Ways to Entertain Your Baby Indoors
It’s winter, you’re going stir crazy, and short of putting on another one-woman performance of Gypsy, you’re at a loss for what to do to entertain your baby. Here are some ideas for how to keep your pre-crawler busy when spending time in the park is not an option.
Mom Group Get-Togethers
First, if you haven’t already joined your local moms’ group, join already! If your neighborhood doesn’t have one, here’s your chance to become a founding mother. I joined my local moms’ Yahoo group a few weeks before my baby Stellan was born, and in addition to being a great resource for advice and gently used baby gear, it’s an excellent way to meet moms with babies the same age as yours. That means loads of get-togethers within walking distance from your home and plenty of opportunities for your little one to make friends while you enjoy a glass of wine with other new parents.
I started out not knowing any moms in our neighborhood, and now Stellan and I have a play date at least once a week. He loves seeing other babies, and I love taking him to baby-friendly spaces where I can have adult conversation.
Your Neighborhood Baby Music Class
Because I started going a little nuts spending 14 hours a day alone with an infant, I decided to try as many activities with him as I could just as soon as I felt well enough to venture out of our apartment. That’s how Stellan ended up at the local sing-along when he was just two months old. I never thought singing off-key in a room full of babies and toddlers would make me feel sane again, but it did. And, although he was by far the youngest one there at the time, Stellan enjoyed watching other babies crawl around, suck on shakers and beat drums, even if he could only sit in my arms and nurse. The other great thing about a raucous music class is that on the few occasions when Stellan did cry, his wailing got lost amid the instrumentals.
If you’re not lucky enough to have a music club gathering a block away from your home like I do, consider hosting one yourself. The one we go to takes place once a week for an hour at another family’s house, and the musician who runs it brings his own instruments as well as a rainbow parachute for the kids to play under. All the stimulation means Stellan is ready for a long nap when we get back home, so at $15 a class, it’s worth every penny.
I’m of the mind that you’re never too young to appreciate the museum, and we’re lucky enough to live in New York City, where there are plenty to choose from. Stellan’s first museum-going experience at the American Museum of Natural History was a huge success. My husband wore him facing out in our Baby BjÃ¶rn carrier so that Stellan could enjoy the wildlife dioramas. At four months old, he remained entertained for a solid two hours, and his dad and I had a great time as well.
We’re planning to check out the Brooklyn Children’s Museum with him soon and also see how he likes the Museum of Modern Art. I’m guessing he’ll find the Matisse cutouts captivating.
Baby and Me Exercise Classes
I wasn’t sure how Stellan would do in a yoga class, but it turns out he finds the sight of me in downward dog hilarious. The best postpartum exercise classes I’ve found really encourage interaction between moms and their babies by having moms use their babies as cuddly weights to make poses and exercises more challenging. Â There’s nothing quite like strengthening your core while your baby giggles at how hard you have to work to get back in shape.
If it’s too cold to make the trek to class and you’re disciplined enough to work out on your own, there are plenty of mommy-and-me workout videos on YouTube to help you establish a routine at home. Just make sure to commit to taking care of yourself so that you can keep taking great care of your baby.
Baby Story Time at Your Local Library
Most libraries have a designated story time for babies, during which a parent volunteer reads short books to all the tots. While this isn’t quite as exciting as hitting a tambourine while doing the hokey pokey, it beats rereading the same five stories to your baby yourself.
On days when getting to the library feels impossible, shake up story time at home with a puppet or a couple of stuffed animals and some silly voices.
Baby Gear Circuit
If you’re snowed in and can’t fathom walking down the street to a friend’s house or digging your car out of the snow, you can always rotate your baby through his gear and never take a step outside your front door. I can’t guarantee that you won’t feel a little loopy by the end of the day, but it’s better than risking frostbite.
Stellan’s favorite at-home activities are bouncing in his jumper, napping in his swing, and playing on his activity mat, surrounded by toys. He also likes being worn facing out in his Baby BjÃ¶rn carrier while I do chores. Blast some Raffi and start singing along, and you’ll have your own special brand of baby music class.