Morning Activities with Infants

Turn routine activities into learning moments. Here are a few ways that you can.

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.

Songs of Smile

Level of instruction: Easy

When: Getting Ready for Day, Bedtime,

Time recommendation: 10-15 minutes
Participants: One-on-one

Learning Domain: Social and Emotional Development

Learning Standards: Displays responsive smiling

Materials: N/A

Instructions:

A song about smiling, such as “When You’re Smiling:”

When you’re smiling,
When you’re smiling,
The whole world smiles with you.
When you’re laughing,
When you’re laughing,
The sun comes shining through.
But, when you’re crying,
You bring on the rain,
So, stop your sighing,
Be happy again!
Keep on smiling,
‘Cause when you’re smiling,
The whole world smiles with you!

When your child is calm, pick him or her up and hold your child approximately 10–12 inches from your face. Sing a happy song about smiling to your child. Be sure to smile and make eye contact as often as possible. Observe your child to see if he or she smiles back at you. If your child does, praise his or her efforts at communication by hugging him or her and saying, I see your wonderful smile! I can tell that you are happy. Do you like the song? Let’s sing again. If your child does not smile at you, try holding him or her at different distances to see if he or she is more comfortable farther away or closer to you. If your child turns away or fusses, move on to a different activity and try again later.

Does your child smile back at you? How does he or she react to singing and praise?


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?


Sound Effects

Level of instruction: Easy

When: Getting Ready

Time recommendation: 5-10 minutes

Participants: One-on-one

Learning Domain: Social and Emotional Development

Learning Standards:
Engages in responsive smiling

Materials:None

Instructions:

During a diaper change or other quiet activity, make eye contact with your child. Smile at him or her and use sound effects to encourage him or her to smile back. Try smiling and making different silly sounds such as: Veeee! Zzzzap! Whirrrrrrr! Zoooom! Ahhhh! Continue for as long as your child is interested.

How does your child respond to the sound effects? Does he or she smile back? Does your child kick his or her legs or wave his or her arms in excitement?


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 different facial expressions? Does he or she mimic any of them?


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?

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

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