Some days Eva loves her toys, and some days she is just plain old bored of them all. I try to rotate them, so she doesn’t get tired of them too quickly. Usually this works wonders, and she’s great at playing on her own for a while each day, so I get a chance to do a few pratical things around the apartement. Or just sit down and drink a cup of coffee (or three). For the rest of the day she does however prefer someone to play with or someone to initiate a new game for her, and that someone is usually me as I’m the one home with her. We both love going out for walks, to the shops or recently to the playground while talking about everything we see and do (at least that’s what I’m talking about. I really have no clue what she’s saying even though she is always jabbering away). Sometimes however the weather, our health or my mood is just for staying indoors and on those occasions we have to think of something else to do indoors.
Playing is fun for babies and children, but it’s also essential for their development. It’s how they learn about themselves and the world. Though I truly believe in the importance of child-driven, unstructured play (you know, fancy talk for kids being kids without any adults meddling all the time), I still think that the best toy for a baby is it’s parents. Luckily playing comes natural to me and Ben. We both love goofing around and with the arrival of Eva we finally have a good excuse to do so. This will of course change the older the child gets. Eva is already becoming more and more independent as each day passes and she just loves exploring and playing on her own, but she still needs us a big part of the time (thankfully!)
Anyway, I’m getting carried away. I know it can sometimes be difficult to come up with new and fun ideas on what to play with your baby. Especially after a long night with little sleep. That’s why I decided to make a list of all the things Eva and I have been playing.
25 indoor activities your 8-10 month old baby will love to do
This is a list of what Eva have enjoyed playing in the last 1-2 months. Some of the activites take 1 minute, while some can go on for hours. Some require a prob or two, while others require none. Some of the games Eva plays on her own, while some needs me or her dad to be fun. One thing they all have in common are however that Eva have loved doing every last one of them.
1. Dance and romp around. I’ll pop Eva into my arms and we’ll dance around like 2 people gone nuts. I’ll swing her from side to side, throw her in the air, jump up and down with her and so on. Sometimes we dance to music, sometimes we just move around to my wonderful home made songs which I usually make up on the spot. It’s always a success and laughs are guaranteed. Even when she’s in a cranky mood.
2. Sing. Oh how she loves it when we sing, especially if she knows the song. Then she’ll join in (though her lyrics are a bit of) and try to imitate us if there’s any gestures like clapping or throwing her arms in the air.
3. Play with “new” stuff. I’ll give Eva new stuff to play with once in a while (or just look at, chew in and then shake). Simple stuff like spoons and other kitchen utilities work wonders. I just have to make sure they’re safe since she’ll bite into anything and with her razor sharp little teeth, she’ll sometimes bite pieces off and try to swallow them.
The wonders of kitchen utilities and a new ball.
4. Chase after a ball. I try and keep Eva’s few balls hidden from her. Mainly because I don’t want to trip and fall over them, but also because she gets so excited when she gets to play with one of them and can spend a good amount of time chasing after it, picking it up and then chasing it again. It’s one of the toys that’s always in rotation.
5. Read and point to stuff. We’ve recently started looking at books together. We did try it a few times before, but on those occasions she’s insisted on trying to eat the book (and did indeed chewed off more than one corner of a book), so we’ve waited. And then suddenly one day, she seemed interested and now she’ll gladly sit in my lap and look at the pictures in the books while I talk and she (sometimes) points. She especially likes this awesome book with animal sounds (except the cow. That one is scary).
6. Play peek-a-boo and hide under a blanket. A favourite of ours! It can always help bring a smile to Eva’s face if she’s been a bit frustrated by me not letting her play with the power outlet or the plastic bag she pulled of the table. We mix it up a lot. Some times we do play peek-a-boo in front of the mirror, where I hide behind Eva. Sometimes I make a new face whenever I pop out. Sometimes I wear my hat (which she loves) and then take it off. Sometimes a stuffed animal pops out instead of me. Sometimes one of us is hiding under the blanket and she has to pull the blanket of. And sometimes we just throw the blanket in the air and both hide under it and giggle. Oh the possibilities are endless.
7. Crawl all over Mom or Dad. This is a great game for 5 a.m. in the morning when my body is telling me, that I should be sleeping, but Eva has other plans. The game is simple: I just lie down on my bag on the floor and let her crawl all over me. That I can manage at 5 a.m. I just have to stay awake enough to keep her from pulling my hair. I’m not sure why this game is so much fun for her, but apparently it just is and that’s good enough for me.
8. Use an obstacle course. Every once in a while I’ll lay different objects on the floor for Eva to crawl all over and under. And to pratice standing with. She especially likes the foldable foam mattres, but our couch pillows, her big foam animals (the purple elephant from bObles is her favourite and a must have for busy crawlers), our coffee table and some big tin containers are also a hit. And of course Mom and Dad (see no. 7 on this list). She’s also starting to find it amusing to crawl through the “tunnels” I make. I use a blanket and place it across our coffee table and our couch (or similar places). Next time we get a big cardboard box I think I’ll try and use it to make an even more awesome tunnel.
I just wanted to take a photo of some of the things I lay out for Eva to crawl over and under, and she took it as a challenge and went straigh for it.
9. Look at stuff from Mom or Dad’s hip. I know, sounds boring, but if I pick her up and carry her around the apartement she gets excited by all the new and strangely thrilling things she can suddenly see and touch. Like the light switch, books on the top shelve and even her own socks. As long as it has been out of reach before, it is interesting. And then she also enjoys helping me make coffee and anything else in the kitchen that I can do with one hand. I would recommend wearing a ring sling or baby carrier if you plan on doing if for an extended amount of time and your baby is as heavy as Eva.
10. Imitate Mom and Dad and get them to imitate her. It’s so much fun when she starts clapping, cringing up her nose and blowing air of it, putting her arms in the air, shaking her head and saying “aeh” just because we are doing it or she wants us to do it. When she realises that we are imitating her she’ll laugh so sincerly that you can’t do anything but love her.
11. Bang on big containers and boxes. Eva loves to drum away and bang things together if they make a sound. So whenever we have a box that’ll make a new sound, we’ll let her play with it (if it’s safe of course). Blocks, spoons, and melamine cups are great drum sticks, while old tin containers, cardboard boxes and the table are great drums.
Some of the things I let Eva drum on (and with) as well as a quick home made shaker with rice grains.
12. Try to walk and stand. This is a rather new thing Eva has starting doing. She has to be the one who initiates it otherwise she won’t even consider trying to walk, but she still needs our help with the walker or if she want’s to get from a to b and there’s no furniture between the two points. The trying to stand she does on her own, but she does appriciate us clapping after each attempt.
13. Explore containers, cupboards and drawers. This is a game Eva came up with all on her own. I first became aware of it when I all of the sudden heard this wonderful music coming from behind me where she sat banging a pot into the floor. Now I sometimes let her open specific containers or drawers in which I know everything is safe for her to play with. I love how she comes speed crawling towards me when I open a specific cupboard and how exciteted she gets when she starts pulling stuff out.
14. Pull thing of own head. This is a rather short game, but it’s great at getting her interested in a new item or toy. I’ll just put a ring, a baby bean bag, a stuffed animal, a sock, or whatever I have within reach on top of her head and she will giggle like crazy trying to look at it and to pull it down. And after a few minutes she’ll usually be playing with whatever fun item she found on her head.
15. Grab stuff on Moms head. For some reason Eva loves it when I wear my hat. She goes crazy for it and just have to pull at it. The same if I put a towel over my head after a shower or if I put some of her tights on my head and shake my head. She screams with delight and just have to pull at it. I love doing this simple game when we need a good laugh.
16. Look out the window onto the street. I love doing this myself and we are very fortunate to live in and apartment with a huge window that goes from floor to ceiling and overlooks the street. This means Eva can both look down on the street on her own or with us. Sometimes I’ll catch her lying on her stomach and starring down on the street, following cars or cyclists with her eyes. It’s not a busy street, but it’s not that quiet either, so there’s a lot to look at. Sometimes we’ll sit next to each other and we’ll talk about the stuff we see.
Looking at the world from above. I like to join her so we can talk about everything we see.
17. Play with the mirror. I know I said that the best toy for a baby is it’s parents, but I do think that the baby in the mirror might be a close competitor. Eva just loves wathcing herself in the mirror, both the one she can’t reach in the bathroom and the one that’s made specifically for babies to get them to lie on their tummies. But while she loves those, she simply adores the big mirror we have, where she can sit on a stool (with me sitting behind her, making sure she doesn’t fall off) and touch her reflection with both her hands and feet – and sometimes her entire face. It can keep her occupied for ages, especially when mirror Dad or mirror Mom appears.
18. Ride a blanket. Eva loves it when she gets to ride a (big) blanket by having me pull her around the living room on our slippery floor. She’s not so great at sitting up and grabbing a hold of the blanket, so I make sure she is on all fours before I start pulling. I think it’s safe to say that giggles are gauranteed.
19. Blow bubbles. Which baby does not love bubbles? I know a lot of people prefer to do this outside, but I’ve never found it to be messy, so we do it inside in the living room. I have to admit that it’s me who blows the bubbles, while Eva stares in amazement and tries to grap them. We play this until Eva becomes more interested in the container with the bubble water than the bubbles themselves. (EDIT: recipe for an easy to make bubble solution with ingredients you already have at home)
Who can sit still when there’re bubbles in the air? Eva sure can’t.
20. Ride “the two big people”-swing. We’ve just started doing this, but Eva loves it. We’ll use a sheet or a big blanket and place Eva in the middle and then grab an end each, making a hammock. And then we’ll just swing her fra side to side. The first time she was a bit apprehensive, but the next time she enjoyed it and laughed aloud. A small tip though: this game is definitely a bigger hit before eating than just after.
21. Help with the laundry. This might not seem like fun, but apparently helping with the laundry can be the most amusing thing ever on a cold and wet Tuesday. At least according to Eva. It might take me a lot longer to get everything folded and put away, but she’ll have a blast while I do it. She’ll examine every single item I fold, crawl through my stacks of shirts and bodystocings, and taste a least a handful of the bundled socks (and then shake them a bit afterwards).
22. Splash with water. Eva loves water and especially splashing with it. She’ll start throwing her arms around the second she realises that she is going in the tub and seconds later I’m soaked with water (I’ve learned my lesson and now take off most of my clothes when she takes a bath). She loves splashing with water so much that when she (accidentally?) knocks over her cup of water will start splashing and laughing immidiately and forget all about the food she was about to eat.
23. Shake home made noise makers. Sometimes when we have a small and empty water bottle or similar see-through container I’ll fill it with something that will make a noise when shoken. And then I’ll give it to Eva to have fun with. I use items like rice and beans, but you can easily make them more advanced if you feel like it. Just make sure that the lid it screwed on very tight (maybe even glue it) and keep an eye out for your baby if you decide to give it a go.
24. Build towers and knock them over. We sometimes use empty boxes or containers or whatever else we have lying around, but mostly her coloured wooden blocks are our go to bricks. We’ve divided the work load into two equally important roles: I build the tower and she knocks them over and claps afterwards. We do this until I can’t stand building anymore towers. She doesn’t get tired of it and can continue for hours on end.
A second later the tower was no more. You can see by the toes how hard she is concentrating.
25. Tear up a magasin or cardboard box. I know, maybe not the best thing in the world to teach her, but if something is boiling over or I really, really need to pee, then it’s great at keeping her happy and entertained while I take care of business. I of course make make sure she doesn’t eat any of it, but if it’s from my union, then I know it doesn’t tear easily.
That’s it for now. I’m sure we will come up with a ton of other things to do. Both me and Ben love goofing around and being silly with Eva and often that’s just what we do.