Baby’s are little sponges. New to everything the world has to offer, they are eager to experience and explore. And the way babies and toddlers learn about the world is through play. However when you have a toddler (especially a young toddler) it can be hard to get baby some play time. First babies you can usually put them on a blanket and surround them with toys. And all babies after, there is a good chance your toddler will come and poke them in the eye when you blink. Our solution was to get little baby involved with our toddler’s playtime. These are 9 ways our kids love to play together:
Water play is not something that comes to mind when people think of little babies. However, water play can be a super fun activity for bigs and littles to do together.
Now before I say anything else, I’m going to state the obvious: never leave the baby unattended by the water, and never ever leave your toddler alone with the baby and the water.
Ok. PSA over, water play with bigs and littles can be super fun, and a great way to ward off the summer heat.
We fill a tray up with water and add some of our toddler’s bath toys. We position little baby in tummy time on a boppy pillow. This let’s baby see the toys, and even touch the water, but not have her face land in the water.
Our toddler then can sit across from baby and play with the toys, moving them in the water. This works on little baby’s tracking skills, and is fun sensory learning for the toddler.
2. Sensory Bottles
Sensory bottles can be a great way to get little babies involved in sensory bins. Take a couple handfuls of items from the toddler’s sensory bin and place them in an empty plastic Voss water bottle. For really little babies (0-6 months) you can gently roll the bottle in front of them and let them see the different items in the bottle. For babies older than that, they can shake and manipulate the bottle themselves. This gives them a safe opportunity to explore items that would otherwise be a choking hazard.
3. Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts is another, not so obvious activity to get little baby involved in, but can be done.
We like to use ink pads and have bigs and littles make feet print on paper. Then we turn those feet prints into birds, flowers, monsters, etc. It makes a cute keepsake.
My toddler loves to pick out the colors to make the footprints and loves having little baby involved. We keep wet wipes on hand for easy clean up.
4. Mirror Play
Babies, big and small, love mirrors. We set little baby in tummy time with the mirror in front of her. This encourages her to lift her head and get some good tummy time exercise. Then our toddler can play in the mirror too. My toddler loves to point in the mirror and show little baby where her eyes, nose, and mouth are.
Reading is good for everyone’s vocabulary and literary skill building. We find a place where everyone can sit together (a couch, a bed, etc.) And read. We let our toddler pick out her favorite books to read to baby. We also encourage her to find books she thinks the baby would like.
Dance parties are an everyday occurrence in our house. When we turn on the music, I pick up little baby and dance with her. Now, when I need to put little baby down, my toddler will grab her hand and move it, helping her to keep dancing. Super cute!
Need some ideas for tunes, check out Spanish Christian Music for Kids. These are the songs that regularly land on our dance party playlist.
When singing songs with our toddler, we grab the baby and sing to her too. We encourage our big kid to sing to the baby as well. And often little baby will coo and “sing” along.
8. Finger Plays
When doing finger plays, my toddler can more-or-less do them by herself now, so I grab the little baby and do them with her. I’ll often encourage my toddler to show the baby how to do the actions. Prekinders has a great list of finger plays if you need some ideas.
9. Finger Puppets
Finger puppets are just fun for everyone. We showed our toddler how to put them on her finger, and then use them to play with the baby.
How do you get your kids to play together? Comment Below.
If these ideas seem a little crazy, or you feel like your toddler is too crazy to safely play with your little baby, check out: How We’re Teaching Our Toddler To Safely Play With The New Baby