22 answers

How to Stimulate a 6 Month Old- Need Activities

Hi, I am lucky to be a new stay at home mother for my gorgeous 6 month old son. Howwever, I am starting to come to a point where I don't know exactly how to best fill up his/ our day. When he isn't napping or nursing seems like I have him in the exersaucer a heck of a lot these days! He loves it and goes crazy for at least 30 minutes each time- but it's got to get boring after a while for him- I'd think! Other than that I read him 2 books before bedtime and each nap time- so he gets a minimum of 6 books per day. We spread a blanket out in the living room floor and I sprinkle it with toys and he rolls around for about 15-20 minutes before he's had enough- and we walk occasionally... What else can we do- what else did you do with your smart, well adjusted, sweet babies when they were 6 months old?? What do you think about mom's clubs or Gymboree?? Is he too young?

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MOM's Clubs, Gymboree, Treble-Makers. All good things... but be careful in the cold/flu season b/c things get passed around. Bring hand sanitizer, wipes and wash hands often. Frankly, at this age the best stimulation will come from you and other family members... it's great for bonding. We had a lot of educational type toys (ABC's, 123's, Spanish things etc.) that we would use inter-actively. When I needed time to get things done, the Baby Einstein videos are GREAT! I didn't want my kids to be TV junkies -- but sometimes you need a shower!

Be prepared for them to go through a change like this every 6 mos, where they get bored and frustrated easily. It can be hard to deal with, but it is exciting too b/c it means they are on the cusp of a big development push. You also might consider day trips like Aquarium's, Parks, Zoos etc. It gets you out of the house and they LOVE it. THere is a great book out there called Baby's Day Out for the LA/OC/VC area. Gives you all kinds of great ideas.

I believe in exposing my kids to as many opportunites as I can. Not only does it help mental and physical development, but it also makes it easier for them to adjust to new situations where ever we go.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi! I have a 2 1/2 year old and remember 6 month wonders! He enjoyed toys and the exercauser too, but needed more. We did a lot of books, worked with letters and numbers, played with shape toys, and toys that talked and taught. We played with them together, and now he is on the verge of reading, can count, and knows all his numbers, letters, shapes, and colors! Get "smart" toys; don't underestimate the power of baby shows and Baby Einstein videos. We like "Word World."
Also, Moms Clubs are awesome for moms with any age kids. It's not for the kids but the moms. I am in MOMS Club International and I love it! I have so many friends, and my son is making friends! Google MOMS Club International for a group near you. I'm in HB South.
Hope this all helps!

More Answers

Don't pressure yourself by thinking that you HAVE TO entertain his every waking moment. When he gets older, and more mobile and a toddler, still, don't feel pressured. Kids also need to learn that they "can" entertain themselves. It's all part of development.

Sometimes, just doing "nothing" is great. It gives them the opportunity to have an independent moment. Which is an event for them too and they need un-structured play time too. It's all part of their learning.

Even having a bath is an activity for a baby. He's only 6 months old. Many times, the best way for them to "learn" is to just put them down among their toys or not, and simply let them entertain themselves. Babies learn LOTS this way too. Don't worry. They NEED to explore their world on their own too, without constant intervention. Let him figure things out on his own, let him learn cause and effect on his own, let him touch and feel things. Of course be next to him, but don't feel you have to always stimulate him. Babies are great at doing this on their own too. They need this. They will learn with Anything in their environment, toys or not. Even a simple Kleenex box will entertain them, or a toilet paper roll with toilet paper on it... let him unravel it. Anything is a potential "learning" event and toy.

Give him crayons too. My firstborn was holding a crayon and scribbling at 7 months of age. She had great fine motor skills even at this age already. Experiment. Give him paper and finger-paints and let him try it. Let him make a mess. It's okay. This is how they learn too. I did this with both my kids as babies, and they loved it.

Teach him about "smell." From this age when my kids were babies... I'd show them various spices in the kitchen, and I'd hold the bottle, let them smell it and it was a "sensory" event for them. Then I'd take them in the garden, and let them smell flowers, herbs I grew, leaves, grass, dirt, etc. They really loved this.

"Teach" him about music... put on different kinds of music, and while carrying him, dance away! It will teach him how to "feel" the beat... entertain his senses, and about movement too. It is also a great way to bond, and just have fun.... and exercise too! *oh, and sing to him too! Especially rhyming songs.... they will pick it up and it's great to sing and incorporate music into their lives.

Lie down on your back, put him on top of you, (safely) and while holding him, do sit-ups! There's lots of exercises you can do WITH baby. Use your baby as a "weight" when you do resistance exercises.... or hold him against you, and do squats. All of these things are activities for both of you.

"Teach" him about facial expressions... make funny faces and sounds and then say "happy", "sad", "grumpy" etc. Sure, they can't say it themselves yet, or understand it completely...but, it's about teaching them concepts. And,if you keep it up and teach them it consistently.... as they get older, you will see their level of articulation and "understanding" develop. I began this when my kids were just babies... and before I knew it, they really gained an understanding about "feelings" and what different expressions meant, and it contributed to their development and way of expressing themselves as well. My girl, was very articulate for her age, and things like this all contribute to their "understanding" of their world. Never underestimate a baby's ability... they are sponges, and are storing things in their brain.

Or, get audio tapes or DVD's for babies, which are in other languages. Teaching a baby/child other languages develops their synapses and brain connections differently than in single-language babies/children. You don't have to have your baby literally SIT in front of the t.v., just play it in the background, and they absorb it. My children are bi-lingual....both of them, from before they were even 1 years old, were completely fluent in my Husband's native language of French. They understood both languages more than even I could.
It's amazing what babies CAN and do learn. My daughter now loves to learn languages and about different cultures....she's learned some spanish, japanese, and hawaiian too. I think it gives them a great exposure and "appreciation" of different things and a well rounded base... even as they get much older. And no, letting my children learn different languages did NOT hinder their speaking ability or ability to understand English, their first language. It did not confuse them either.

In the bathtub, put things in it that can get messy... bath paints, sponges, toys, and let him go at it. Then after, you just wash the tub down. Fun and easy.

Both my babies were advanced for their ages as well... sometimes you just have to let THEM lead you... and see where it takes you. They will surprise you. Instead of saying "no no" to things they touch... let them touch it. Supervise of course so they won't get hurt... but let them explore.

Another fun thing to do is: crinkle up all your old newspapers, put it in a huge pile in a corner of your room or in a BIG box...."hide" some toys amongst the crumpled newspapers, and then let him tear into it and explore and make a mess and let him "find" the hidden toys! My kids love this still, and they are 5 years old and 20 months old now.

Teach him baby sign language too. It is never to early to start. It will help him to learn to communicate, and is very helpful for them and us.

Teach him peek-a-boo games. Or, hide an object under a cup... then put nothing under another cup, and let him "pick" which one the object is "hiding" under. My daughter at this age, loved this game. She understood and found it fun. It teaches them skills & concepts at the same time.

Do shape sorters too. Sure, it's something that takes practice, but never underestimate them.... they will find it fun. They don't have to get it correct, but it's simply exposing them to "concepts." Give him stacking things too, show him how. In time, he will surprise and stack things too.

Introduce all kinds of things and concepts. Also give hima ball... roll it around. Babies love this too.

All the best, your'e doing great. No worries. Babies are entertained with anything...even if you put them down for a moment to wash the dishes, they are fine at knowing how to play. These are just some things I've done with my babies.

Good luck, hope this helps,
~Susan

2 moms found this helpful

looks like you have plenty. Something you may want to consider, is don't let your baby become dependant on you to have fun. He can come up with ideas on his own. If he is happy in the exasaucer, leave him in. Don't worry so much about trying to schedule things in for him. If you do, you will regret it when he is older and expects you to schedule things for him. When he is on the floor get him to work on sitting un-assited, when he is able to do that a whole new world opens up to him! From there he will learn to crawl, then you don't need to have any activities, he will make his own. Don't let your baby control you, you were here first, let him adapt to your routine, not the opposite. No fun having a kid who wont play with other kids because thats not the way mommy does it.

2 moms found this helpful

We LOVE Gymboree. I started going there w/ my son at 10 months and wish we'd gone earlier. You can do a free preview, so go and check it out! I enjoy being around other mothers as much as he enjoys the class.

I recommend doing what you like to do and making it fun for him. That way you both get enjoyment out of it and it's somewhat rejuvenating for you.

Good luck!
M.

1 mom found this helpful

MOM's Clubs, Gymboree, Treble-Makers. All good things... but be careful in the cold/flu season b/c things get passed around. Bring hand sanitizer, wipes and wash hands often. Frankly, at this age the best stimulation will come from you and other family members... it's great for bonding. We had a lot of educational type toys (ABC's, 123's, Spanish things etc.) that we would use inter-actively. When I needed time to get things done, the Baby Einstein videos are GREAT! I didn't want my kids to be TV junkies -- but sometimes you need a shower!

Be prepared for them to go through a change like this every 6 mos, where they get bored and frustrated easily. It can be hard to deal with, but it is exciting too b/c it means they are on the cusp of a big development push. You also might consider day trips like Aquarium's, Parks, Zoos etc. It gets you out of the house and they LOVE it. THere is a great book out there called Baby's Day Out for the LA/OC/VC area. Gives you all kinds of great ideas.

I believe in exposing my kids to as many opportunites as I can. Not only does it help mental and physical development, but it also makes it easier for them to adjust to new situations where ever we go.

1 mom found this helpful

He is not too your for the park!!! A toddler park with an infant swing would be great. Get into any club you can! Google your city for Mommy clubs and see if you have a local "MOPS" group. I have a 23 month old and a 10 month old and MOPS has been a wonderful place for me to meet new Mothers and get some support.

6 months old.....blocks/shapes/rings/musical toys/play drums/LOTS OF TUMMY TIME!

Enjoy,
H.

1 mom found this helpful

hi J., Here's some ideas, Keep your baby happy,
first of all tummy time,your baby probably slept on his back most of the night, so about 15 minutes of tummy time after breakfast, put him onhis tummy on a blanket with a few toys and play with him for a little while, he will gain neck strainght and getting used to be on his tummy will help him learn to crawl. Then have some close time with your baby take him along in a front carrier whle you pick up around the house or talk on the phone. the constant motion and change in scenery will entertain him, but talk to him as much as possible too. Then you can give your baby some exploring time
use an activity saucer for about 30 minutes to encourage leg movement and curious play. toys that have different textures and sounds will help him begin to understand cause and effect. Then nap time, this is your time for me time, or what ever you need to do or like to do. After nap time take a walk, put your baby in a stroller and go for a walk, this is a good time to get some fresh air and exercise, as yoy walk talk about what you see, i know that probably sounds silly, but the more you talk, the more he will learn. After your walk put your baby in the high chair and give him a baby book, cloth one alwas is good,while you make lunch, or wash dishes. After that give your baby solo play, put on som music
while he spends som time in his play pen with a few of his toys. learnig to amuse himsef is a crucial skill-and knowing he is safe, you can get dinner made or do something else that needs to get done, aound 7 or 8 PM have some wind down time put your baby on an activity mat to take `advantage of the last burst of energy befor bed time. these are just ideas
and know you do not have to entertain your baby 24/7 Hope it's not tmi just wanted to give you some ideas. J. mom for 24 years. J.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't know what your finances are like, but when I started staying home with my baby, our finances were pretty limited and I had to get creative. Those classes (Gymboree, Kindermusik, Music Together, etc.) are fantastic but expensive -- and NOT NECESSARY. Don't get it into your head that those are the only way you can provide your child with enough stimulation. I have done some of them with my child, certainly, but have avoided buying into the notion that you need to keep up with the program or your child is somehow missing out. Rubbish. What's really invaluable about taking the baby to a class is that you learn new ways to work with him at home. We took a Music Together class and I learned so many songs and ways to work on music with my daughter that I didn't feel it was strictly necessary to sign up for more classes, although I would have loved to.

Some less expensive tips:

1. Check your local community college, continuing or adult ed, and recreation department for inexpensive classes. Depending on the community, there can be a wide range of options. I'm in Ventura County now, but when I was in Santa Barbara we took some classes for parents and toddlers (I think they have some for babies too) for $10 each! One was yoga, the other was a crafts and activities class, they were each 8 sessions for only $10 total! That was through SBCC Adult Ed, but every community is different. Here in Camarillo most courses seem to be offered through the rec dept. and I haven't found any that are quite as cheap, but they're still affordable.

2. Do story time at the local library. Great way to expose your child to reading and books and also meet other parents.

3. Take your baby to a different park each week. He might be too young to really enjoy the playgrounds just yet, but you can start discovering which ones you really like.

4. See if there are any inexpensive museums. Some museums, for instance the Museum of Natural History in SB, have a free day once a month. Good for you and good early exposure/sensory experience for the baby.

5. One of my favorite outings is the Farmer's Market. You can start doing it now, but it's most fun when your child is big enough to sample all the fruits. Fun, fun, fun for them...and also a great way to encourage healthy eating!

Remember that at this age, the best stimulation for your baby comes from you. So in a lot of ways it's more about you getting out of the house and keeping yourself engaged and refreshed so you can keep up with him and also not be pulling out your own hair from boredom. So find activities that interest you that happen to be baby-friendly. Your baby is going to be happy if you're happy, and he'll love just hanging out with you and going places with you and seeing the world. Use your creativity and you will only get better and better at coming up with ideas. Yes, let him have the floor time and lots of time to himself when you're home, but get out of the house and enjoy yourself. This time is so precious. Just enjoy each other's company and don't get caught up in "doing all the right things" because you're already doing a great job!

1 mom found this helpful

J.,

Looks like you already have a good schedule going for your son. I wouldn't add too much more so as to not overwhelm your little one. Still, a music class might be the thing you're looking for. There are 2 companies: Music Together and Kindermusik that offer classes to young babies. Continue reading to your baby- it's the best thing you can do!

Have fun together!

Take Care,
F.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,

Gymboree is great - they take them at 3 months. Take him on lots of walks. If you have a baby carrier, you can easily chat with him while you walk, including walks in the mall, etc. If he's in a stoller, he doesn't get that interaction with you. Mom's clubs are nice because you can talk to other moms while your baby is there. Sometimes, through things like Adult Ed, there are baby-and-me classes and baby massage classes. Just remember, the best thing is your interaction with your baby. He doesn't need other babies at this time, just mom. Just let him lead you and don't put him down a lot to entertain himself.

V.

Congratulations! And how lucky you are to stay at home with your baby! Sounds like you have a pretty good schedule going with him. Babies are never too young for mom's clubs and such. That could be the best thing for you and your baby - it will be fun for him with different activities, and fun for you to meet new mommies. I started taking my baby to an excercise class when she was 5 weeks old. It was good to talk to other mommies to relate... They may have other playtime ideas, too! Good luck!

Hi Mama J.,
I know exactly how you feel! I have a bright 5 month old boy and entertaining him at home is too hard for me. So I am impressed that you are able to do it. Once my ds wakes up, we might hang out at home for a few hours, but after that we are out of here! My ds is totally content when we visit friends (I have four friends with a combined total of 12 kids, 3 of them are under 10 months old and all of them are under 7 years). He likes the car ride(this is a recent thing) because he knows we are going somewhere. Once we get there he especially loves my friends kids playing with him and he loves all the new toys to choose from. I also have a store so sometimes we go hang out in there, but that is not as much fun for mommy. Daddy likes this as well because when he gets home from work he has a little time to himself before having to help with baby duties (unless we are at our house ;)). If you don't have friends to do this with use this website or your local avenues to find some because it makes life so much more fun! You are a stay at home mom but that doesn't mean you should stay at home literally! Do what is fun for you as well and you and your ds will be happier for it. I should add we've done quite a bit of traveling to visit friends and relatives as well.

30 min is way too long to be confined in an exercauser... do more floor time so he can explore, learn to sit & crawl. Look into your Parks & Rec, we went to a "Tiny Turtle" class for infants starting at 3 months. They should have something for infants to give you an idea about music, textures...

I would take him on a walk in the stroller everyday so he can look at the beautiful world. You get exercise and he will love looking at nature. Also, you might want to try taking him to the park. Look into your library to see if they offer a reading time. Those were things I did when my little guy was that age and still do them today and he's a year and a half. Have fun!

I remember that feeling! But don't worry about it. He's getting plenty if you're doing all those great things together. Besides, reading and going for walks are some of the best stimulating activities for little ones at that age because it's all new to them! If you start enrolling in classes and joining too many clubs you'll become over-scheduled fast. It's so much nicer to just take the day as it comes and explore the world together. And as he gets older, the more time you give him to just play will be the most beneficial. I fretted that my son (now 3) wasn't getting enough but he's a super happy, pretty relaxed, and inquisitive little kid now. You're doing great! Good luck and have fun!

J.,

6 months is about the time I started playgroups and moms clubs with my little ones. They just loved the stimulation and I loved to finally get out of the house and make friends. I love my Luna Moms club, you should check to see if there is one in your area.

Join a Moms club for sure, if not for him then for yourself! I started when my first was only a couple of months old. You can get out to the park and meet other Mom's. Gymboree is fun, My Gym is fun - these aren't neccesarily needed with all you are already doing, but you'd both have a great time. Keep things simple, he'll be crawling and then walking before you know it. A fun activity might be to sit him in his highchair and give him a mashed bananna in a bowl and a spoon - he'll play and maybe get a little in his mouth. I joined Stroller Strides when my second was 6mos old (wish I would have found it sooner) he is 3 and we still go. It's a great workout for Mom's and kids get to play with other kids at the park afterwards and socialize. www.strollerstrides.com

Enjoy!
M.

I think you're doing great, but wouldn't use an exersaucer for a 6 mo old unless you need a safe space for him while you go to the bathroom or cook. I have a 6 month old too. For us, a typical day after getting big brother off to preschool begins with breakfast (rice cereal and breastmilk), then a long playful bath with lots of toys, then a long massage. After that, baby is so relaxed that she has a long nap. After nap we have "discovery time" where I take her outside for walks and let her touch leaves, smell new scents, play on the piano--basically just feel and see new things. When I have to get stuff done around the house, I set up stations for her in different parts of the house--just clusters of toys to play with. When she gets bored I move her to a new station. The day seems to fly by... I think at this stage Gymboree is more for moms to find other moms to hang with. But mom's clubs can be great for you and baby. My daughter is fascinated by other babies and it is a great source of stimulation for her to see them in action.

It's funny that I've just read your request, because I was dancing with my 5 month old in front of the mirror (she screamed when I tried to give her a nap). While doing this I was thinking I needed to start Baby Boot Camp and My First Gym. I too find my baby in the exersaucer a lot and she likes it, but is becoming tired of it quicker and quicker. Sofia loves to socialize and I think these programs are a great idea! I've talked to other moms who have started with two month olds.
Your lucky your son will read books with you, my baby seems to have no interest, which bums me out since I'm an avid reader.
Anyway, I think you have the right idea about starting him in some interactive programs.
Have fun,
S. G

Gymboree is awesome! He will love it! I work but I try to do different activities with my son as much as possible. At six months, we would lay a blanket out on the front yard and feel all the different things outside... grass, golf ball, leaf, dried leaf, flowers etc. Also, I blew bubbles outside we have a swing that he loves still. If you need to be inside, bubbles are fun in the bath because they don't pop when they touch wet skin. My son loves to poke at them. Dancing while holding him is great exercise for you and he'll love it too. It is so great that you can stay home with him. I was home for the summer and I know what you mean - when he isn't nursing or napping we think we should be doing something. You sound like you have already created a full day for yourselves. You are doing fine! I think the trip and class to gymboree will take at least an hour to an hour and a half for two days a week. That will help! I think people go to the park. I don't know what to do at the park and I avoid it because of allergies. There are probably tons of fun things to do there! Good luck - you are doing great!

Here are my suggestions: Take a walk in the stroller, put him in a swing, sit on a blanket in the backyard (or in your lap facing out) and look at the birds and let him feel the grass, let him play in the tub, and what I finally did so I could get some housework done, I bought a walker and tennis shoes and let her push around the house/patio. A lot of people are nervous of walkers, but with supervision, it is great exercise for the baby and she still walked by her first birthday, so that wasn't affected in any way. You will also get plenty of exercise chasing after him! Good luck!

Try moving the blanket outside on the grass, in a shaded area. Take some toys, too. A change of scenery works wonders. If your baby can sit up, put him next to a drawer or cabinet in the kitchen filled with baby friendly things, like plastic containers, wooden spoons, etc., he'll love pulling them out and tossing them around. My little ones loved to tear apart magazinez at this age, so whenever catalogs or magazines came in the mail, I would let them tear them up. Another thing my kids enjoyed were wind chimes, hang them so they can reach and let them bang away. Of course, any quick outting to the grocery store or the bank will be tremendously exciting for him- just be sure to talk to him and narrate all that you are doing.

Hi! I have a 2 1/2 year old and remember 6 month wonders! He enjoyed toys and the exercauser too, but needed more. We did a lot of books, worked with letters and numbers, played with shape toys, and toys that talked and taught. We played with them together, and now he is on the verge of reading, can count, and knows all his numbers, letters, shapes, and colors! Get "smart" toys; don't underestimate the power of baby shows and Baby Einstein videos. We like "Word World."
Also, Moms Clubs are awesome for moms with any age kids. It's not for the kids but the moms. I am in MOMS Club International and I love it! I have so many friends, and my son is making friends! Google MOMS Club International for a group near you. I'm in HB South.
Hope this all helps!

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