3 Ways to enjoy Fall-themed Fun with your baby

Do you ever find your PInterest feed overtaken by the cutest, most creative seasonal play ideas for toddlers and preschoolers? You might then turn to your baby, drooling all over her chin rolls, and wish you guys could get in on the fun, too. 

You don't have to be a super-crafty parent or have a stocked craft closet to bust baby boredom with creative play, I promise. Here are 3 fun activities that even young infants can enjoy that won't require you to be a hot glue pro, rush to the store for googly eyes and pipe cleaners or anything crazy like that. Having a baby is complicated, let's keep this play thing simple, okay? 

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DIY Fall Leaf Mobile for Babies

One of the primary ways that infants play is through visual exploration. Mobiles are a great way to challenge them to look at objects that are very slowly moving and to capitalize on their "quiet alert" state - all while your baby gets the tremendous benefits of stretching and strengthening out of their curled up womb position (did you know that's one of their first motor tasks?!).

I love, love, love using photo mobiles above babies' play spots because it's so easy to change what you hang from them and keep things fresh and exciting for your newborn. To make a simple DIY Fall Leaf Mobile, simple snag one of these inexpensive photo mobiles from Amazon  {affiliate}and clip brightly colored leaves to it. In a pinch you can use small office supply clips to secure leaves to a metal coat hanger, too!

 Make sure to hang your mobile low enough for baby to see but high enough that he can't reach it - 12-18" is a great height. You'll need to add fresh leaves if you plan on leaving this mobile up for several days. This activity is great for babies before they learn to roll onto their bellies but feel free to try it out with older babies, too!

And here are two tips to help prevent Flat Head Syndrome: leave the clips in the center of the mobile empty to encourage baby to turn the head to look to the perimeter of the mobile or position baby slightly beside the mobile instead of directly under it. By changing her position, you can encourage her to turn her head in both directions and reduce pressure on the back of the head (which she gets so much of when she sleeps). 

fall sensory play newborn baby nursery mobile

Going on a Leaf Hunt With Your Baby

I sent Daddy & Rowan out in the backyard one evening to gather leaves for another leaf activity. But, as I watched out the kitchen window I had two thoughts: (1) quiet house, no baby - quick, what can I get done?! and (2) look at all the great sensory input he's getting just collecting leaves.

leaf hunt sensory play baby activities

There was lots of bending over, being picked up, put down, supported in sitting, laying in the grass - valuable movement input of the sort that we can easily take for granted. Keep in mind that one of the key ways that babies develop balance and body awareness is through experiencing movement and position changes. Before he rolls, crawls or walks, your baby is dependent on YOU to offer movement activities! 

Sit or lay your baby down and take some time to touch the grass and the leaves with hands and bare feet. You'll be helping your little one learn about crunchy leaves, scratchy grass and more! Reaching and touching (with close supervision for mouthing babies) are purposeful responses to this sensory play. Not sure what a purposeful response is or sensory play is? Be sure to read Sensory Play for Babies for an overview.

And finally, your baby will be looking and seeing the leaves contrasted against the grass. With an older baby, a great purposeful response would be for him to begin to crawl toward leaves he spots on his own. But even just observing an adult pick up leaves is a great adventure for a young infant. Bonus points if your little one watches you pick up leaves for a few minutes in Tummy Time!

Leaf Sensory Bag Tummy Time Play

I confess that I tried a touching pan of leaves with Rowan's paci in to block mouthing but he just wound up rubbing leaves all over his face in his attempts to mouth. *sigh* Our days of unlimited options for touching pans and grabbing baskets is officially over.  If your baby is grasping and bringing items to the mouth or face, you can easily make a leaf sensory bag to explore in Tummy Time.

Put leaves in a gallon-sized plastic bag and tape all four sides of the bag to the floor. I left a little air in the bag so that the leaves could shift around., If, like us, your floor is similar in color to the leaves, just slide a white piece of paper into the bag underneath the leaves to add contrast. If your little one isn't yet reaching in Tummy Time, try this activity belly-down over a nursing pillow like a BoppyAs always, closely supervise your baby.

My guy loved being able to feel and hear the crunchy leaves and was especially interested in slapping the bag. What will your baby do with a leaf sensory bag?

leaf sensory bag newborn play activities ideas

So there you have it, three different fall-themed sensory activities for newborns using leaves. If you live in a climate without fall leaves, you might try getting some realistic fake ones at a craft store. Too bad about you missing fall, but color me jealous that you get to skip winter!

When you give these a try with your kiddo, please share how it went by leaving a comment below or on the CanDo Kiddo Facebook page. As always, happy playing!

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