Bedtime Activities with Infants

End your child’s day by integrating learning into their bedtime routine.

Are you looking for fun activities to do with your infant at home? Our team of early childhood curriculum experts thoughtfully curated these activities from our proprietary Life Essentials® curriculum to help your family Learn On® at home. Whether it’s during mealtime, playtime, clean up time, bath time or bedtime – our at-home curriculum is built so you can easily integrate learning opportunities in seamless, easy and fun ways.

Mirror Watch

Level of instruction: Easy

When: Mealtime, Bath time

Time recommendation: 10-15 minutes

Participants: One-on-one

Learning Domain: Social and emotional

Learning Standards: Recognizes self in mirror

Materials: Shatterproof mirror, wipes or washcloth

Instructions:

After mealtime or another time when your child needs his or her face cleaned, place your child in front of the mirror before you clean his or her face. Point to the reflection and say, I see a dirty face in the mirror. What should we do to clean it up? With your child still facing the mirror, gently clean his or her face. Draw your child’s attention back to the mirror and say, Now your face is all clean. Do you see it in the mirror? The dirty face is clean now! Wave the wipe or washcloth behind your child so he or she can see it in the mirror, too.

How does your child react to seeing the clean face in the mirror? Does he or she reach for the wipe? Does your child smile at his or her reflection?


Frolicking Finger Walk

Level of instruction: Easy

When: getting ready for day, bedtime, diapering

Time recommendation: 5 minutes

Participants: One on one

Learning Domain: Language Development and Communication

Learning Standards: Understands and responds to verbal and nonverbal communication, receptive language

Instructions

Sit with your child in your lap or play with your child while he or she is laying down. Start at your child’s feet, and “walk” your fingers up his or her body. Talk to your child as you go: My fingers are walking up your legs. Now they are walking across your belly. Now they are coming up your arm.

Observe Does your child gurgle or squeal? Does he or she look toward you as you speak? Does he or she try to look in the direction where he feels the touch?


Face Time

Level of instruction: Easy

When: getting ready for day, bedtime, diapering, playtime

Time recommendation: 5 minutes

Participants: One on one

Learning Domain: Social and Emotional Development

Learning Standards: Distinguishes facial expressions, seeks to make eye contact

Instructions

Hold your child approximately 12 inches from your face at eye level. Close your eyes for a second or two. When you open your eyes, make a happy face. Observe your child’s reaction and close your eyes again. When you open your eyes, this time make a different face, such as an excited face. Observe your child’s reaction and continue the activity. Try displaying various facial expressions such as tired, confused, sad, silly, and content.

Observe to see how he or she reacts to the different facial expressions? Does he or she mimic any of them?


Wave, Wave, Wave

Level of instruction: Easy

Time recommendation: 5 minutes

Participants: One on one, Siblings

Learning Domain: Social and Emotional Development

Learning Standards: Displays social gestures, imitates actions

Instructions

Sit facing your child and recite the poem “Wave, Wave, Wave”:

Clap, clap, clap (clap each time you say “clap”)
Wave, wave, wave (wave your hand each time you say “wave”)
Stomp, stomp, stomp (stomp your foot each time you say “stomp”)
Wave, wave, wave (wave your hand each time you say “wave”)
Smile, smile, smile (point to your own smile)
Wave, wave, wave (wave your hand each time you say “wave”)

Follow the hand gestures and encourage your child to gesture along with you. That’s it, you’re waving! Wave, wave, wave!

Observe to see if your child waves along with you? Does your child smile?


Ribbon Tickles

Level of instruction: Moderate

When: getting ready for day, bedtime, diapering, playtime, outdoor

Time recommendation: 5-10 minutes

Participants: One on one

Learning Domain: Physical Development

Learning Standards: Uses an ulnar grasp (closes fingers of hand against palm).

Materials: Pieces of ribbon (make sure the ribbon is not long enough to accidentally get wrapped around the child’s neck)

Instructions

Dangle the pieces of ribbon/yarn in front of your child. Use the ribbon to tickle your child’s nose and hands. Move the position of the ribbon as he or she becomes interested. Dangle the ribbon so that it tickles the back of your child’s hands and encourage him or her to grasp the ribbon.

As your child grasps the ribbon in his or her fist, you can say “You did it! You grabbed the ribbon with your hands. The ribbon is soft. Can you hold the ribbon over here?” Gently pull the ribbon from his or her grasp and tickle the other hand to continue to encourage your child to close his or her fingers around the ribbon.

Observe to see if your child watches the ribbon move. Does your child reach for and grab the ribbon? Is he or she closing her hand around the ribbon?

Looking for more activities for you and your infant?

  • Getting Ready for the Day: Turn routine activities at the beginning of your child’s day into learning moments.
  • Playtime: Playtime is a great way to teach your baby without it even feeling like learning.
  • Outside Time: The great outdoors can be the best classroom of all.

Or return to the Life Essentials® At Home page to find activities to explore with other age groups.