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5 ideas for tummy time

The very early days and months with baby are HARD. You’re tired and your bub will probably sleep a lot but almost definitely not at night. The midwives and healthcare visitors will encourage you to do ‘tummy time’ but that’s sometimes easier said than done.

Tummy time helps babies to strengthen their head and neck although initially, they won’t be able to lift their head at all. That comes with time. So if you’re reading this and your baby is very new, try very short intervals of tummy time a few times a day.

Once your baby begins to show interest in the world around them, here are some ideas to try that will make tummy time more engaging.

Books

Sounds obvious, right? But it’s a good place to start. Ideally books should be a part of your routine with baby from birth so it’s a good idea to combine reading with tummy time.

Books with high contrast images work really well. There’s a number of series that we absolutely love such as the ‘Where’s Mr/ Mrs…’ series by Nosy Crow and the ‘That’s Not My…’ series by Usborne.

Suitable from birth

Baby Ball Pit

This is a fun activity when baby gets a little older and starts to take notice of the world around him. When Elliott reached 5 months he was starting to reach and grab for objects so we placed a variety of balls in different textures and sizes into a tuff spot tray. A much simpler version of this is to simply place one ball in front of baby – we really like ‘o-balls.’

When trying this activity at home, please be mindful of the size of ball you use. Small items are choking hazards.

Suitable from 4 months

Pompom Roll

You will need:

  • Cylindrical bottle (we like Voss)
  • Pompoms
  • Glue gun and refills

Having a baby doesn’t need to mean buying loads of expensive toys. After all, they do outgrow items rather quickly! This homemade pompom roll allows baby to explore cause and effect without the price tag.

To recreate similar at home, put pompoms (or other colourful items) into a clear plastic bottle and seal the lid shut.

Suitable from 4 months

Baby’s First Painting

You will need:

  • Sandwich bags
  • Card
  • Non-toxic paints (best to be safe!)
  • Masking tape

Art isn’t the easiest activity to try with babies. Because of their tendency to mouth absolutely everything, paints aren’t a very safe option. The ‘taste safe’ alternative paint of yoghurt mixed with food colouring is great for older babies but bear in mind dairy products aren’t recommend for children under the age of 6 months.

For this activity, I placed very small blobs of non-toxic acrylics onto a piece of card, then placed it into a sandwich bag. For extra safety, use masking tape to secure the edges – curious babies have the tendency to be pretty ‘grabby!’

Suitable from 5 months

Baby Wipe Sensory Board

You will need:

  • Baby wipe lids
  • Cardboard (we used one side of a box)
  • Glue gun and refills
  • Various materials such as felt, bubble wrap, pipe cleaners and feathers.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve likely gone through countless baby wipe packs already. Start saving them up, so you can use them for this ‘baby peekaboo’ activity.

With this activity, it’s really best to use a glue gun to make sure the materials are secure. Ours was only $10 from the local craft shop.

I’ve used this with Elliott from the age of 5 months but it will really depend on development stage too. Signs to look for would be baby reaching and grabbing for objects. They really need to have good upper body strength in order to do this activity.

Suitable from 6 months

A note on age recommendations

I’m hesitant to put age recommendations on this post, however I know lots of people will ask. This is just a general guideline based on my own experiences with Elliott and Zoey.

My best advice is to watch out for signs of the next developmental stage. For example, when Elliott had sufficient head and neck strength, I introduced the ball and pompom roll. Now that he is starting to reach and grab objects, I’ve introduced the sensory board.

If you are at all concerned about your baby’s development, please contact your GP or health visitor.

Safety First!

Never leave your baby unattended while they play. Check homemade play items everytime you use them and take into consideration your babies developmental stage – there is no point rushing onto activities before they are ready!

Any questions?

If you have any questions about the activities featured here, pleass comment below or send me an email.

Sian x

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