This post may contain affiliate links. Original photography by Victoria Gloria.
Congratulations mama! If you’re reading this you’re probably just coming down from the initial excitement and elation of newly attained parenthood, possibly even falling into (somewhat) of a routine with your babe. Not that we had much time for play during the newborn stage with my son (because COLIC), but there were times when I wanted to start some educational and bonding activities with him.
These activities listed below were some of my favorites to do with Luca during months 0-3 (and beyond!)!
14 Fun Activities to do with Newborn Babies
Tummy time is really great for strengthening baby’s muscles. Some babies are really big fans of having to work to lift their head up to look around, and others are not. Even if they only like to stay on their tummy for 20 seconds, that’s great! Small snippets of time add up. Grab this soft, colorful mat to practice on!
Activity mats and play gyms provide a ton of simple entertainment for babies! There is so much to look at – colors, shapes, animals – many things they haven’t ever seen before. Don’t underestimate this gem, Luca loved his from around four weeks (click here for our favorite one for newborns)! It was one of the #1 toys in the house until he became interested in mobility.
Stretches and Kicks
This is one of the most fun ways to interact with baby! Holding their little feet and pumping their legs/pedaling is fun for both mom and baby. Lots of smiles typically accompany this activity, plus it helps relieve gas! You could also throw in a little baby massage at the end, Luca LOVED these!
Looking in the Mirror
Luca has always loved looking in the mirror, ever since he was teeny tiny! There is instant curiosity as to what they are seeing. He lights up whenever he catches a glimpse of himself, and recently, now that he is bigger, he likes trying to kiss his reflection. So adorable and a great activity to throw in during the day!
Let your baby touch and feel everything! We especially loved Freddie the Firefly and everything O-ball, but really just let them feel anything and everything! The bath water, their bottle, your shirt, a book, a rubber teether, etc.; this type of learning is essential for their mental, physical and emotional development.
I have always been a fan of taking the time to read books to Luca. We have several board books and “Indestructibles” books that are his favorite. Interactive ones are especially fun, and for newborns, go for black and white – they LOVE the contrast!
Getting baby to respond to certain stimuli is so fun! One way to do this is to go into a darker room with a flashlight, shine the light on the ceiling and move the light slowly so baby can follow it. You can also shake a rattle, or speak to them from one side so they try to figure out where the sound is coming from. We also loved this toy for head-turning exercises!
I’m pretty sure every parent just does this instinctually, but it’s a great exercise for baby to hold their wrists and help them pull-up slowly to a sitting position. It develops muscles and it’s entertaining! Win! We started this around two-three months when Luca had better head control.
This one may take a little bit of prep with getting helium-filled balloons, but it is so fun to see your baby’s eyes light up! Get some balloons, tie them to baby’s ankles and watch them go crazy kicking to get the balloons moving. So cute!
Who doesn’t love some bubbles? Babies love watching bubbles float around. Don’t underestimate the simplicity of suds.
Talk to Baby
I know this sounds obvious but it’s a really great way to entertain baby! You can talk to your baby as you walk through the house and dictate to them what you are doing. Tell them about how you are preparing dinner, point out some pictures on the walls or pretend you are on the old MTV show Cribs and give them a house tour! Babies truly LOVE this!
Music has a way of soothing the soul. Playing music and singing to Luca is an activity we started from day one and continue daily. I would play different genres to see which relaxed him the most, which made him happy etc. Turns out he’s just like mom and dad and loves Bob Marley and Soul! Some of Luca’s absolute favorites were “Ooh Child” by The Five Stairsteps and “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley. Now I just turn on the popular hits station via Alexa and sing whatever comes on, it makes him so happy!
I also dance for Luca when music comes on and he continues to get a kick out of it every time! He loves laughing at me making a fool of myself and when I pick him up to dance together he goes crazy!
Another great activity for newborn babies is showing them fun visuals! Showing baby flashcards with shapes, colors, and faces is a great activity; I have loved the set that came with our Lovevery Playgym! You can also get creative here – Luca actually loved going grocery shopping and staring at all the colorful items on the shelves! He became mesmerized looking all around and it was so cute watching him start to figure out this new world.
To go along with fun visuals, it was great for us to get outside! Luca was a newborn during the early spring so some days I would put him in our wrap and head out to the garden. When he wasn’t sleeping he loved looking around at the new outside world! Even if you just pop baby in the stroller and go for a quick walk, introducing them to new surroundings is a great activity!
Just Enjoy Baby Being Little
Honestly, my best advice would be to just enjoy your baby in the moment. Don’t overthink it, just have fun and make sweet memories! Believe me, the time really does fly by!