Active Playtime

 

During the first few weeks of your child's life, babies eat, sleep and snuggle!). However, as they emerge out of the newborn phase, you'll find that they are ready to add some play time to their routine. In between feeding and sleeping, babies should have some activity time.

Stimulating your child's brain during playtime and providing situations where they can explore, helps them to learn and grow through new experiences. It will also help with sleeping.

To achieve good naps your baby needs to have plenty of stimulating activity time during their wake windows, as this allows them to "fill up their tank, full of knowledge" and in return, your child will spend time asleep processing this.

If "the tank" does not get full enough, then the chances are your baby will not sleep very long and this can promote catnapping. 

Below are some examples of activities relevant to your babies age.

IMPORTANT: Babies get bored just like adults, for babies under six months of age, try to keep each activity to a maximum of 15 – 20 minutes as after this period of time, your child will show signs of being board which is often confused with hunger or tired signs.

But in fact, they are just trying to tell you that they want to do something else.

0 - 6 weeks

During the first six weeks, your newborn will not have a lot of awake time so activity time can be as simple as a bit of tummy time, even if that's done on Mum or Dad's chest.


6 - 12 weeks


At this age, you only have about 60 - 90 minutes of awake time which includes feeding, burping and nappy changes. This will most likely leave you with approx. 30 minutes of activity time.

Some examples include: 

  • Read a book

  • Sing songs

  • Alternate between using an activity play mat and baby swing

  • Enjoy cloth books with different textures.


 

3 - 6 Months

Your baby is now capable of staying awake between 90 minutes to 2 hours, this is where getting creative pays off. Remember your baby needs a new activity every 15-20 minutes. 

Some ideas include: 

  • Play with rattles

  • Practice holding new toys

  • Use an activity mat and encourage movement by placing toys nearby

  • Jolly Jumper

  • 5 minutes in a Bumbo which will help break up the time, activities and position of the normal laying down

  • Take your baby outside for 15 minutes to look at the sky, leaf’s, cars etc.


6 - 12 Months


The chances are your baby is well and truly on the move by now and if not, they will not be far away. 

You will generally have between 2.5 - 3 hours of awake time. Now that you have a bit more awake time, this is an excellent opportunity to get out and about.

Try a playgroup, swimming lessons, baby sensory or a mums fitness or yoga class. Some other ideas include: 

  • Play with toys that let your child push a button to make something happen

  • Get your pots, pans & Tupperware out 

  • Play with blocks and practice stacking them

  • Water play or taking a bath in the sink 

  • Create a ball pit

  • Clap together

  • Peekaboo



12 - 18 months


Now that you have a toddler on your hands, it is time to increase the active playtime. Now your toddler is up and about with more awake time than ever before, this is a great opportunity to get out & about.

Try a playgroup, swimming lessons, or getting out to run around at a park.

Some other ideas include: 

  • Building & stacking blocks

  • Play-Doh

  • Felt play mats

  • Putting straws in an empty, plastic water bottle

  • Flap books

  • Stickers

  • Musical instruments

  • Clipping pegs on the edge of an empty box

  • Painting/finger painting with food colouring



18 months: 2½ Years

Children tend to get a lot of stimulation & interaction at kindy or day care, however recreating that at home can be near on impossible.

However, it is important to prioritise some movement and fresh air with your toddler. Toddlers who are on one nap a day, typically need the nap offered between 5-6 hours after they wake up.

This is usually between 11:30-12pm.

Some other ideas include: 

  • Water play with ice and a whisk

  • Writing on a chalk board

  • Play dough

  • Bubble play

  • Painting/finger painting with food colouring



2½ - 4 Years


Children tend to get a lot of stimulation & interaction at kindy or day care, however recreating that at home can be near on impossible.

However it is important to prioritise some movement, fresh air and a bit of brain work in the morning can do wonders with your toddler.

If your toddler doesn’t get a chance to release some of their energy, chances are they may put up a fight come nap time, as they are simply not tired enough.

Now your toddler is up and about with more awake time than ever before, this is a great opportunity to get out & about.

Some other ideas include: 

  • Digging for treasure

  • Treasure hunting

  • Dance party (in the living room!)

  • Running

  • Climb a tree

  • Bike ride or scooter

  • Set up an obstacle course

  • Finger painting

  • Hide and seek

  • Chrome Music Lab: A website that makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments. Free to use

  • Khan Academy Kids: An award-winning online education program for children ages 2 - 7. The mobile app engages kids in core subjects like early literacy, reading, writing, language, and math, while encouraging creativity and building social-emotional skills. Free to use

  • Melissa & Doug: Free ABC lettering and colouring printable. Free to use

  • CoolMath4Kids: is ideal for 12 years olds and under. Coolmath4Kids is an amusement park of games, lessons and more, designed to teach math and make it FUN. Free to use

  • https://www.storylineonline.net - Children’s books read by famous people. Free to use

For additional video-based activities, developmental milestones, articles & tips. Refer to the BaySparks website where you can receive daily age-appropriate activities to support all critical areas of your child’s development!

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