Just when you think you’re getting the hang of this parenting thing, it all changes again! At around three months old I found that Phoebe had a new reason for crying: boredom. Instead of being able to entertain her for hours with one toy or just by chatting to her, she needed more to keep her mind active.
It’s taken all the way up to six months for me to master this, and I’m sure it’s all about to change again! But for now, here are my tips on how to entertain your baby from three to six months old.
Best toys for 3 – 6 month olds
The most obvious place to start is toys, but it’s not quite as straightforward as that. I used to get out a huge number of toys at once and place them all around Phoebe for her to play with, but the issue there was that she would get bored of all of them at once. Now, I just give her one or two toys at a time and when she’s bored of those, I take them away and pick out another one. It works a treat!
Galt Play Nest
One of my absolute favourite things is the Galt Play Nest. I am sure that this has helped Phoebe master sitting up, but it is also so handy. I pop her in this with one or two toys at a time and she will spend such a long time enjoying herself in there. She can lean back if she wants to without falling, and she uses her muscles to reach and play. Plus, the toys don’t go far so you don’t have to keep picking them up and giving them back to her.
I’ll be buying this as a gift for new parents from now on, it’s fantastic and I would wholeheartedly recommend. You can usually find it on Amazon for just under £20.
Finding Nemo Playmat
I’m not sure if this is going to be suitable for all babies right the way up to six months, but despite being a brilliant sitter Phoebe still can’t roll either way! She will lay on her back or play on her front but has no interest in trying to roll. This means she will still happily play laying in the play mat for a while each day. I love this Finding Nemo one (Amazon, Smyths Toys) which also has lights and music.
This is something you can introduce as your baby gets closer to six months as it requires a bit more strength, but Phoebe loves her Jumperoo. I tend to put her in this when she has only just had a nap as it can get a bit too much when she is edging towards being tired. At the moment, she still doesn’t actually jump in this one, but hopefully she will learn!
You can buy this one from Smyths Toys for £54.99 at time of writing.
Other activities for babies
Phoebe loves a good book, but not in the traditional sense just yet. She just wants to touch and feel them, and often chew on them! We have got a selection of board books that we read together, as well as a few pop up books and picture books that I read to her when I can keep her hands at bay.
One of her favourites is this Nosy Crow book called Where’s Mr Duck, because it has sturdy felt flaps she can play with. There’s not much going on when it comes to the story, but the colours and interactive elements are a winner.
Change of scenery
I’ve noticed that I have the most trouble keeping Phoebe happy when we spend all day indoors. When it’s rainy and I have no choice (since I don’t have a car!) I make sure I move her from room to room rather than staying in the living room all day.
I’ll bring her into the kitchen while I’m making lunch or washing up, often popping her into her high chair now that she’s bigger but I used to put her in a bouncy chair in there. She enjoys watching what I’m doing (I usually tell her what I’m doing – “Now I’m putting butter on the bread and adding some ham” etc) and if the washing machine is on she’ll be mesmerised by that.
I will usually give her a toy or two to play with on the high chair, but they don’t always stay there for long! I don’t have one but I imagine a high chair toy like this one would be handy.
In the same respect, I find that cycling through activities works. Jumperoo, sitting, laying, bouncy chair and round again will probably do the trick.
Take them outside
When it’s not raining, I always take Phoebe outside. She loves being in the pram and watching the world go by. I would always be sure to put the hood down on the pram so she could see the sky and trees, and I would often stop to get her out and let her have a look around. Now she’s six months we have changed her pram so that she is sitting up, which makes things even more exciting for her. It’s all about seeing new things for the first time, I love seeing how curious she is.
Even better is when there are people around she can stare at. I often end up in Costa and she will happily sit in her pram and watch what people are doing, even if there’s the option of a toy instead.
Baby Bjorn Carrier
When Phoebe was five months old we put her in the Baby Bjorn facing outwards for the first time and she absolutely loved it. She’ll happily stay in there for over an hour while we’re getting stuff done. Of course, this isn’t always practical and can get very achey on your back after a while, but sometimes it’s worth it!
Some bonus ideas
Puppets: We have a set of four animal puppets that Phoebe loves and always laughs at – these are similar.
Muslin: Try peek-a-boo, waving them in front of your baby’s face, tickling them with it. Phoebe laughs at all three of these things and it’s handy when we’ve run out of things to play with while we’re not at home.
Labels: Another one for when you’re out and about – if your baby is bored of the toy itself, make sure they’ve spotted the label. Phoebe plays with them for ages, sometimes as long as she had with the toy itself.
Bubbles: Phoebe is fascinated by bubbles. She is usually really calm as she watches them drift around her.
Music: I find that Phoebe stays happy for longer if we’ve got some music on. I often go for the Harry Potter soundtrack or something cinematic, but any music will do.
And if all else fails, Little Baby Bum!
Do you have any additional ideas about how to entertain your baby from three to six months? Any favourite toys? What should I look out for from six to twelve months? I’d love to hear from you, either in the comments below or on Instagram.