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10 (Easy, We Promise) Ways to Entertain Your Baby at Home
Updated on
September 11, 2023

10 (Easy, We Promise) Ways to Entertain Your Baby at Home

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10 (Easy, We Promise) Ways to Entertain Your Baby at Home

Trying to find ways to keep your baby occupied on a normal day can be a challenge. Throw in something like a sick day (for you, your little one or your childcare provider) or a winter storm and, well…all we can say is we feel you and we’re right there with you.

If your usual toys and games aren’t cutting it, give one of these DIY activities a try. They’re quick and easy to set up, and most of them use items you’ll be able to find around your home. We can’t promise they’ll buy you hours of free time, but they’ll definitely help if you need to hop on a conference call or simply need a few minutes to yourself.

A few tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep it simple. The activities on this list are all very simple, and for good reason. Babies don’t need all that much in the way of entertainment. Exploring everyday objects and the world around them is often more than enough to keep a baby busy (and learning). Don’t overcomplicate things and stick to basic activities using whatever supplies you have on hand.
  • Don’t be afraid to make a mess. The last thing you want to do right now is clean up a mess, especially if you’re also busy trying to do other things like care for a sick kiddo or get some work done. Often, though, sensory-based activities that use things like water, sand or paint really capture little ones’ attention. Try containing the chaos by doing messy activities in a high chair and using a mat underneath.
  • Box ‘em in. Baby jail for the win! Now’s the time to break out those playards or baby gates if you have them. Keeping baby contained (with a few safe toys or books, of course) will not only help you concentrate on other things, it will help keep your little one safe and give them some time to work on playing independently.
  • Give yourself a break. Swore you wouldn’t do screen time until two? Just don’t have the time or the energy to do much of anything today? Cut yourself some slack. Parenting is hard; sometimes simply making it through the day is an accomplishment. If today’s not the day you feel like putting in the extra effort to entertain your baby, then so be it. Do what works for you and don’t worry about it. (We love you, Ms. Rachel.)

1. Sensory Bags

We love sensory bags because they’re easy, fun and completely mess-free. (We especially love that last part). All you’ll need is a gallon-size plastic bag (we recommend doubling up in case the first layer rips) and whatever you have around the house to put inside. Baby can play with them sitting up or in a high chair, or you can use some masking tape to secure one to the floor for tummy time. Here are a few of our favorites:

2. Pots and Pans

It doesn’t get much easier than this. Take out a few pots and pans, lids and some Tupperware along with a few safe kitchen tools (things like a spatula and a wooden spoon both work) and watch your baby go to town. If you have the space, try cleaning out a drawer or cabinet that’s within reach of your little one and giving them free rein–they’ll love the independence and being able to take items in and out as they wish.

3. Busy Board

Also called sensory boards, busy boards let your baby explore all different types of textures. They’re perfect for capturing your little one’s attention, and they’re very safe since everything is glued or screwed into place.

Busy boards can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be and the options to DIY are endless. A quick Etsy search also reveals a selection of premade boards you can buy if you don’t have the energy to make one on your own.

4. Sensory Bins

Sensory bins are a bit messier than sensory bags, but we think they’re worth it. They’re super simple–all you’ll need is any large plastic bin (we like these) and something to put inside. For the baby set, we recommend pairing these items with a few scoops or measuring cups:

  • Water
  • Dry pasta
  • Dry cereal

Just don’t leave baby unsupervised with sensory bins–you’ll need to make sure nothing is going in their mouths.

5. Finger Paints

I know, I know–finger painting is messy. But we have a hack! Assuming you have a tiled shower or tub, bring some washable finger paints there and tape a large piece of paper up on the wall. Your baby can go to town and you can hose everything down once they’re done.

6. Baby Tissue Box

Ever watch a baby take tissues out of a tissue box? One by one, until there aren’t any left and your tissues are strewn all over your living room floor? Make them their own! It’s quick and easy and babies love them. Here’s how.

7. Shakers

Babies love to shake things and make lots of noise. You can fill just about anything (water bottle, toilet paper or paper towel roll, plastic eggs) with whatever you have lying around the house (rice, pasta, etc.) and let your little one explore all different types of sounds. Just be sure whatever you’re using is sealed tightly so your baby can’t pry it open.

8. Pom Pom Drop

This one is great for older babies and young toddlers who have already mastered sitting up. It’s fun and helps little ones build fine motor skills along the way. All you’ll need is some pom poms, a paper towel roll and some masking tape or painter’s tape.

9. Popsicle Stick Push

This is another activity that’s better suited for older babies. You’ll need an egg carton (one made of styrofoam works best, but a cardboard one is okay, too) and some popsicle sticks to get going. This is super simple to set up, just flip the carton over and cut small slits into the bottom of each egg section and watch your little one do the rest. Babies love pushing the sticks in and pulling them out over and over again.

10. Toy Rescue

Think of this one as a baby version of a search and rescue mission. Everything you need you can find around your house–a laundry basket, some string and some of your little one’s favorite toys or stuffed animals–so the setup is pretty easy. Your baby will love trying to reach through the string to rescue their toys.

Babylist Staff

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