One of the hardest things I had to adjust to after having my son was not being able to leave the house whenever I wanted, and do the things I used to love doing. After six months I've finally figured out there are a lot of free or cheap things I can do with a baby! The first three months were hard since he'd often start crying as soon as we got somewhere, or have to be held the entire time and walked around, but now he's entering the fun, playful, baby stage. Over the last few weeks I've been working on this list of free, or inexpensive, ideas of things you can do with a baby. I try to get out at least once during the week with him to do something, but a lot of the activities listed here can be done at home (having a baby in Alaska during the winter means being creative with fun at home activities!)
Have a mini concert. My baby loves listening to music so we picked up this World Playground CD. He can't clap yet, but cracks up anytime I do!
Play games on your phone. This app is a particular favorite for my son.
Read books! Never too early to start. You don't have to just read baby/kid books either, sometimes I'll read out loud from whatever book I'm working on and baby boy just loves to hear mom talk.
Take a bath together. Get some baby safe bubbles and splash around.
Learn some basic baby sign language.
Make one of these fun 15 sensory play activities for babies
Paint! My 6 month old is still at the "put everything in his mouth" phase so I plan on getting some finger paints and using his feet to create cute art.
Find a mirror to put on the floor in front of baby (be sure it's secure and won't fall.) Babies love looking at themselves and mine will sit there for 30 minutes playing with the baby in the mirror.
TALK to you baby. Just talk. There is so much research that shows babies who are spoken to more often go on to have higher IQ's. Boys get spoken to less than girls, so boy moms make sure you spend a lot of time talking to them. At least once a day I'll have a rather in-depth 'conversation' with my son about current events, or something equally absurd to be talking to a six month old about.
Reuse baby food jars by putting different objects in them to make mini rattles.
Sing to them! My son loves it when I sing to him despite how badly I do so. Here are 10 nursery songs to sing.
Use food coloring to make different colored ice cubes to let babies play with in the bath tub.
Workout! Grab the baby and do some squats and lunges. I get a nice booty burn carrying him up and down the stairs a few times.
Throw a blanket on the grass and let them roll around. This is such a great way to let them explore their senses! Smelling the fresh air, grabbing the grass, feeling the sand on their feet.
Blow bubbles! My baby loves when I blow bubbles around him.
Go for a walk.
Find some ducks to feed.
Take them on a hike.
For babies that sit up well you can take them to a playground to play on the swing.
Set up a little splash pool during the summer (in a shaded area!)
Throw out some birdseed to watch the birds.
Library story time
Walk around a museum (most have free or cheap days for locals)
Mommy and Me classes: check out swimming pools, yoga studios, music studios and hospitals/military bases often offer baby and me classes
Walk around craft/fabric stores to let baby feel the different materials
Sit in a busy place to people watch. Get coffee at Starbucks, go to a playground, anywhere there are lots of people. My son loves watching other people!
Go to a pet store and look at the animals.
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What are some things you like to do with your baby?