Play activity ideas for under 1’s

It can be very overwhelming being a mum at the best of times. Add social media into the mix and you may be left feeling that prehaps you ‘should’ be doing extravagant activities with your baby which seem to be the norm on your feed.

Try to give yourself a break, you are doing the best you can for your child. Lots of the beautiful pages you follow will post the ‘best’ photos.

They maybe within larger childcare settings or Primary schools. Not in the average ‘mum on maternity with an under 1’s home.

But even so there are no shortage of ideas that you could do which are quick, easy and relatively cost free so I’m hoping I can give you afew development milestones to look out for and ways to enhance these otherwise known as next steps.

0-1 year and beyond is such an important time in a childs development. They secure social bonds with key people, they develop co-ordination skills, both fine and gross motor skills and above all learn by modelling behaviour.

As a registered childminder I have to provide stimulating activities and learning experiences to my minded children. I do this by monitoring their progression and use a tracker to do this. The ages and stages documents are fantastic free resources which can be found via a google search.

I started to post onto my Instagram feed Mama’s Den regarding activities I provide and am getting daily questions about my home and setting. So here are my top activities for creative play ideas for the under 1’s.

Sensory Play

Sensory play activities stimulate a babies senses and give them the encouragement to have independent exploration. They help baby to develop a fine motor skills, colour recognition and perception, depth and space.

Sensory Bags

Sensory bags are really easy to make using laminating pouches, water, baby oil and other sensory items.

Just make sure your child is always supervised incase the little rascal pop’s one.

You can also tape them to a highchair or light table for an added sensory element.

Mirrors and magnifiers

Mirrors are a fantastic way of encouraging children and babies to discover and learn. Babies love to look at faces so using a mirror to look at their own can challenge their perception, help them understand that they themselves are an individual and it can be very entertaining for them to see their own facial expressions.

Mirrors can also help babies with their vision and focus.

Sensory Bottles

Also known as discovery bottles are containers filled with various loose parts and water as a way of encouraging sensory play.

They offer a non-messy way of stimulating a child as they are tactile.

Although sensory play is often referred to and thought to be “messy play”, it does not always have to be. Many children are easily over stimulated by tactile input or are too young to play with some materials (fear that they might choke or get injured). This is where sensory bottles come in. They allow children to use their senses to make sense of their world, while keeping them safe and keeping clean.

They can come in all shapes, sizes and materials. You can easily make them using old drinks or food bottles and filling them with beads, glitter, coloured water etc. Try using different liquids such as baby oil or lotions to add variety.

Light boxes

Young children learn via investigation and challenging their expectations. Using light helps children to link ideas across different areas and can enhance learning.

Light boxes can be used as part of a group activity or as a solitary discovery area.

Young children could benefit by starting to use their senses in different ways, hand eye co-ordination, seeing objects in different ways, practicing fine motor skills by moving smaller objects over the light.

Their thought processes are also challenged although this may not be immediately seen in their behaviour their brains will have to process lots of new information regarding colour, shape and the idea of transparency.

Simple Story Sacks

Link together your babies favourite stories with some of their favourite toys. The ‘that’s not my’ books are a favourite with my children so when I get them out for the littlest ones I also add a wooden toy that they can play with and explore.

This is also a great way of introducing stories and storytime to your child which will develop into a lifelong positive relationship with reading.

I hope that this has provided you with some fun ideas to try with your babies and toddler.

These ideas can be developed further as your child gets bigger and as their physical development and cognition gets better.

Please send me any feedback or questions you may have, i’ll be happy to answer anything I can based on my own experiences from working with children.

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