Sometimes the best games are the ones you can enjoy without ever leaving the house. Days in can be amazing and there’s no better way to spend it than with your family. While some days in can include movies and board games, we thought it would be fun to introduce you to some new games that you can do at home with little or no effort. These games are incredibly easy to set up and extremely fun but they also help with your baby’s overall development. Here are some of our favorites.
- A baby obstacle course. This is a great way for your little adventurer to start tackling new terrain. The obstacles should only be items your baby can crawl around, over, or through. For example, you can take a long cardboard box and use it as a tunnel. Take a shower curtain, lay it on the ground and it can be the swamp your baby must crawl through. Next, they’ll hit the boulders (couch cushions) where they’ll have to crawl over them in order to get to the baby pool filled with their favorite toys. This game is great for practicing motor skills as well as cognitive decision making. They have to understand which obstacles they must crawl over and which ones they must crawl around. This is an excellent game to develop these skills and babies seem to love it as well (which is the most important part).
- Art activities are also a great way for your baby to learn vital skills, but also create beautiful masterpieces. Collaging is a simple and easy way for babies to explore art at a young age. We like to use a piece of clear contact paper as the canvas and pre-cut pieces of tissue paper, felt and colored mesh. Just place the canvas on a table and let your baby’s imagination run wild. We suggest using these materials because then you can hang it up in the window and when the sun shines through it’ll look even better than before.
- This game has many different names, but we’ll call it Poppin’ Popcorn. For this game all you’ll need is a blanket and as many small balls as you can fit (we suggest using foam balls no bigger than a baseball for safety). Your baby will sit in the center of the blanket surrounded by all the balls while you (the popcorn popper) will shake the blanket lightly at first and then use your best judgement as you ramp it up. Your baby will do their best to grab as many balls as they can in 20 seconds. Each round you can reduce the time by 5 seconds and take a few balls out to keep it exciting. This will help them with their motor skills immensely since they’ll have to catch a moving object, which is quite a new concept to them. They will improve over time and soon become masters of the game.
- Another great art activity is yogurt painting, and yes it sounds exactly like what it is. Instead of going out and getting paint and brush sets, just go to your local grocery store, grab some edible food coloring and Greek yogurt and your art studio is complete. The best part about these supplies is they are toxic free and totally edible. Your kids can paint masterpieces in the bath, or on a large piece of paper using only their fingers and hands. They’ll love working on huge canvases, and the cleanup is so easy since it’s yogurt. Your kids will love painting with their fingers, then eating the yogurt at the end. (We suggest baths or showers right after they are done so the dye does not have time to set).
We think time spent with family is the sweetest and best way to start bonding. It’s also good to remember that part of parenting is fun and games; be goofy with your baby and play as much as you can. While your baby is enjoying the game, you’ll be enjoying their reactions, their smiles and laughs. Remember this is their first introduction to “games” which is a very important part of life. Use these activities to remind yourself to play some more, we could all use some more fun in our lives.
*All of these activities are meant for babies and toddlers ages 9 months and up.