Little Bloomer’s Weekly Playdate: Play Activities to Build Cognitive Development for Babies and Newborns

Little Bloomer’s Weekly Playdate: Play Activities to Build Cognitive Development for Babies and Newborns

Need new ideas to play with your baby this week? We got you! 

We've crafted a series of playful activities tailored for children from birth to 24 months.This week’s baby and toddler play activities are designed around building cognitive skills, from your baby’s earliest sensory experiences to pretend play skills! At Little Bloomer, we love supporting you as you help your little one grow and learn.

0 to 3 Months: Sensory Stuffed Animals

Cognitive Milestone: explores sense of touch

Activity: Spark joy and curiosity in your newborn with a soft puppet or cuddly stuffed animal for a whimsical sensory adventure! Settle your little one in a cozy spot and bring the toy to their face, hands, and feet, inviting them to explore the textures and shapes with giggles and coos. Watch as their tiny fingers eagerly grasp and squish the plush fabric, and their feet kick in excitement at the playful sensations. 

3 to 6 Months: Swing Time

Cognitive Milestone: vestibular input for sensory development

Activity: Get ready for a swinging adventure with your little one! Once your baby can sit with support, introduce them to the joys of swinging in an infant swing. As they sway back and forth, they'll experience delightful sensations and receive valuable vestibular input, which helps with sensory development. Make it playful by singing silly songs or making funny faces while they swing, turning each motion into a joyful game. 

6 to 9 Months: Cardboard Tube Treasure Hunt

Cognitive Milestone: begins to understand object permanence

Activity: Take a colorful play scarf or a piece of fabric and hide it partially inside a paper towel tube, leaving one end sticking out. Encourage your baby to explore by pulling on the fabric to reveal its hiding spot. This playful activity not only promotes object permanence - the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they are out of sight - but also strengthens their cognitive skills as they problem-solve and discover hidden treasures. 

9 to 12 Months: Action Packed Story Time

Cognitive Milestone: follows simple directions

Activity: Select books with repetitive phrases or actions and invite your little one to join in the action. As you read, encourage them to participate by mimicking the actions or sounds in the story. For example, if a character in the book is jumping, exclaim, "Let's jump like a kangaroo!" Then, demonstrate the action by lifting your baby up in the air. By following your simple directions, your baby not only engages with the story but also learns to understand and respond to verbal cues, building essential cognitive skills.

12 to 15 Months: Everyday Object Pretend Play

Cognitive Milestone: begins to play pretend

Activity: Raid your house for everyday items that spark your baby's curiosity and imagination. Offer items like plastic cups, wooden blocks, and metal pots and pans for your baby to stack, sort, and explore. Use everyday objects as props for imaginative play, such as pretending a wooden spoon is a magic wand or a cardboard box is a spaceship. The possibilities are endless! 

15 to 18 Months: Laundry Basket Car

Cognitive Milestone: Plays with Toys in a Meaningful way

Activity: Grab a rectangle laundry basket and place your toddler inside. Push the basket while making car noises, like “vroom” and “beep beep!” Pretend to turn a steering wheel and beep a horn, and give your little one lots of time to imitate and pretend to drive the car, too!

18 to 24 Months: Creative Storytime

Cognitive Milestone: Plays Pretend

Activity:  Transform your living room into an imaginative landscape using household items. Navigate the hero across the enchanted river (a cloth on the floor) and through dark caves (under a table), using the flashlight to guide their path. Along the way, the spoon hero faces fun challenges like crossing the river without getting 'wet' and finding the hidden treasure beneath the mountain. This activity fuels imagination and storytelling skills, turning everyday items into an epic adventure. 

These simple activities will help support your baby or toddler as they relate to the world around them through growing cognitive skills. Remember, every child develops at their own pace, so let your child's curiosity and interests guide these playful learning experiences. Enjoy these precious moments of discovery and connection, celebrating each small step and giggle along the way.


Need more activities? 

Check out the previous week playdate ideas:

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