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How to Play with a Newborn? Best Activities to Engage your Baby

by | Newborn

Between all the feeding, naps, and diaper changing times, there will be a time when your little ones will be awake and charged up, ready to take in their surroundings and engage with you.

Every moment, experience, and activity is new for your newborn, and it makes every action and interaction with you a chance to learn and develop a bond. Playing is a crucial element to healthy baby’s development, and how kids’ experiences with play time change as they grow.

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Your little one’s short wake time and limited abilities, such as communication, can make it challenging for an engaging playing experience. So, you must wonder how to play with a newborn. So read on to explore beneficial and functional infant activities.

Why do we need to Play with a Newborn?

Interaction and playing is the crucial way that babies learn. Through different movements, they learn the language, explore the environment and develop bonds. It also helps them strengthen motor skills because the initial months act as building blocks of your newborn’s development. Parents are advised to stimulate them as much as possible to give their bodies a running start.

Newborn play ideas with a newborn may seem difficult to act upon initially, but once you start it, it becomes natural.

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There is no mystery that human brains grow many times faster when they are babies and toddlers. That is why physical activities and stimulation are necessary at the toddler stage. In order to help your child have all the optimal tools for growth, offer them all the interaction, stimulation, and love.

When should one Start Playing with Newborn?

At the early stage of life, such as the first month, your baby will learn much with daily interaction. Here are the notable things you can start playing with your baby anytime. There is no need to worry about a set time for activities with your newborn. Instead, you can take the time to talk, sing and interact with the bay throughout the day.

Everything from lullabies to tickles, how they try to look at you and the soft touch you provide, all the interacting simulations.

What Skills are your Newborn Developing?

For a newborn, such as smiling for the first time to wave for saying bye are all developmental skills. These skills act as markers for doctors to track progress in four developmental categories including language development.

mother, child, family

Here are the skill categories in which you can expect and see visible development:

Social and Emotional Skills

  • Calm when picked up

  • Tries to look at parents or guardians

  • Make eye contacts

  • Begin to smile at people

Cognitive Skills

  • Shows the sign of boredom when the activities do not change

  • Become eligible to track objects

  • Language and Communication Skills

  • Immediately turn your head toward the sound

  • Makes different sounds

Gross and Fine Motor Skills

  • Pushes up from tummy time

  • Lift the head while leaning on your forearms

  • Open and closes and hands

What Activities should you do with a Newborn?

The best way to play with your newborn baby is to provide stimulation opportunities regularly. However, the newborn play ideas can be simple and do not require a lot of preparation and special training tools.

family, newborn, baby

You can determine the best way to play with your newborn according to his response. The activities such as singling, talking, bouncing, imitating, and massaging are all excellent newborn awake time activities.

Here are some common activities that focus on a particular skill or habit development

Sensory Activates

These activities stimulate the newborn baby’s senses

Baby Talk

You may consider it a useless activity as babies cannot understand you and do not talk back, but remember that babies pay special attention to the human voice in the first month. Specifically, high-pitched voices are attractive to them. When you talk to your baby, they turn their heads towards you and pay close attention. They cannot talk but respond to subtle movements of arms and legs.

Read to your baby

It is surprising, but it is true that babies can remember some voices they hear. You can try reading a story to your little one for a few days in a row, then wait a couple of days and read it again. He will recognize the words and sounds and respond similarly.

child, game, family

Listen to music together.

Music is not only a source of entertainment for relaxation for you but also can be fun and soothing for your baby. Listening to music together also allows you to bond with your little ones. So, turn on the music, put on some soft music, and gently sway with the tune.

Introduce different textures

Let your baby experience different tactile sensations by placing them on various surfaces, for instance, a smooth or textured blanket. You can also place them on a towel and straw mat. Let them experience different surfaces, such as sticky to smooth, warm to cool, and uneven to play. It is not only a fun experience for the baby but also for you to watch them explore.

Play with expression

There is no mystery that babies comprehend expressions. Make different expressions, such as sticking your tongue out, smiling at the baby, or making sillier expressions. You get to bond strongly with the baby as they study your face and its features. However, do not make the same silly expressions that they start imitating. However, it is a pleasant experience to see them smiling back.

Enjoy skin-to-skin contact

This contact is also a great source of optimal bonding. Hold your naked baby against your naked chest and enjoy patting and stroking baby’s face and hair. Skin-to-skin contact has many potential benefits for both of you. Indeed, it is an excellent bonding activity.

Play tracking game

The baby’s vision develops gradually with time. But you can start encouraging them by moving something attractive in front of them. For instance, you can move your head gradually from side to side or use a colorful toy. Initially, the baby may not track the movement but surely will start gradually.

Indoor Activities

The newborn is suggested to spend most of the time indoors until they are fully vaccinated. However, there are plenty of activities available for infants to enjoy indoors, such as:

Tummy time

Make your baby lay on the stomach for a while twice or thrice a day when he is awake. This activity helps strengthen the baby’s neck muscles. Anyhow stay close to him and watch when he is on the tummy. If your newborn does not enjoy tummy time on the bed or mat, place them on your chest. They will definitely enjoy it and can feel your warmth. It also help gassy babies.

mother, son, bubbles

Baby mirror game

When the babies are growing, they love to see different faces, including their own. The baby-safe mirror can assist your baby in exploring the world. Hold the baby in front of the mirror and let him look at their image and maybe try to reach out.

Baby massage

Touch is a great source of bonding, and giving a massage to your baby is a soothing activity for both. Indeed, babies are delicate like adults. So, you need to be gentle and careful while massaging a baby.

Puppet play

Newborn play ideas with puppets are also a useful activity for both you and your baby. You can buy colorful dolls online or can even stitch them by yourself. Play peek-a-boo, and move the puppet back and forth while making funny sounds. It will keep your newborn engaged and awake.

Clap your baby’s hand

When the baby is awake, do not miss the chance to interact with them. You can sing your favorite children’s song to your baby and gently clap your hands and baby’s hands together with the tune and see your baby laughing.

infant, toy, game arc

Smiling games

You can encourage your little one to smile by sticking your tongue out at her and making other silly faces. However, remember that you may need to wait two months to see your baby smiling at your weird and funny expressions. The smiles you see during those very first few weeks are more likely you’re reflexes.


You can also flatter your baby by imitating its sounds as well as expressions. It is also a source of communication with your baby. It is important to the baby that you are paying attention to her and structure the communication process.

Outdoor Activities

When it is a beautiful sunny warm day, why not spend some good time with your baby outside under the sky? However, keep in mind that your newborn should not be directly exposed to sunlight. Try to find a shady spot to have fun with your baby.

Go for a walk

Put your newborn baby in the stroller or a baby carrier while ensuring that they are dressed appropriately according to the temperature. You also need to include the canopy and a wide-brimmed hat if the sun is too bright. Having the outdoor walk is surely stimulating; while on the stroll, you can make your baby sit ups and see different things.

Tummy time

Spread a blanket on the floor or on the grass in the back of the yard, which is free from any sharp and harmful objects. Then offer your baby a little tummy time outdoors and let them move, and watch different objects and colors in the surroundings.

baby, cute, child

Play with bubbles

It is a sort of tracking activity. You need to blow out some bubbles into the air and let your little one watch them. Newborn babies find the bubbles fascinating, and it is nice to do this activity on a nice, warm day with light sunlight. Just keep in mind to blow the bubbles away from the baby, so the soapy water does not get in touch with their skin and enter the eyes.

Swing Together

Similar to airplane games, swinging together also offers excellent vestibular input for your baby. You are suggested to gently or gently hold your baby and swing together on the swing or large hammock. Many new parents find it comfortable to wear the baby in a carrier and swing on the ground together.

Cycle Time

It is a useful activity that strengthens your baby’s abdominal muscles and increases body awareness by gently moving the legs in a cycle of motion. This activity also introduces the newborn play ideas of alternating movement, which is essential to learn walking and crawling at young age.


It is the parent’s responsibility to offer different exposures to their little ones because it is the time when their brain is developing at a faster rate. The babies learn about the world and surroundings through interacting with you and playing with you.

Hence, you need to get creative and see what works for them. Maybe your one baby’s interests are to listen as you tell them bedtime stories, while others may like to see you talking to them. Regardless of the activity your baby enjoys, do not forget to hug and caress your baby and understand baby’s cues.

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