A few months ago, I shared some ideas about playing with your 0-3 month old baby. Today we have the 3-6 month edition...
A lot of these are ideas are familiar but sometimes it helps to have a reminder.
Smells - Take a little trip to the spice rack and introduce baby to a whole new world of sensory experience with cloves, cinnamon, garlic, nutmeg, etc.. As you move around the house you can let him or her smell lotions, candles, etc.
Improve Tummy Time - Many babies aren't thrilled about spending prescribed amounts of time on their tummies staring at the ground. Even if they do, you can make it fun by creating a colorful mat for them. Glue bright and interesting images to a large piece of cardboard and cover with contact paper.
Just Out of Reach - During these months, your baby is starting to reach and grab for toys. Have toys hanging just above their head or hold them out so baby can grab for them. Of course, cheer them on and congratulate their success!
My husband created an inexpensive mobile where we hung her toys (which you can sort of see in the background) but in this case, she was actually reaching for and grabbing my hair. :)
Take flight - Once baby has enough neck strength, it's time to play airplane! You can hold her up in the air and pretend that she's a plane, rocket or helicopter moving her all around and raising her up and down. Do it long enough and you can get a bit of an arm work out. :)
Bubbles - What inexpensive, easy and portable entertainment. At this age your baby will begin to be fascinated with bubbles. They are a great thing to whip out at the end of the day (in the front yard waiting for dad to get home!) or whenever you have time in the bath or outside playing.
Reading Time - Of course, it's never too early to read with your baby and this is the age I really noticed my daughter enjoy looking at books with me - especially with faces of other babies. You can even make your own with bright pictures or faces of family members.
This is me reading with baby Gretta right when she was 3 months old.
Copycat - As your baby starts cooing and making all kinds of sounds, mimic their noises and then wait for your baby to take a turn and enjoy your lively "conversations."
Nursing Necklace - While you are nursing or bottle feeding, your baby might start to reach up and grab your shirt (or pinch your skin!). Wear a necklace that is long enough that they can feel and hold onto. You could easily make one with some pasta and string. They will love grabbing it and it may help minimize distractions (around 4 months is when babies can start to see across the room and can be easily distracted). They might also love playing with/eating your necklaces when you're changing their diaper or playing on your lap.
Shopping trip - When you're able to, take your time at the grocery store. This can be a wonderful classroom for your baby to experience new sights and sounds as you point things out. Don't be embarrassed to carry on conversations as you stroll the aisles; most people will love it and think you're a great mom (which you are). Try to avoid going to the store when one of you is tired or hungry and bring a blanket or sweater to snuggle up your baby for the colder parts of the store.
Your baby will love spending this time playing with you! These ideas can also be helpful for your husband or others caring for your sweet little one. You'll know when it's time to stop when you see signs of over-stimulation: crying, turning away or fussiness.