5 fun baby and toddler activities

Posted on July 5th, 2019

No need to entertain your children separately, let them play together with these wonderful activities suited for both babies and toddlers.

5 fun baby and toddler activities

There will come a time when your baby catches up a little developmentally, and your children will have the chance to play together. The key is to find baby and toddler activities they can do at the same time.

Play is the perfect way to bond siblings together and to teach them both new skills, just at varying degrees. These activities are ideal for toddlers and babies with a two to three year age gap.

ALSO SEE: 4 fun games kids can play alone

Between six and nine months, babies will learn to sit and possibly crawl, maintain more eye contact, respond to family members with laughs, smiles and coo’s and can grasp more objects with their hands.

This means it’s a good time to start encouraging bonding between your older child and baby through certain activities. These activities don’t all have to be structured and perfect. The point is for your children to have fun together. As your baby gets older, and the age gap closes a little, you might notice it becomes easier and easier for your children to enjoy similar activities and play together.

TOP TIP: Help your older child to become more empathetic and patient with his younger sibling by closely supervising your children’s play and give your older child positive attention for cooperating and getting along.

Messy toddler and baby activities 

Finger paint

“Painting, like all other forms of art, encourages children of all ages to use their imaginations – to dream, create and be inspired,” says author of Sticky Fingers: A Sensory Play Recipe Book, Ayesha Parak Makada.

Finger painting is a great sensory play idea for both toddlers and babies. Try Ayesha’s recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Food colouring of choice

Method:

  1. Combine 1 cup of the water with the cornstarch and sugar in a medium sized saucepan (save the remaining water).
  2. Once there are no lumps remaining, add in the rest of the water.
  3. Stir over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken. Don’t allow it to cook too much, it should have the consistency of aqueous cream.
  4. Divide into small jars and add in colouring of your choice.

How to play together

Make sure to put aprons on your little ones, set the paint tubs on the floor, or outside in the garden on a blanket, or plastic sheets, and put a variety of paper down for them to paint on together. Guide your baby by helping her to dip her fingers in the paint and then onto the paper.

Spaghetti tub fun  

This has got to be one of the most enjoyable messy play ideas for both toddlers and babies because it involves colour and texture. Little ones are also free to play with the spaghetti as much as they like because it’s safe and non-toxic, provided your baby is old enough to not choke on the spaghetti.

How to play together

Put the cooked, coloured spaghetti in a big tub and hide a few toys inside the tub, underneath the spaghetti. Encourage your children to find the toys and get messy!

ALSO SEE: 3 fun messy play ideas for your toddler, including a recipe for rainbow spaghetti

Indoor toddler and baby activities

Colouring in

While your baby certainly won’t be able to colour in as well as your older child, little ones certainly enjoy scribbling and drawing freely on a page.

How to play together

Grab a few pieces of coloured paper and gather a few different crayons, pencils and Khoki’s, then let your children draw and colour together.

Colouring in helps to develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, from a young age. Older children will be able to start colouring in the lines, and understanding which colours are used to draw things like grass, the sun etc.

Building blocks

By the time your baby is 10-11 months old, she should be able to play with shape sorters and start to build blocks, according to Susannah Steele, author of Baby Play for Every Day.

Building with blocks is also a wonderful fine motor activity that helps children to develop their gripping technique. It’s also a great problem-solving activity that is ideal for hand-eye coordination and is great for kids of all ages.

ALSO SEE: Teach your baby about shapes

How to play together

Simply put an assortment of blocks and shape sorters on a flat surface and let your children build and play together.

Outdoor play for toddlers and babies

Playing ball 

If your older child is between the ages of three to four, he’ll be getting better at organised physical play as his coordination develops. This means he’ll start to throw and catch a ball a little better. Practice is essential for all these skills to develop so opportunities for this kind of play at home is important, says Dr Byron.

How to play together

While your baby won’t yet be able to catch or throw a ball, playing with a ball together outdoors is a great activity for both your baby and toddler. Teach your toddler to throw or roll the ball gently to your baby and help your baby to “throw” or roll the ball back.

Top tip: While you’re all outside together, you could also have a family picnic with a toy tea set and let your toddler “make tea” for all of you or go on a short nature walk and look for flowers, leaves and insects in the garden.

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About Tammy Jacks

Tammy is a wife, mom and freelance writer with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. She specialises in general lifestyle topics related to health, wellness and parenting. Tammy has a passion for fitness and the great outdoors. If she’s not running around after her daughter, you’ll find her off the beaten track, running, hiking or riding her bike.