Hazel is 9 months old and basically just spends her days crawling around everywhere, pulling herself up on things, and attempting to walk. I know that is what she’s supposed to be doing developmentally, but I also wanted to give her more opportunities to learn and explore even more. So I asked my mom (she teaches Child Development, was the director of a daycare, and worked hands-on with kids ages 6 weeks-5 years for nearly 30 years) and she told me some activities to do with Hazel. It’s a fun way to fill up time in the day and it’s a great way for Hazel to learn.
Sometimes the set-up can take just as long or longer than the attention span your child will have doing the activity but the more you do these with your child, the more they’ll explore each time and their interest in the activity will last longer.
Disclaimer: Be sure to always supervise your child during each activity. It’s never safe to leave a child unattended.
1. Water Play
You don’t need a pool to let your baby play in the water. Just add water (keep it shallow) to a bucket or rubbermaid tub and let your baby splash. You can also place your baby in their highchair and pour some water in the tray for some indoor water play. If your baby is not able to sit up yet, try putting water in a cookie sheet (one that has a lip to it), and place that in front of your baby during tummy time for him/her to splash and play in.
2. Colored Ice Cubes
This is perfect for hot summer days! Just put some water in an ice tray and add food coloring (I use all natural food coloring since she puts everything in her mouth). Add popsicle sticks to make an “edible paint brush” for your child to draw with, or drop them in the water during water play so your child can watch the colors blend together. During this activity, it’s great to talk about the colors to encourage learning.
What kid doesn’t love swinging? Plus, it helps with your child’s coordination and it helps develop pre-reading and writing skills because it teaches your child how bring their body back to center. Once they learn to center themselves, they can learn to cross the midline which is needed for reading and writing. This gorgeous baby hammock swing is from Adelisa and Co. (it comes in a double and a chair style) and I’m obsessed with it! It looks super comfortable for Hazel. She lounges back in it and it’s the cutest!
4. Edible Finger Painting
Add food coloring to yogurt, drop it on some plastic or thick paper, and let your baby make some artwork. We used a big plastic drop cloth with construction paper (thick paper you put on your floors to protect them when you paint) over it to make the surface not as slippery. Hazel had so much fun finger painting, and by the end of it, her entire body was colorful. Haha! Developmentally, it helps with fine motor skills and encourages future learning.
5. Sensory Bag
You can really get create with this by putting different things in the bag for your baby to feel. For this bag, we added shaving cream with a few drops of food coloring. Then I taped it to the highchair so she couldn’t pick it up and open the bag. You can also tape it to a wall for your baby to stand at and play with.
If there are any fun activities that you know if for the 9-12 month rage, let me know because I’d love to do them with Hazel 🙂