Baby Stations: Part 2 - Play Ideas for 3 months to 6 months (or Sitting)

This is Part 2 of a series on Baby Stations. Be sure to read Baby Stations: Part 1 - Get More Done While Baby Plays for more tips on baby stations as well as ideas for stations for the first 3 months. 

Keeping your baby busy, happy and engaged in activities you feel confident are developmentally good for him is one of the biggest challenges of having a little one in your home. And, to be clear, not every moment your little one is awake needs to be filled with new, flashy learning activities for baby. Every opportunity for simple, active play (freedom to move and explore unrestricted by baby holding devices) is a chance for your baby to learn more about his body and the world around him and for new skills to emerge. 

We've discussed in Part 1 how helpful baby stations can be for giving your baby a variety of body positions to experience sensations and movements (as well as to prevent flat spots from developing on the head and neck tightness from developing or worsening) AND how helpful baby stations are for giving you a few minutes break from baby holding! Here are some ideas for baby stations for babies beyond the first 3 months  

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Baby Play Ideas For Babies 3-6 Months: Pre-Rolling or Beginning to Roll

Baby Stations - baby activities for fun and healthy development. CanDo Kiddo

Active Belly-Up Play

Active belly-up play is great for babies to develop the core muscle strength so important for rolling and later baby milestones. Hand and foot rattles {affiliate} are a great way to encourage baby to play in ways that engage the belly, hips and neck.

Placing baby belly-up under an activity gym with the toys moved to the side to promote head turning is another great way to play. Remember from Part 1 of this series that belly-up with toys directly overhead is a position to use in moderation. Read Baby Stations: Part 1 - Get More Done While Baby Plays  to learn why. 

Tummy Time

By 3 months, your little one will be able to hold her lifted head for longer periods of time AND to see further in front of her in belly-down play. This is a great time to use a mirror for Tummy Time, but propped board books, picture cards, toys and interesting household objects are also wonderful for visual exploration.  (my boy enjoyed examining a shiny colander as one of his stations around this age).

Professionally, I do NOT recommend using screen activities (tablets, phones, televisions, etc.) in Tummy Time or in any baby play activities.  Research overwhelmingly shows that screen activities have a negative impact on early development (language, motor, attention, social, etc.) and nearly every professional organization devoted to the health and development of children has made recommendations against screentime below 2 years of age. 

Around 3 months, you'll likely notice your baby starting to open and close his hands in attempts to grasp objects within reach. Tummy TIme over a pillow can help free your little one's hands for grasping play (when flat on the floor, he'll still need his arms for support and won't be able to grasp). Here are some ideas for grasping baskets for baby play, but make absolutely SURE to select 100% baby-safe toys if you won't be near enough to provide close supervision (eyes on baby within arm's reach).  Several of the household object toys I used with my child in that post were not included in his baby stations because I wasn't giving him my full-attention. My guy's favorite thing to do with toys he successfully grasped was to put them in his drooly mouth, so teether toys were a favorite choice for our Tummy Time over a pillow baby station.

Sidelying Play

Your baby is likely developing the motor skills to maintain sidelying for brief periods without being propped and may even roll from sidelying to belly or back at 3 months and beyond. What a great way to experience early independent movement! Give your little one a nice soft spot to play in sidelying with interesting objects to look at or to grasp. 

Baby Play Ideas For Babies 3-6 Months: Rollers & Early Sitters

Baby Play Stations - keep baby happy and playing in ways that promote baby milestones and development.

Seated Play

Once your baby is showing signs of readiness for sitting (keeps a straight back in supported sitting, gets into and out of hands and knees, beginning to put hands out to try to stop a fall), you can begin to include seated play in your baby stations. If your baby is still wobbly, here are some ideas for keeping your little one safe while allowing him to practice sitting (plus a little of my perspective on Bumbo seats). Your baby can enjoy easy to grasp toys in seated play, but if your little one is still wobbly aim for soft or flexible toys that won't hurt if toppled into. 

Floor Time Play

Once your baby can roll and is starting to work on crawling, you'll find that "Tummy Time" will never be the same. While there are ways to continue Tummy Time with an early roller or a baby who still needs the neck and upper body strengthening of belly-down play, these require your direct assistance. So for baby stations that you hope give you a moment of hands-free time from baby (but still directly supervised), aim for more general floortime play to promote rolling, reaching and moving. Toys that have the potential to roll away, like balls, encourage your child to move after them. Toys that rattle or make a simple noise when moved are great for babies at this age who are beginning to learn that their movements can impact the world around them (the beginning of cause and effect learning). 

Baby Stations - the key to keeping baby busy and promoting healthy baby development. CanDo Kiddo

What baby stations is your kiddo enjoying? Leave a comment below to join the conversation. 

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