Babies and toddlers thrive when they receive positive attention and loving care from parents. While routine care activities boost a child’s sense of love and well-being, dedicating a few times each day to engage with your baby or toddler helps them trust you and feel good.
Parents that do special time with their baby and toddler daily notice more cooperation and happiness at home.
Special time is a priceless time between a parent and a child. It’s a time set aside to create and strengthen your bond and relationship with your baby or toddler.
Special time is most valuable when you set aside all phone calls, emails, TV screens and connect very deliberately and mindfully with your child.
The following 40 activities can be done during special time to boost your bond with your baby and toddler.
(Part 2 of the series has 60 More activity ideas for Special time with preschoolers and School Aged Children.)
Infants 0-12 months
In infancy, meeting the needs of your child, day and night is pretty much special time 24/7 but as your infant grows, setting aside time for tummy time together, playing with rhymes and songs can be lots of fun and fundamentally important to development.
20 Activities to do with Infants & Babies: 0-12 months
1. Breastfeed (bottle-feed with nurturing touch)
3. Count little toes/little fingers
4. Play with finger puppets and soft toys
5. Put baby in a carrier/wrap and take a walk together.
6. Recite finger plays
7. Read a book of rhymes
8. Sing silly songs
9. Slow dance
10. Build block towers
11. Flip through a soft book
12. Lounge on a soft blanket
13. Play together with a mirror
14. Play with a scarf or soft blanket
15. Look at trees, flowers, clouds in the sky
16. Play with scraps of fabric to explore textures
17. Stack, roll, toss paper cups
18. Have a crawling race
19. Play Beek-a-boo
20. Make up a song with your childs name
Toddlers: 12-24 months
Toddlers want to explore their world, discover new tastes, textures and experiment with independence (while mom/dad are close by for security). Showing and discovering new activities with a toddler is lots of fun. Toddlers don’t expect a perfectly painted or crafted project but they sure are proud of their scribbles, squiggles and messy creations.
20 Activities to do with toddlers (12-36 months)
1. Blow bubbles
2. Watch clouds
3. Paint with pudding
4. Roll and toss balls
5. Play hide and seek
6. Read silly books
7. Visit your local library for new books
8. Create crayon drawings
9. Paint with finger paints
10. Paint rocks or glue colorful paper
11. Open a pretend grocery stand
12. Smash and roll play-dough
13. Push your child on a swing
14. Count trees
15. Hunt for butterflies
16. Pretend to be animals
17. Drum a song with pots & pans
18. Splash in rain puddles
19. Watch airplanes in the sky
20. Look at animals in a book or at the local zoo
Parents feel calmer and more connected to their babies and toddlers after engaging in a few minutes of play and cuddles. Building some special play time into your routine can help the whole family feel well. What is your child’s favorite play or activity right now?
Peace & Be Well,