10 Playtime Activities for Babies and Toddlers

It’s often thought that babies and toddlers are difficult to keep entertained. Very young children naturally have a short attention span and toddlers often want to do things that are still beyond their physical capabilities, which can lead to them becoming frustrated. Structured play sessions with intentional plans will also tend to go awry until your child is old enough to take direction or understand more complex concepts.

This does not mean it is difficult to keep them entertained, sometimes it’s quite the opposite in actual fact! Very young children are naturally intrigued and fascinated by the simplest of things that they can safely explore or interact with. As long as your little one is showing an interest in an object or activity, and is under your caring supervision, you are already pretty much there. Remember, babies and toddlers learn all about the world through simple play and observation.

10 fun activity ideas to try with your tiny learner

Tummy Time
This is a great activity for babies who are just starting to develop a greater range of movement. Using a mat or soft blanket and lie them on their front. You can interact with toys or teethers, sing, or even make silly faces.
Baby Signing
Experts have found that children tend to develop the desire to communicate long before they have developed the verbal skills to actually do so. Baby sign language is an intentional extension of this development stage.
Have a Sing-Song
There’s a good reason why many of the old nursery rhymes are so popular – kids love them. And you can get some great new updated version too!
Copy Me Copy Me
Young ones learn a lot through imitation and watching them try to copy your movements or silly faces can be really good fun too. Go on, blow a raspberry!
Bath Time and Water Play
Pouring, squeezing, sinking things and blowing bubbles are all endless fun for a toddler. Even babies who are too young to actively play in the bath will still enjoy the sensations of the water and a nice head massage.
Cardboard Box Fun
You may or may not remember the fun that could be had with a plain old cardboard box! Watch out for some of the heavy duty ones as they may be stapled together.
Early Reading
You do not need to wait until your child understands every word before you start reading to them. Allow them to listen to the soothing sound of your voice while they familiarise themselves with word sounds. Try board books and even bath books!

Nature/Wildlife Spotting
Depending on the age of your child you can do anything from pointing at birds or sniffing the flowers, to counting or identifying leaves and bugs.
House or Garden Boogie
Put on some of your toddler’s favourite tunes and show each other your moves. This is great for getting active and you can brighten up some mundane chores too.
Hunt the Toy
This is better than ‘Hide & Seek’ for young ones, as you can hunt the toy together and that way you can avoid them going out of your sight. You can even hide some yummy fruit or snacks as rewards along the way. Peekaboo is good for tiny ones.
At the Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning and Childcare centres in NSW, children can engage in activity-based play in a safe and nurturing environment.