a spoon). Place the toy at one end of the room and encourage the child to get there. They are working on their motor skill, cognitive and language development. Once they reach the end, have a minuscule celebration before repeating it again.
One tired mom hack, play fetch the ball. You sit at a point and let the child do some extra work.
P.S. it is addictive.
There are plenty of options for blocks in the market. No wonder! Kids under 1 year are practicing their grabbing and holding skills. They would love to hold blocks and play. They would notice the color, the edges, the smoothness before putting in mouth. Soon they would love to bang blocks and laugh. While playing kids would have a blast knocking the block towers.
Invest in wooden blocks. They would last long. In later years your child can build architectural marvels in the same.
Holding and scribbling with large crayons helps kids to practice their pincer grip. The skill needed to work as a pre-writing skill. It would take a few more months before they sit and doodle masterpieces. But they would like scrabbling those crayons.
Try getting large non-toxic crayons like from Melissa and Doug or Faber-Castell
Edible finger painting
During this time baby is fed or self-fed and there would be a good chance of food spills. Some of those food spills can be used to create art for babies, like pomegranate seeds, curd with turmeric, even beetroot slices or spinach puree. If this is tough then you can make some DIY paints at home. Mix cornflour with cold water and stir. Add hot boiling water to the mixture and stir until custardy consistency. Add liquid food colors and mix them again. Tada! You can also try finger paints from market
Take a sheet in a ziplock bag and squirt some paints. Tape it from all the sides on the floor. Let the child have a sensory experience. Pat the art paper and let the colors mix, create patterns. There are plenty of ideas on the internet.
Another lovely buddy for the kid that would receive their attention and love for time to come, soft toys. Get one or a couple of plush friends, getting a pile would be a task for parents to clean later. Facts!
Your infant would enjoy exploring the texture, chew, pull and drag the toy. By the end of the first year, many kids get attached to their cuddly partner. Some might take one in hand wherever they go. They would also grow up in the next few years to dress up the toy, have a tea party and be characters in his/her stories.
Remember to clean your child’s fluffy friend regularly.
Kitchen drawers and cabinets
Your infant would be following your around everywhere and the kitchen would be their favorite. They would be curious to open the kitchen cabinets, drawers, and pull out utensils. Next few months you can be the esteemed audience of your child’s private rock concert, banging pots.
Our 3 years old still loves raiding the kitchen for pots, pans, and pressure cookers. In those infancy days, his frequent visits initially urged us to put a gate in the kitchen, later we involved him in the kitchen. Our little Sous-chef passes us cutleries, whips batter, fills idli plates and few more chores.
Related article: Easy things that a toddler can do in the kitchen
There is an opportunity in a child’s curiosity, truly yours.
Babies would also discover stacking your spice containers and nest bowls, cutlery boxes, etc. You can still invest in stacking and nesting toys.
During a hot day let the child enjoy water beyond bathing sessions. Place the baby over dry sheets or bedspread. Give a bowl of water and another empty bowl with a spoon. They can play water transfer or splatter it around. Put on themselves. It is fun for them.
Use the basket of balls (point 6) and few different sized open-mouth bottles. Let the child drop balls inside the bottle(s). It takes eye-hand coordination and fine motor skill to master the ball drop.
P.S. Add one bottle at a time.
At this age, babies are aware of the slightest sound, movement of light, smoothness or roughness of the surface. They absorb the environment around by touching, tasting, sighting and listening.
Sound – Let them have a tray of shakers with pebbles, lentils, chickpeas, pompoms. Shake and notice the change in sound. Under adult supervision strictly.
Taste – In a plate take a pinch of turmeric, a slice of lemon and a piece of bitter gourd. Of course, everything goes straight to the mouth.
Puzzles for infants sounds funny? Right! But they do exist and help. The chunky or pegboard ones are ideal for this age. They are yet to help in developing a baby’s memory, shape or color understanding, and hand-eye coordination. And babies would love to toss them. But this help in grasping and pincer skill. Soon they would love to solve the same puzzles.
What were your go-to games, activities for babies were under 1 year old?